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As I Said, Make a Sign

My husband Michael, who works with me at Syntax Training, has a sign on the wall above his desk. It says:

As I said,
As it says,

Michael uses this sign, usually while on the telephone, to remind himself that “As I said” is correct–not “Like I said.” The same goes for “As it says”–not “Like it says.”

Michael had the habit of saying the incorrect “Like I said” and “Like it says,” and he needed to break it. He needed to break the habit because representatives from world-class companies call us to ask about our seminars in business writing. To appear credible in the field of business communications, we need to use correct grammar in writing and speaking.

But all of us need to communicate professionally. So if you have one of those awkward bad-grammar habits, make a sign. Then practice.

For example, if you start a sentence with “Me and my supervisor” rather than “My supervisor and I,” make a sign, hang it above your desk, and practice saying “My supervisor and I” at the beginning of a hundred sentences.

Or if you write “Call Ahmed or I”–wrong! Make a sign and practice saying “Call Ahmed or me.” Whatever your bad habit is, learn the correct expression. Then work on it.

Michael has just about eradicated the “Like I said” habit. He still glances at the sign while he is on the phone, but I think the only habit is the glance.

Don’t let a bad-grammar habit get in the way of sounding professional on paper or in person. Like As I said, just make a sign and practice.


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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 “As I Said, Make a Sign”

  • Thank you, Lynn. Incredible how many business writing websites are riddled with errors. I know that language is evolving and those of us who still speak/write correctly may be interpreted as actually making mistakes, I’m sticking by my guns.

    Susie, ESL and Corporate Communication Consultant

  • Hi, Susie. I am perplexed. The link you posted takes me to a site whose first entry has virtually no capital letters. How does that site match your comment?

    I hope you will enlighten me.


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