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An Error to 4,959 People

My e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, just went out to 4,959 subscribers. It included 10 techniques for concise writing–at least I thought it did. In fact, the issue was titled "10 Techniques for Concise Writing."

Problem: There were 11 techniques. I had two items numbered "6."

I proofread the issue about five times, including several times aloud.  However, I proofread every time from the screen–not from a printed page. Because of the layout of the content and the size of my screen, I could not see both 6s at the same time. Had I been reading a page, I know I would have spotted the error.

Lesson: When you are writing something to 4,959 people, proofread a printed document.

Not a subscriber to Better Writing at Work? Sign up here. It’s free–and you will receive a corrected edition!

Syntax Training

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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.

7 comments on “An Error to 4,959 People”

  • Lynn-

    I continue to learn from the tools that you have given to your students. Using the higher level of spell and grammer check, I discovered that I wrote in passive voice a lot. Over the months since I took your class, I trained myself to use active voice. The change has made my business writing less wordy and more concise. My sentences have more punch.
    I really enjoy using the enhanced grammer/spellcheck feature.


  • Hi, Joy. It’s gratifying for me to know how pleased you are to be successfully applying tools from the business writing class. Keep it up and stay in touch!


  • Hi, Eric. Joy is referring to writing tools she received in Better Business Writing, a writing class I taught at her company.

Comments are closed.