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Writing Tips: 671 - 680

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Tip #671: Texting and Informal vs. Formal Business Writing


It is important in the business world to know the etiquette of writing. There are three kinds of writing: texting, informal e-mail, and formal business writing.

Texting

Texting is a very informal way of writing using shortened words, slang, and number-letter combinations; for example, u2, m2, wanna, gonna, see u, k, 4u, luv. This informal way of writing is acceptable only in the texting world and in very informal emails.


Informal business email
Informal business emails are used to to dispense information in the form of a reminders, announcements, or similar content. In informal writing, it is acceptable to use contractions, end sentences with a preposition, and use casual, acceptable language.

The following is an example: Remember that the restrooms won't be open 'till 1 today. If you need to use them, go downstairs. Judy

Formal business writing
Formal business writing is used in reports, proposals, letters to customers, letters of request, and, of course, with any communication to the management.

In formal writing, you never use contractions, your English grammar and punctuation need to be perfect, and vocabulary and wording are carefully chosen. You always have a formal close, and your full name and title are required.

Remember, know to whom the communication is being sent. Then you will know if you should write informally or formally.



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Tip #672: Use of idioms in business writing


When writing informal letters, it is acceptable to use idioms; when writing formal letters, it is not. An idiom is an expression using a group of words whose individual meanings can not be interpreted literally.

Below are some common idioms which are used informally in the office. Coupled with them are the formal expressions.

"To get the ball rolling" means "to start something"

"Sharp" means "punctual"

"Figure out something" means "to come to a solution"

"Give someone a hand" means "to help"

"If you know what I mean" means "Do you understand what I am saying?"

"Can I bail out" means "Can I break the agreement?"

Idioms are part of our culture and are used informally without thought. Formal letters are letters and communications that are concise and indicate thought directly and clearly. Therefore, be very observant when writing formal letters, and avoid the use of idioms.



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Tip #673: Use of synonyms in writing

Among the many duties when working in a business environment are writing business letters, memos, and proposals. To avoid becoming redundant and boring, we need to use synonyms.

A synonym is a word that has the same meaning or close meaning to the word. For instance, the word "objective," which we often use, has the synonyms "purpose" or "aim." Thus, we could write the following: Our objective is to satisfy every customer.

The latter statement could be rewritten in the following manner: The aim (objective) of the customer service department is to be sure that the buyers (customers) of our products are pleased (satisfied). Here we can observe that other words have been substituted for the words in parentheses.



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Tip #674: Count and Non-count Nouns


When a word is a non-count noun, it means that the substance of the word cannot be counted; e.g., sugar, sand, money, water, rain. It is prudent to note that we use the adjective "much" with non-count nouns.

Oppositely, count nouns are those whose substances can be counted; e.g., cups, dollars, beaches, copies. Observe that count nouns are singular and plural; e.g., dollar/dollars, but non-count nouns remain singular; e.g., rain, not rains.

Therefore, when speaking or writing, be sure that you do not attempt to make an uncountable noun plural by adding an "s" to the end of the word.



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Tip #675: Less vs. Fewer

How to use "fewer" and "less" is often confusing. While they both mean the opposite of "many," there is a specific rule that is applied in their use.

To understand the rule, you must know the definition of a countable or non-countable noun. (Please see tip #704 for the explanation of these two kinds of nouns.) "Fewer" is used with countable nouns. Examples: There are fewer employees in our company than managers. Our department has to produce fewer reports than accounting does.

On the other hand, "less" is used with non-countable nouns. Examples: There is less noise in the back of the meeting room. Less revenue was collected this quarter than last quarter.

The term "less than" is used before a noun that refers to distance, money, time, quantity, and percentages. Examples: less than 12 miles, less than $25, less than six ounces, less than 40 percent.


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Tip #676: Placement of punctuation


There are two schools of thought concerning the placement
of a comma or a period when writing a quotation: American and British.

As Americans, we like to do things the easy way. Therefore, the rule for placement is that periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark.

Some writers in the United States follow the British style, which places the period on the outside of the closing quotation mark when it finishes a sentence and inside when it punctuates only the quoted material. The British always place commas outside of the quotation mark.

So you see, there leaves less room for error by adopting the American style—always place commas and periods on the inside of the closing quotation mark. Just remember not to mix the two styles in your writing; adopt only one.




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Tip #677: Adopt or adapt?



Yes, these two words are spelled the same way except for one letter. That one letter is going to help us remember the difference.

When we adopt something, it means that we take it and make it our own. In other words, we own it. Take the example of adopting a child. We take the child and make him or her our own; the child becomes a part of our family.

When we adapt, it means that we take a situation and make it suitable for use. For example, if you were to change jobs, you might need to adapt to a new schedule.

The word "adapt" is often followed by one of these prepositions: to (a use); for (a purpose); or from.

Now the tip! "Adopt" is spelled with an "o" and the "o" can be thought of as ownership.

"Adapt" is spelled with an "a" and the "a" can be thought of as altering the situation.





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Tip #678: Me, Myself or I



"I looked at me in the mirror and I saw that my face was
dirty." Sometimes, misuse of pronouns creeps into our
writing and our speech. The proper way to write and say
this is "I looked at myself in the mirror...."

Remember the word "self" reflects back to the person or thing, just like a mirror reflects the image of the person looking into it.

These special pronouns are called reflexive pronouns. Each subject pronoun has its very own reflexive pronoun. This special pronoun combines with the word "self" to form the reflexive pronoun. The following are some examples: She looks at herself; I look at myself; He looks at himself; They discussed the situation among themselves; The smoke alarm went off by itself.

Note that the words 'theirselves," "itsself," and "hisself" do not exist. Also, remember that the spelling of the plural of "self" is not "selfs" but changes by converting the "f" into a "v" and adding "es" in order to indicate the plurality. The word becomes "selves."




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Tip #679: Grammar IS Important


Let's face it; we are constantly judged in the workplace,
and often it is on the way we speak. The person who speaks
correctly is judged to be educated, and, thus, respected.
This statement could be repudiated in some circles, but,
nevertheless, being grammatically correct never detracts from your image.

A very common error that has crept into our language in songs, on the radio, in TV, and in our daily conversations is the misuse of the verb "don't."

You have likely heard something like this: "He don't know what to do" or "He don't make any sense to me."

Always remember that when the subject is "he/she/it," the negative verb is "doesn't," not "don't." You can remember which is correct if you substitute the verb without the negative "not." You wouldn't say "He do know what to do."
You would say "He does know what to do." Therefore, "He doesn't know what to do" is correct.



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