A Quick Example of Positive Language

The other day I sent out a reminder to people who would attend the public Better Business Writing class yesterday. In it, I wrote:

Class begins at 8:30 sharp.

The sentence felt too schoolmarmish–as though I would give a detention to anyone who arrived late, and maybe whack them with a ruler. At the same time, I wanted people to know we would start at 8:30 a.m.–not any later, even if they weren't there.

I changed to this sentence:

We will begin promptly at 8:30.

"We" signaled inclusion. "Promptly" said we would be efficient. No detentions, no stings.

I thought you might appreciate the example.

Syntax Training


  1. That’s an excellent example of why it’s always good to reread before sending an email. Even the simplest sentences can sometimes be made so much better!

  2. This is such a nice post about positive language.I am so impressed with your example of positive language and yes I do appreciate your example.There is clear different in that sentence.

  3. Hi,

    I am a Chinese. Happenly come to this website via google search. I think this is a very good example. I will take a note. Thanks.

    Emily Sun

  4. Hi,
    I love writing English and I really love your site. I never thought of positive language seriously, especially the greeting and ending of the message when I traded lots of emails with my colleagues during my routine work. I’ll be more considerate.
    Thanks so much for the tips.


  5. Simple, yet significantly superior! I deal with the same time travails for my training sessions & this sentence is just the right one for a corporate, adult-learner audience. I do appreciate it!

  6. I’m so pleased to read your note on positive language and the example really drives the point home. I too belong to the teaching fraternity and do make efforts to consciously use positive language.
    I’ll look forward to reading your further posts on positive language.

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