Writing Style – Closings on Letters

Jean’s question: “Could you please provide some guidance with regard to the closing on a business letter.  My colleagues are no longer comfortable with “Yours sincerely” or “Yours truly” and, to add fat to the fire, they are seeing business letters with no closing at all — just the person’s name, title, and contact information.  Is this the current […]

Writing Style – Caring Less

Klaus’s Question: “Here is something I’ve wondered about since I’ve seen it used both ways. When showing lack of concern, which is correct, ‘I could care less’ or ‘I couldn’t care less’?” BizWritingTip response: The expression “I could care less” has caused a great deal of criticism for many years. The original phrase “I couldn’t […]

Writing Style – Bunch

Susan’s question: “Could you please let me know when it is appropriate to use the word ‘bunch.’ I often hear it used in conjunction with people, but I find it hard on the ear. Am I just being picky?” BizWritingTip response: According to the Oxford dictionary, the noun bunch refers to “a cluster of things growing or fastened […]

Writing Style – Inside Addresses

Kirk’s question: “I am drafting a thank-you letter to two men. In the address portion of the letter, do I write Mr. X and Mr. Y or do I write Messrs. X and Y? And similarly, if the letter was addressed to two women is it correct to use Mmes.?” BizWritingTip response: Here is another […]

Writing Style – Dates

Jolanda’s question: “Lately, I have seen people write: July 3rd, 2010, but I learned in school that it should be July 3, 2010, or 3rd of July 2010. Can you clarify what is allowed?” BizWritingTip response: The answer to this question is a great example of how spoken and written English do not always mesh. […]

Writing Style – Large Numbers

Harvey’s question:”I was reading your BizWritingTip about starting sentences with numbers, and I noticed the example you provided, “One hundred and thirty-eight people signed up for the conference.’ I was taught when writing (or speaking) large numbers you should never say ‘and.’ I believe the example should be written as “One hundred thirty-eight people signed […]

Writing Style – Starting a Sentence With a Number

Judy’s question: “I was taught that when beginning a sentence with a number it should be written out, regardless of whether it is smaller or larger than nine. For example, ‘Thirteen food handlers successfully certified in our safe food handling course this month.’ Is this still correct? Also, I sometimes see it written as ‘Thirteen […]

Writing Style – More Redundant Phrases

I asked readers to send me more redundant phrases that irritated them. The venting was amazing. If you use any of the following phrases in your writing, you risk the chance of annoying your reader: advance planning at this point in time basic fundamentals blunder mistake communicate in writing desirable benefits exact same extended long […]

Writing Style – Redundant Phrases

Klaus’s question: “Every morning I hear an announcer on the radio broadcast what is upcoming by stating ‘coming up in a moment’s time … .’ Is this grammatically correct?” BizWritingTip response: Your announcer is being redundant. I would call his phrase a doublet. A moment is a short period of time. Therefore, he is actually saying in […]

Writing Style – Capitalization With Titles

Brian’s question: “I was just wondering if the use of lower case in business titles (e.g., vice president finance or president and chief executive officer) on business cards, emails, and letters is common and/or acceptable business practice?” BizWritingTip response: First, let’s separate business cards from letters and emails. Business cards are usually planned by graphic […]