George, a regular reader of this blog, asked this question: "In describing a client's services on their website, I wrote something like 'Acme does A and B. We can also help with C and D.' The client said mixing the third and first persons was confusing and I should stick to...
A reader named Max asked me to write about "tie over" and "tide over." "Tide over" is the correct expression, at least in normal circumstances. Examples: We have enough letterhead to tide us over until our office moves. This food should tide me over until the weather clears and I can...
This past weekend my blog was down, and I only found out because a loyal reader named Lori let me know. Lori and I exchanged several messages about the blog and the cause of the problem. My final message to Lori included this sentence: I appreciate you letting me know about...
This week two people who subscribe to my e-newsletter emailed me to question a word I had used to start a sentence. One individual was polite; the other was not. The polite individual, who works as a field representative for an insurance company, wrote: Dear Lynn, It has always been taught to...
People in business writing classes have been asking for ways to know whether affect or effect is correct. Here are my best tips for choosing the appropriate word. If you are choosing a noun, your correct choice will be effect 99 percent of the time. The medicine had no effect...
A friend sent me an excerpt from a brief professional bio she had read online. The bio said the individual is a consultant for a china inspection service. What do you think the consultant actually does? Inspect china for defects or cracks? Appraise the value of old china? Are you thinking...
The adverb hopefully, meaning "it is hoped," was just upgraded to acceptable at The Associated Press Stylebook (AP), according to Monica Hesse writing in yesterday's Washington Post online. I recommend her article, "AP’s Approval of ‘Hopefully’ Symbolizes Larger Debate Over Language," and its colorful background on the significance of...
Today I led a business writing class at a bank, an institution whose work revolves around money--or is it monies? A participant in the class, whom I will call Jim, noted that his manager uses the term monies when referring to funds being disbursed. Jim wondered whether the term money...
A friend sent me a sentence that popped out at her from the first paragraph of a report: Without further adieu, let's get started. It sounds correct, doesn't it? But I am certain the writer did not mean "Without further farewell"--not at the beginning of his report! Clearly the writer intended "Without further...
The other day I was reading a writing sample for the class Meeting Notes Made Easy, when I found a sentence like this one: We are waiting to see what comes down the pipe. The sentence implies that you are standing beneath the pipe looking up--not a good idea. The original expression is...