Business Writing Tips, Part IIAugust 25, 2019
Get Your Arms Around Topnotch Writing, Part IVAugust 29, 2019
You don’t want to get pegged as a business writer whose work is “ungrammatical” or worse, less-than-literate.
- Avoid sentence fragments. These signal that you can’t spot a missing subject, a verb, or both. That makes it fragment-y. Examples of fragments: Understanding the next steps. What will not advance the agenda. Having set up a schedule. The calendar saying it all. Despite everything being in place. Then stood in line. The fix, of course, is adding what’s missing. Fix the first fragment this way: Understanding the next steps, the CEO of the corporation lectured the group. Second fix: What will not advance the agenda is a protest by naysayers.
- Put a comma after your introductory clause and avoid a confusing message.
Example: When the contest was over, the members announced two winners. When you lose, you don’t have to give up entirely.
- Put a comma after your transition word or words.
Examples: Furthermore, the essay was too short. In addition, no one wants to do a three-page edit. Case in point, author Truman Capote intended to portray the two killers as sympathetic characters in the book In Cold Blood.
- Use a comma in a compound sentence. Examples: The poodle bites hands, and her owner scolds. The stuntman drove erratically, and the actor got out of the way. Scout was smart, and she was bold, and she was kind.
- Correct dangling modifiers before sending a message or writing a report. Example: Hanging off the cliff, the truth was apparent in that the convict was hiding from the police. (The truth wasn’t hanging off, but the convict was!) Making perfect spaghetti, the pickiness of the chef was well known. (Correction: The way this sentence is written, the “pickiness” made the spaghetti.)