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The Write Stuff
July 2018 Volume 14 Issue 7

Summer School Writing Tips

Although I’m taking a vacation this month — Chicago here I come! — I certainly didn’t want to skip a newsletter. I haven’t done that in 14 years and am not about to start now. But, I did choose to “cheat” with this article, providing some writing tips from the Oxford Royale Academy, which is known for its award-winning summer schools.

The article notes although English is learned primarily for work purposes, business English is not standard in school curricula. With that in mind, it provides eight top business writing tips:

  1. Remember the purpose and the audience. While your school writing projects were completed to earn a grade, in the business world you’re writing for someone else — so you want to keep that in mind as you choose your vocabulary and context.
  2. Avoid jargon. Using jargon makes your writing more complicated and thus harder to understand. Even when readers “get it,” it may still set their teeth on edge — so avoid it when possible.
  3. Be concise. Don’t write an essay when a blurb will do. Use short, easy-to-read sentences or even bullet points, which are easily scannable.
  4. Include statistics. Instead of using words like many, some or a few, use actual numbers so there is no ambiguity.
  5. Make it reader-friendly. In long reports, include subheads to break up the copy and page numbers to make referencing material easier.
  6. Avoid typical mistakes. Edit your writing carefully, because spelling and grammar do matter. Check for its/it’s misuse — I see this all the time — and other silly errors that detract from your message.
  7. Find the right balance between formality and friendliness. Determine what your organization’s writing culture is, and follow it. For instance, should you refer to me as Ms. Moch or Adrienne, and is it appropriate to use emojis?
  8. Proofread as much as you can. This is similar to #6, but is more about catching inaccuracies. You wouldn’t want to tell your boss sales were up 18 percent in one month when you missed a decimal point — and it was really 1.8 percent.

Interested in reading the whole article? Check it out here.

Don’t Be Grandiose

A common error in business English is the misuse of myself in a sentence such as, “the presentation was given by Jenna and myself.” To be grammatically correct, this should be, “the presentation was given by Jenna and me”— no need for the grandiose myself — and to be concise, it could be changed from passive to active voice, becoming, “Jenna and I gave the presentation.”

Be Wise Online

Spammers are all over the internet, trying to get you to “bite” and possibly find yourself in a world of hurt. A sure sign you’ve received a spam email is when it’s littered with typos, like this one, supposedly from DHL:

The parcel was send your home address. And it will arrive within 7 bussness day.

I didn’t fall for it!

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