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Never Accept a Check

Never accept a grammar- and spell-check as foolproof.

Last week I was once again reminded of the limits of proofreading software. In a business writing class, participants were sharing the documents they had just written, when we discovered these grammar- and spell-check misses:

“between you and I”  (change I to me)

“add insult too injury” (change too to to)

Best Regards,  (make R lower case)

under stand (understand)

Monday at 8am (8 a.m.)

for both company’s (companies)

While not as embarrassing as pubic for public or hell for hello, these errors diminish the impression we want to make.

If, like the software we all use, you’re not foolproof when it comes to the mechanics of writing, sit down with a friendly guide. Write Right by Jan Venolia is a comfortable place to start.



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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.