Business Writing

Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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April 23, 2014


Sanjay Inamdar

Thanks Lynn....very nice tips and very important. Allow me to add a few please -
1) I insert the sender's email id only after completing the email and double checking it. This helps in avoiding the risk of sending it in a hurry and then realizing that certain words or points could have been been drafted in a different way or may be deleted.
2) Even while replying, I delete the ids and then reply (of course not applicable for routine replies...)

Thanks and regards,
Sanjay I - Pune,India


Thanks a lot. Very good points. For the sake of completion, here is two more:
1) Double check the attachments to make sure you have attached them correctly and nothing is left out.
2) Use the delay feature for sending emails, so you could come back if anything was forgotten. This feature is available in GMail and email applications like Outlook.


Lynn, that is a great list for editing. I may have to print it out and tape it to my monitor.

My tip may sound weird but it works for me. I try to read each email (or at least business emails) three times before sending. This helps me catch typos and correct the tone of the email.

I also try to imagine myself as the person receiving the email. This helps me remove vague statements and inappropriate jargon.


Phil Eschtruth Harrison

Love the tip about reading each paragraph backwards. I will add that to my standard procedures. Thanks for the idea.


Thanks Lynn. This is very helpful.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, everyone. I am glad you like these tips. I hope you are also subscribers to "Better Writing at Work" so you can read the full list. If not, subscribe at

Sanjay, your suggestions are excellent. Thank you!

Ehsan, thank you for mentioning attachments. That tip is very important. I also like the idea of the delay, although I have not used it myself.

Lisa, I agree: three times is the charm. It's so important to proofread again, especially after making edits. The tiny edits, such as inserting a word that needs "an" before it instead of "a," are the errors a third reading can catch.

Phil, I am glad you like Rachel's idea. I am going to try it too.

Ruth, you are welcome!


Georganne Copeland

Thanks for the great tips, Lynn. I teach a Business Communications course for community college students and always share your site in class. I suggest they read your posts regularly to pick up tips like the ones you've shared here.

George Raymond

For important emails, I also use Sanjay's trick: I add the recipient's email address at the last minute, when I am sure the rest is okay. If I am replying, I cut the recipient's address out of the "To:" line and temporarily paste it at the top of the email text until the email and attachments are ready to go.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Georganne. (I spelled your name incorrectly but then proofread my work.) I am so glad you find the information valuable for your students. Thanks for letting me know!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

George, great idea! Thanks for sharing it.



Another way to catch errors is to change how the text looks. Use a different font (and/or colour) or cut and paste what you've written into a Word document and read it again. Of course, the surefire way of spotting an error is to hit 'Send'. ;)

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Angie. Excellent advice! Your last comment made me laugh, and it reminded me of another tip that may work: Hit "Send" and send it to ourselves!


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