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Teaching Business Writing

A reader named Kris sent this question: "I notice that people are no longer writing or speaking pronouns at the beginning of sentences. Is this acceptable now? I was taught that an implicit 'You' did not need to be written/spoken, but I’m noticing 'I' and 'We' not spoken or...
As an English major in college, I had only one English department class that I did not do well in: I got a C in linguistics, a required class. Phonemes, bilabial fricatives—they bored me to tears. How I wish the text had been this new book by David Shariatmadari:...
Reader Lionel B. Dyck has provided us with a great, weird headline to improve. It’s from “The Jerusalem Post.” Yes, newspapers are a special breed of writing, and headlines must be concise. But this one cuts so many words that it hurts my logical head. How would you clarify...
For many of us, it’s difficult to write about ourselves without feeling uncomfortable. Maybe that’s because of childhood messages we heard about being modest. I, for one, had an imposing old aunt who announced, whenever I was happily bragging, “Self-praise stinks.” Yet even my twenty-something daughter, raised in a...
Yesterday I went on an urban hike. Climbing stairs among lush greenery, I spotted the sign below. Not again! Someone had once again printed a sign without checking on their use of apostrophes. Don’t do it! Before creating a sign or printing cards that include an apostrophe, read this...
Which error did you see most often in 2019? Was it a missing comma? A misplaced or missing apostrophe? A lack of subject-verb agreement? A word used incorrectly? The error I found most often in work projects—especially copyediting presentations and manuscripts—is described below, with one bonus error.  The error is...
By Allison Horak   -- Supervisors often feel their employees can’t write well. How about you? Do you spend time correcting the same mistakes repeatedly for your employees? One way to address this issue is to carve out time for coaching, especially for employees whose work involves a lot of writing. To...
Sometimes we bang out a message to get it done quickly. But if we take just another minute or two to make the message clearer before clicking Enter or Send, we save time for readers. That time savings often leads to getting a faster, better response. Here is an...
Read the brief, true story below about Eric and his supervisor, Linda. Then decide: If you were in Linda's role, would you handle the situation the same way?  ***** Eric has just written his first newsletter article about an innovative approach the team has developed and used to get great results....
Certainly we can admire Google for its growth, global reach, inventiveness, and the brilliance of its teams. But they've gone too far. Cleverness has its limits. Analyze, yes. Optimize, yes. Publicize, yes--those are all things online content providers want to do. But troubleshootize? No, Google, you've gone too far.     The...