Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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April 06, 2010


Mickey Fox

I think you have rather gracefully identified the problem with parenthetical plurals (and, yes, I like the more concise term as well).

Unfortunately, when one writes in a technical sense, one often has to deal with multiple case problems and while the parenthetical plurals are a "kludgy" way of dealing with the multiple case, they do often eliminate repetitive and (mostly unnecessay) phrases, thus creating a more concise and direct writing.

Val S.

Lynn, I thought I remembered an example you gave on this once where you rewrote the sentence; e.g., "Tickets should be placed in the basket." Then you could also write "Partners should review checklists together."

I'm always in favor of streamlining!

Lery Rogu

To be honest I have never put to much attention to this "plural endings in parentheses." anyway after I read this article definetely I will look for have a better writing and understanding of what I'm writing or reading.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Mickey. Thanks for your helpful reminder that parenthetical plurals can be more concise than alternatives. In case other readers need an example, let me give one:

"Presenter(s)" is shorter than "Presenter or Presenters" and "Presenter/Presenters."

Hi, Val. It's flattering that you are recalling other things I suggested. Thank you!

Unfortunately, "Partners should review checklists together" isn't engaging enough for instructions in a class. I need the "you" form with its directness. But there are situations where the approach you mention would work well.

Thanks for commenting.


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