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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
I'm Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, founder of Syntax Training in Seattle, Washington, and a fan of business writing.
Recent Activity
Thamara, thanks for taking the time to comment. Lynn
Hi James, Thanks for your question. I checked "The Chicago Manual of Style," which agrees with your approach. It recommends a semicolon and sometimes a dash, but its examples seem more complex than mine. I've changed my original post from 2006 ("I.e.--Don't Even Think About It") to reflect that information. Lynn
Hi Sally, If those memory aids work for you, excellent! I had not heard them before. Lynn
Kim, I'm glad to be helpful. Thanks for commenting.
George, when I read your comment about newspapers, I checked two of my style guides. I was surprised that "The Associated Press Stylebook" says nothing about avoiding the use of the abbreviations. However, "The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling" says to avoid "e.g." and to prefer "that is" over "i.e." The Canadians got it mostly right. Lynn
Tommaso, I am glad you found the post helpful. Lynn
Good point, Cathy. It sounds like a course I don't want to take! Lynn
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Good Word to Know: "Polymath" at Business Writing
Hi Jenan, The first example does the job efficiently. However, if you want to make it sound more elegant, you can use the second. Choose the approach that matches your business. Lynn
Hi Henning, Be consistent. Use either of the choices below. Dear Professors Jones and Smith: Dear James and Susan: I believe it's better to err on the side of formality than familiarity, but it's really a choice for you. Lynn
Hi Jackie, To each their own! (Smile.) Lynn
Hi Dina, I'm glad you liked the information. Regarding your question, are you asking about the salutation (greeting)? If so, type "salutation" in the search box, and you will find what I have written on that topic. If you are asking about the opening sentence, the examples above should help. Lynn
Hi Henning, I would follow the norms of your profession. If the other person's Ph.D. points to the use of Dr., use it. If it doesn't, use Mr. or Ms. However, if you are going to refer to the two of you in the letter, I suggest using Dr. for both, rather than pulling rank. I hope that answer helps. Perhaps I have missed something. Lynn
Hello John, Deborah, April, Martha, and JD, John, having the word as the title of a book would certainly help a person learn it. Great method! Deborah, I did what you did. "Poly" was easy, but "math" didn't make sense to me. But I learned from reading closely in the dictionary that "math" refers to learning--not necessarily numbers, as we think of it. Regarding "eclectic," I don't think it quite fits, but it does cover some of the same ground in "selecting what appears to be the best in various . . . styles." April, you're right! I have listed to my "Hamilton" CD and just saw the play on Friday night. Now that have you have prompted me, I do remember hearing the word there, but there was so much to take in. Thanks! Martha, thanks for elaborating. Your approach makes perfect sense. JD, now you can be a real polymath! I'm glad you found this post helpful. Lynn
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2018 on Good Word to Know: "Polymath" at Business Writing
Hi Martha, I'm curious about whether you guessed "multi-talented" because you are familiar with Donald Glover. Or did you get the idea from "polymath"? Lynn
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2018 on Good Word to Know: "Polymath" at Business Writing
Ha! Darryl, thanks for making that important point. Lynn
Hi Jessica, I'm glad you learned something new here! Lynn
Alex, thank you for taking the time to share this helpful information. Lynn
Hi Deborah, You are right. I'm one of those literal readers who sees the words "Engineering Building" and goes in search of one. Lynn
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2018 on How to Refer Readers to a Map at Business Writing
Excellent point, Carlos. Thank you!
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2018 on How to Refer Readers to a Map at Business Writing
Hi Tokoni, The format you choose for the executive summary depends on the content of the report. So the report has to be done before you can summarize it. If the report contains six recommendations for the fictitious family, your summary might introduce and list those recommendations, and then the report would flesh them out. Regarding Point 7, the final summary would, of course, not list the recommendations again. It would probably summarize the need for them. Good luck! Lynn
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2018 on Write Better Executive Summaries at Business Writing
Thanks for sharing your views, George, Carlos, and Michelle. You can see from the new photo above that the registration site is hard to miss in person--no name of the building needed. George, I agree that the engineering building needs to be on the map as the instructions stand now, and you are correct that the building has a name, just as the law school does. I found that out today. Carlos, like you, I am a fan of the map. I believe it would be effective to simply refer readers to the building marked Registration, leaving out that it happens to be the engineering building. Michelle, I like your suggestion "Check-in is at the main lobby of the Engineering Building (marked "Registration" on map)." Having been at the university today, I noticed that the building has a much longer name than "Engineering Building," so we shouldn't capitalize those words. On another subject, it's great that your daughter is considering this school as long as it fits your budget. I believe it's a wonderful educational community, with many opportunities for classroom and life learning. Lynn
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2018 on How to Refer Readers to a Map at Business Writing
George and Carlos, thanks for your ideas. I will wait to see whether more people respond before I comment. Lynn
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2018 on How to Refer Readers to a Map at Business Writing
Alfredo, thanks for sharing your experience. I appreciate your providing a historical comparison, and I agree with your conclusion. I had not realized that you were now working for a tech company. Congratulations! Lynn
Thanks for your input, Virginia, Bart, George, Daniel, and Lorraine. Yes, it's complicated, and English doesn't seem to have the perfect solution yet. Virginia, I agree about the clunkiness of "they," particularly since it requires a plural verb. Had the title of the post been "They Pulls Ahead" (without quotation marks around "they"), everyone would have stumbled over my grammatical mistake. Bart, my goal in communication--especially in writing--is never to offend when I can help it. The other day in Staples I referred to an employee, saying "He's getting it for me." The coworker responded, "She's getting it for you." A gender-neutral pronoun would be perfect in situations like that--no awkwardness, no error. George, I like your point about "he or she" reminding the audience of the possibilities. Yes, the change will come slowly. Daniel, thanks for weighing in. It's wonderful that some people are easier to please than others. Lorraine, thanks for your thoughts. Unfortunately, English hasn't accepted "it" to refer to people. We even argue about using it for animals. But apparently, as George mentioned above, German lets us call a child "it." Regarding "he" used for everyone, that approach was the standard and the solution when I was growing up. These days it's considered sexist and inappropriate. Perhaps someday we will have a word that everyone agrees on as a singular gender-neutral pronoun. Lynn
Kristen, you are right. It is a UX bungle. I do think a "how many" field makes sense in some form though. Some parents may have two children going on the trip. A way for them to pay for two should be available. How would you allow for that possibility? Thanks for stopping by. Lynn