Word Choice – I or We

Aarani’s question: “I always find myself wondering whether to use ‘I’ or ‘we.’  I was writing an email just a few minutes ago and wrote ‘I appreciate your help.’  This was directed to an external contact. Would it be better to use ‘I’ or ‘we’ — as in my collective team/company?” BizWritingTip response: “I” means […]

Word Choice – Can Versus Could

I had a question from a BizWritingTip reader recently. She wrote: “I always have trouble using ‘can’ and ‘could’ in a sentence. Could you please provide some examples?” Well, not only could I provide some examples, I can. The word “can” expresses power or ability. Example I can provide the answer to your question.?I can […]

Word Choice – Comprise Versus Compose

Marion’s question: “It would be helpful if you dealt with the correct usage of the verb ‘comprise.’ I believe it is incorrectly used in the example from another BizWritingTip: ‘The NAFTA Secretariat is comprised of a Canadian Section, a Mexican Section and a United States Section.’ ” BizWritingTip response: Back in the days of the dinosaurs, […]

Word Choice – Talk To or Talk About

Nat’s question: “Lately, I have seen quite a few people write ‘I will talk to it at the meeting,’ meaning a particular subject. This sounds weird to me. You can talk to someone but you should talk about a particular subject. Please enlighten me.” BizWritingTip response: You are absolutely right. The phrase “talk to” is used […]

Word Choice – Couple and Pair

Jo’s question: “Can you please help me with the following sentences: ?The couple is/are here to see you. ?A couple has/have bought a lot of groceries. ?The pair of shoes are/is gone. ?Whose pair of shoes are/is this/these?” BizWritingTip response: There are two questions here but both relate to subject and verb agreement. The guideline […]

Word Choice – To Google or Not to Google

Odesh’s question: “Many people now use the word “Google” as a verb to indicate searching the Internet. Is this still informal or is it acceptable in formal writing?” BizWritingTip response: “Google” became the proprietary name for the popular Internet search engine in the 1990s. However, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, it is now used as a verb […]