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Business Cards & Principals

At this time of year, many people decide to move forward on plans to start their own business. As a first step in making their dream a reality, they design their business card. If you are in that exciting phase, please read this caution:

You are the president, the founder, or the principal–not the principle.

Deleting old email, I just saw that someone had signed up for my e-newsletter and given her title as “principle.” She meant “principal.” You can read my post on this subject here. However, all you need to remember is this:

Principle (le) means “rule” (le).

Example: Follow these three principles.

For any other meaning, use principal (al).

Principals, I hope you did not need this advice or are reading it before printing your new business cards. But if not, at least you now have your first mistake behind you. Congratulations!


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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.

2 comments on “Business Cards & Principals”

  • Will keep that in mind. I also think strategy: I tried many designs, and found simple to work very well. In addition to design, one of the most important components is your strategy. I found this strategy to distribute the cards very helpful. Read:

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