Getting quick answers to grammar-related questions can be a challenge. Here’s a great free online resource called Common Errors in English Usage by Paul Brians. Brians is an Emeritus Professor of English at Washington State University- http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
Many grammar guides offer lengthy convoluted descriptions of grammar rules. I especially like this one because . . . → Read More: Free Practical Grammar Resource
The Hard Way The correct use of who and whom, like all personal pronouns, depends on how the pronoun functions in the sentence. Pronouns either function as the subject of the verb or the object of the verb. The difficulty of who and whom, unlike other personal pronouns, is that it’s not easy to . . . → Read More: Choosing Who or Whom with Confidence is as Easy as 1, 2, 3.
The Productivity Problem Poorly written emails create confusion, hinder progress, and derail projects. Most people ramble as they type in the hope that something will get done.
The Productivity Solution Well-written emails, on the other hand, help people solve problems, meet important deadlines, and keep projects on target. When you write, remember: clear writing . . . → Read More: The Productivity Checklist
The purpose of business writing is to take care of business. Business writing is about getting things done—solving problems, meeting important deadlines, and keeping projects on target. When business professionals, especially senior management teams, remember this function of writing, everyone within an organization becomes more productive. Not only will senior managers increase their productivity, . . . → Read More: Avoid Hidden Verbs
When you write in business, you will be more effective when you use plain language. This means using short words, short sentences…and active voice. Use the active voice when you want to be direct, brief, and natural.
People use the active voice almost entirely when speaking because it is natural and easy to understand. . . . → Read More: Write in Active Voice
Readers are likely to stop reading at the first point of confusion—and this is true whether the writer is a CEO or an intern. So, to keep readers on-message, use short, simple words to make your meaning clear.
Remember the Purpose of Business Writing Business professionals are neither reading at leisure nor reading for . . . → Read More: Use Short, Simple Words
A Guideline for Sentence Length Make your business writing easy to read by using short sentences:
In letters, memos and e-mails, use an average sentence length of 12 to 15 words. In formal reports and technical documents, keep the average sentence length to about 20.
Short sentences usually contain one main idea that readers . . . → Read More: Use Short Sentences
Clear writing is clear thinking, framed for the reader, in plain language. Previous Business Writing Tips have focused on thinking clearly and framing ideas in one of three reader-friendly models. The next several Business Writing Tips will focus on using plain language.
A Simple Test Plain language is easy to read. It’s simple, clear, . . . → Read More: Use Plain Language
Productivity Tip To clearly communicate a deadline, timeline, or schedule for what needs to get done, avoid worn-out clichés in your closing sentence.
Give Readers What They Need, to Get What You Want Before readers can do what you want to get done, they need to know when you want it. They need to . . . → Read More: Avoid Worn-Out Clichés in Your Closing Sentence
Productivity Tip To clearly communicate what needs to get done, avoid worn-out clichés in your opening sentence.
Give Readers What They Want Readers scan most emails in 3-5 seconds looking for quick answers to the questions, “How does this email affect me? Do I have to do anything?” The farther the answers are from . . . → Read More: Avoid Worn-Out Clichés in Your Opening Sentence