During the holiday season, many people write an annual holiday letter or Christmas letter that reviews the previous 12 months. One challenge is how to write it without sounding like a bragger. Another is to avoid merely listing job promotions, vacations, and our children's accomplishments. Although holiday letters are...
The days of long sentences in long paragraphs are long gone. Our readers need to retrieve information fast. An excellent way to help them do this is to lay out information in bulleted lists. Definition: A "bullet point" is an item introduced by a dot ("bullet") or a similar...
On Thursday, I wrote about my attempt to use the right search string so my readers could find me. I used the words "Can you start a sentence with and" because readers had not found me when I used the phrasing "Can 'And' or 'But' Start a Sentence?" It worked....
You've probably experienced this awkward situation: a person makes a request to you in writing, and you have to say no--in writing. On the telephone or in person, you could respond earnestly, "I'm sorry! I wish I could!" or "Unfortunately, I have to say no." But it's a bit...
Yesterday I got a friendly telephone call from a stranger: Collette Gillian of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Being a copywriter and a lover of the English language, Collette likes to see English written correctly. Collette phoned to inform us that a page on our website said we have clients...
In our business writing classes, people often want an answer to this burning question: Is it acceptable to begin a sentence with the word and or but? The answer is yes. It is perfectly acceptable to start sentences with the conjunctions and and but. However, it is slightly informal. If formality...
When you have a choice, do you prefer being with people who are positive--or negative? When you read business letters, reports, email, and other documents, which tone--positive or negative--makes the message more enjoyable to read? Which inspires you? Unless you are a negative person (in which case you must keep...
Because today is the birthday of our fabulous desktop publisher, Debbie Esposito, I have been thinking happily of what Debbie has brought to our printed materials:     Class, professionalism, and visual appeal When I walk into a room to give a marketing presentation or a class, people often glance...
As we rapidly generate documents and email, we rely more and more on Microsoft's grammar and spelling checker. But you may not be getting as much as you could from that tool. For example: Does your grammar checker catch passive-verb sentences, such as "The meter should be read"? The active-verb form...
In a recent post, I referred to CEO as an acronym, but it's not. Now that I have been corrected, I'll share my learning with you. CEO (for Chief Executive Officer) is an initialism--not an acronym. We pronounce each letter, just as we do with ATM, LCD, and FDA. NOW...