Minute Taking – Minutes and Contracted Words

Karyn’s question: “Came across this in some minutes and it sounded wrong.

Interim Prevention Council
Hasn’t had the first meeting yet, but it will be soon.

What do you think?”

BizWritingTip response: There are a couple of points I would like to address here. First, because the word “Council” is being used as a collective noun, the verb should be singular. Therefore, “hasn’t” works. Think in terms of it hasn’t versus they haven’t.

Second, although the message is reasonably clear, contracted words, such as hasn’t (has not) and haven’t (have not), are not appropriate for minutes.

Minutes – even those of regular staff meetings – should be written formally.

It has not had its first meeting yet, but it will hold one soon.

I also recommend staying away from incomplete sentences and vague timelines in minutes. I prefer:
Interim Prevention Council
Its first meeting will be this month.

Note: Contracted words are great in emails and in some letters – when you want to create a warm tone.

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