Business Writing Grammar

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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If your goal is to improve your overall business writing, grammar is always the best place to start. No one, individual or corporate, is exempt from embarrassment on that score. I recently installed wireless mobile software on my laptop computer so that I could work while on the road without worrying about how to get an internet connection. It's a timely example.

The second thing I saw on the screen was "this allows connection directly to the internet in less then 10 seconds." I shook my head in wry amazement. This kind of error--using the word "then" instead of "than"--is exactly what costs big in credibility points in the workplace. If you're applying for a job, for example, business writing grammar counts heavily.

A survey of Fortune 1000 CEOs indicated that 80 percent of them ruled out applicants for as much as a single spelling, grammar, or punctuation error in a cover letter. The same principle applies in funding proposals. It's the same whether you're applying for individual grants or fellowships, or for operating monies for a nonprofit organization. Your first step to establishing professional credibility is with your communication skills.

Improving Business Writing Grammar

So what do you do, enroll in an online course or a local business program, take a seminar? These are perfectly viable options, of course, but you might not have time for that. You might not be interested in that intensive a program. It might be enough to read through Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, for example, to use the dictionary on the shelf rather than a word processor's spell-check feature. Reviewing lists of the 20 or 37 most common grammatical and writing errors online is another option. These sort of "cheat sheets" are easily available and will usually provide good examples. The point is not to assume that your business writing grammar skills are adequate, or that adequate is enough.

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