When writing business emails, most of us don’t take them that seriously. We fire them off in a casual hurry, with little attention or careful consideration. That’s because we don’t appreciate the power of emails enough to write them well.
The truth is, business emails are not casual, and they’re not stiff either. Instead, they should be highly purposeful, targeted, well-structured and attention-getting intrusions, presented in a friendly yet authoritative tone as concisely as possible. Continue reading Writing Business Emails
Many business people believe using contractions in business writing is a big “no-no.” They think of contractions as a breach of formality, or as unprofessional, or sloppy. It’s commonly assumed that using contractions in business documents creates risks like:
No one will respect you.
Your message (or credibility) is somehow diminished as too informal, breezy and unprofessional.
Business Buzzwords are a double-edged sword. They cut both ways, can be good, bad, or ugly. Buzzwords and buzzphrases are everywhere—so much so that we don’t even notice them. Unfortunately, buzzwords are rarely used to great effect.
Writers in business contexts often appear clueless when using ampersands, and they frequently get ampersand usage wrong. I see it every day in my commercial copy editing work.
But & and and have distinct functions, meanings, and uses. Worse, writers commonly and casually overuse & as a fully interchangeable equivalent of and. That’s why we assembled this easy list of ampersand usage rules. Continue reading Ampersand Usage — “&” or “And”?
Phrasal Adjectives — aka Compound Adjectives or Compound Modifiers
Phrasal adjectives (also called compound adjectives) are hyphenated. For the most part. Are you among the zillions of writers who miss this signal detail? Don’t be. Just follow the fairly straightforward rules and exceptions explained here, and you’ll master this important writing tool.
What is a phrasal adjective? Phrases often function as adjectives. When a number of words together modify or describe a noun, the phrase is ordinarily hyphenated.
The general rule: if two or more consecutive words make sense only when understood together as an adjective modifying a noun, hyphenate those words. (But, grasping the rule’s exceptions is just as important.) Continue reading Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives
It’s amazing that so many smart, experienced people don’t think they can write, struggle to write, or don’t write well when they try. When I’m asked for advice on how to get started on, and finish, a business-writing project I usually try to reduce it to a few understandable and easy-to-remember essentials.