Whenever a business person says he or she can no longer write with a pen or pencil, I automatically know two things about them. One, they edit their documents on their computer screens. Two, their work will most likely contain typos, extra words, or missing words. It is extremely difficult to edit or to proofread […]
About Jane Watson
Jane Watson may be part of a rare breed. She enjoys grammar and business writing, and is Canada’s grammar guru. She delights in keeping people up to date in what is happening with the English language and with North American business writing style. Jane’s free, weekly electronic business tip (BizWritingTip) on writing styles, business emails, grammar, or word choice is available to anyone who wishes to receive it.
Jane has also written The Minute Takers Handbook (available at www.csae.com) and Business Writing Basics (published by Self-Counsel Press). Business Writing Basics has also been translated into Mandarin and Chinese.
Jane conducts writing courses for both the public and private sector. If you are interested in having Jane work with your organization, please contact email@example.com
In regard to and with regard to are two very common phrases in business communication. Yet why do so many people get them wrong? Why do so many writers want to add an “s” to regard? Incorrect With regards to compiling the binders … The correct phrases are with regard to … and in regard to … Correct With regard to compiling the binders … […]
Dominique’s question: “Which sentence is correct: ‘Firstly, I would like to let you know that …’ or ‘First of all, I would like to let you know …’ I wrote to a colleague in the States who claims she has never heard of the word ‘firstly.’ ” Bizwritingtip response: This is a writing style issue […]
A BizWtitingTip reader wants to know when you use until versus till. Until is a preposition and means “up to or as late as,” “up to the time of,” “up to the time when,” and “so long that.” Examples We waited until 6 p.m. The project was on time until the project manager left. I worked on the computer until […]
I recently received an email from someone curious about the rules for justifying reports. Justification relates to the alignment of text. When the text is aligned at both margins of a document, it is called “fully justified.” When it is aligned only on the left margin, it is said to have a “ragged right” margin. […]
Some business people are confused about when to use i.e. as opposed to e.g. The abbreviation i.e. is from the Latin phrase id est. It means that is. On the other hand, ?e.g. is from the Latin phrase exempli gratia, meaning for example. When deciding which one to use, think in terms of inclusiveness. If you want to indicate everything […]
Gillian’s question: “I am wondering about including the reason for your absence in an out-of-office message if it is of a personal nature other than vacation. Do you require a reason such as a death in the family, medical or maternity leave? Is it fair or acceptable to say ‘… for personal reasons …’?” BizWritingTip […]
A BizWritingTip reader wants to know the difference between than and then. ?Than is a conjunction and is normally used with comparisons. ?Then is an adverb meaning soon afterward. Example He believes a consultant could prepare a better report than we.* (A comparison is indicated.) Example After hearing his news, we then began to question the estimated costs for the […]
A woman in Florida asked, “Not receiving proper training, I’ve been resorting to recording verbatim minutes which can take hours, sometimes days. I’ve come to realize this is unnecessary and impractical … When there is a discussion, do I need to include who is commenting on what?” This is a very good question – and […]
The North American trend for capitalizing words is now “modified down.” What this means is that if you can’t decide whether to capitalize a word or not, you should probably leave it in lower case. A good guideline is if you are using the official name of the organization, use capital letters. If you are […]