Question: Which of these abbreviations are correct?$25 m   $25m   $25M   $25mm   $25milAnswer: None of them if the reader does not understand them. Last week I heard from David, a proofreader in international banking, who wrote about standard abbreviations for millions and billions. In an industry in which a typographical error...
The Associated Press has just published a new edition of its style manual. Like the 2004 edition, it is called Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. But this one is spiral bound, with the year 2006  on its cover. It sells for $13.75 plus shipping. If your 2004 edition...
In a recent Better Business Writing class an attendee wrote a sentence like this one in a letter to a customer:You may be certain that I will appraise you as soon as I receive the investigator's report.  But the reader would want to be apprised--not appraised. Be sure to...
The other day I was parked at the post office, when I noticed a woman walking a dachshund. At the corner the dog stopped walking. The woman gently tugged the leash, but the dog did not budge. It just stood there in the sun. Then it lay down on...
We deal with email addresses and website addresses (URLs) every day, but how should we render them in sentences? Stuart, a reprographics officer in Dorset, England, suggested I write on this topic. It is an excellent idea, and I am happy to offer guidance. Here are guidelines on how...
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that email I was expecting was not arriving. I was waiting to receive email replies from a couple of specific clients, but, oddly, they did not appear. To add to the mystery, my husband Michael, who works at the next desk, was...
I just received an excellent tip on how to avoid accidentally sending an email reply in Outlook. The tip is thanks to Darek, who attended Better Business Writing last week. Here is the tip: When you are writing an email reply, type some gibberish (nonsensical information) in the CC...
Today I received good spell-checking advice in an email from Attorney Weston M. Binford, Jr., CPA. He pointed out that spell-check in Microsoft Word 2003 ignores any text with a number in it, therefore not catching an error like this: Retur4nsExperimenting, he realized:Apparently any numberinsertedmakes7itokIt turns out that spell-check...
I'm always thinking about ways to help people send email that's more effective. My latest idea is AAAAA email. A - Accurate subject line (not outdated, not too general) A - Action is requested near the beginning (not at the end) A - Accessible information (not buried in thick paragraphs) A...
My company is Syntax Trianing--I mean Syntax Training. I teach business wirting--that is, business writing. The errors I have just made--Trianing and wirting-- are ones I often make as I type. To avoid making errors, I use the Autocorrect tool in Microsoft Office. Whenever I type Trianing or wirting,...