Entries by Jane Watson

Words Requiring Prepositions – Tip Sheet

Prepositions are words that show the relationship of nouns and pronouns with the other words in a sentence. Some examples ofprepositions are in, on, of, by, with, to, into, between, up, off, between, to and for. Sometimes, prepositions are unnecessary and can be easily removed. Examples Poor: Where is she at? Better: Where is she? Poor: The shift is now over with. Better: The shift is now over. […]

Emails Made Easy

Emails in the workplace can be irritating. They are either too long or too abrupt. Blaise Pascal, the mathematician, once said, “I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.” I think today you can easily substitute the word “email” for “letter.” Too many writers have a knee […]

Slide Deck Beats PowerPoint — Sometimes

PowerPoint is a wonderful tool. But like many things, it can be overused. I use PowerPoint in my writing workshops that usually have a minimum of 20 people. And I generally follow the standard guideline of no more than six words across the line and no more than six lines to a slide. My font […]

Report Writing: Getting the Length Right

At a recent workshop, one of the participants had a hard time with the idea of brevity. He had been told by his manager that his reports were too short. Therefore, he was looking for tips on how to pad his sentences with extra words. I read over some of the documents he brought and […]

Writing Styles: Academic Versus Business

Why do some people – even though they have gotten great marks in their essays in school – have difficulty when writing in the business world? They may not realize a major factor: There are many different writing styles, e.g., academic, business, legal, literary, technical, and scientific. Each style has its own audience, purpose, and […]

Grammar – The Changing Rules

Although they may not like it, people are now aware that nothing remains the same. Everything changes. That’s why I find it amazing when some people appear stunned to hear grammar rules and writing styles change. But why shouldn’t they?  Grammar and writing style rules were invented to meet a specific need. When the need […]

I Versus We

Marina’s question: “When do I use ‘I’ in a document and when do I use ‘we’? Are they interchangeable?” BizWritingTip blog response: First of all, yes, you can use both I and we in the same business document. Years ago, you were only supposed to use “we.” Nowadays, I means you personally. We refers to everyone who works for your organization. Examples If you […]

Word Choice – Number Versus Amount

Colin’s question: “Can the words ‘amount’ and ‘number’ be interchanged? I have seen ‘the amount of people’ and the ‘number of people.’ Which is correct?” BizWritingTip response: These words are not interchangeable. Use “amount” for money and for things that cannot be counted. Examples They received a large amount of money for that idea. The […]

Word Choice – My wife and I/My wife and me

I have been out of the country for the past month and am still working my way through my emails. However, I am surprised at the number of readers who commented on the BizWritingTip regarding “texted” becoming a verb. They felt that the sentence “My daughter told my wife and me …” was grammatically incorrect. It should […]

Effect as a Verb

John’s question: “A colleague and I are having a dispute. Is there ever a time when you can use the word ‘effect’ as a verb?” BizWritingTip response: Normally, effect is a noun meaning “result” or “consequence.” Examples (correct) What effect (result) will the holiday schedule have on staffing? We need to assess the effects (consequences) […]