Don’t Do That!

Over lunch today I was reading a booklet about "controlling email" when I came upon a weird set of suggestions for establishing a company email policy. It included these pointers:

  • Expect employees to train themselves. . . .
  • Forget your international associates. . . .
  • Allow employees to dismiss the organization’s ePolicies as insignificant or unenforceable.

These suggestions did not make sense, and I soon realized the problem. It turns out that they were under this heading:

DON’TS

Unfortunately, I did not look at the heading when I started reading, just as many readers do not.

Here’s the lesson for us as writers:

When we do not insert the word Don’t before each item in a list of don’ts, we can easily misinform our readers.

Don’t do that! Instead do this:

Use the word Don’t in front of every don’t you include, like this:

  • Don’t expect employees to train themselves. . . .
  • Don’t forget your international associates. . . .
  • Don’t allow employees to dismiss the organization’s ePolicies as insignificant or unenforceable.

Don’t you agree?

Lynn