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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
GOMU, type THANK YOU in the search box, and you will find many more blog posts on saying thank you. If you are reading this blog from a computer, the search box should be at top right. If you are on your phone, scroll to the very bottom of your screen, and the search box should appear. If neither of those approaches works, type "business writing blog" and "thank you" in your own internet search. Good luck! Lynn
Toggle Commented yesterday on Remember to Say "Thank You" at Business Writing
Thank you for taking the time to comment, Tommaso, Kristyna, Virginia, and Anita. Tommaso, thank you for letting us know that the same issue occurs in Italy. I wonder whether it occurs all around the world. Kristyna, that's an excellent caution, and I'm glad you brought it up. Indeed, sometimes we need to push back and say "Let's discuss what happened" rather than instantly accept blame. When I mentioned apologizing even when we don't think we did anything wrong, I was thinking of times when we could not have known we would upset someone, yet we did. Sometimes we even might have had a little voice telling us not to do what we did. I know in my original response to the woman who became upset with me, I did have a momentary thought that I should elaborate. When I ignored it, my conciseness got me into trouble. Virginia, you brought me a big smile. Anita, well-said. I agree. Lynn
Shelley, a wise woman indeed. I love succinct advice like that. Lynn
Barb, I like your broadening the reminder to any use of "you" in a response. Good advice! Lynn
Hi Andrea, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Regarding Sales and Marketing, I always judge the effectiveness of communication by whether it connects with the audience. My experience twice going through this process with elderly people is that the Sales and Marketing label is jarring. Because of how it feels to me in the target audience, I'm not going to recommend it. Maybe it's semantics, maybe more. I like your suggestion of Certified Service Animals Only. No Pets Allowed. I think people apologize in this case not because they have done anything wrong but because they are sorry to disappoint. I appreciate your four cents! Lynn
That's an interesting, intuitive approach. Lynn
My pleasure, Amy! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Lynn
I received a message from Adam through LinkedIn. Here are his two concerns, which I quote: 1. What's your reference for St. Andrew's? This may be named after the town of St Andrews in Scotland, which (incorrectly) omits the apostrophe in its own name, but the sign would be correctly imitating the error of the proper name. 2. In 7 and 8, what's your reference for Buffalo Bill's being correct? This is likely a reference to the American football team of the Buffalo Bills, which were named after Buffalo Bill Cody. Since there was a whole team instead of just one man, it became the "Bills." Therefore, "Buffalo Bills" could be an acceptable spelling for an establishment, depending on the meaning. Good questions to think about, Adam. Thanks for them. 1. I can't find anything quickly online that explains a historical reference in the name choice of St. Andrews House, which is a condo complex. I'd look to the true origin: Since his name was St. Andrew, the possessive form would be St. Andrew's. 2. I don't see any team references in the Buffalo Bill's online photos. Rather, the historical figure "Buffalo Bill" appears as their inspiration. It's the inconsistent rendering that bothers me most. Compare these two images: http://bit.ly/2xh0oPb and http://bit.ly/2hPsizJ I appreciate the way you think, Adam. Thanks for the questions. Lynn
Pat, what a terrible example. Thanks for sharing it. I'll try to use your story in a future blog post. Lynn
Another great example, Stephanie. Thanks for posting it.
Hi Jennifer, "Unable" is an excellent choice. However, "not able" is also correct. An editor would need to decide whether to change it or accept the author's rendering. Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2017 on Test Your Error-Finding Skills at Business Writing
Paul, I'm glad you like the tests. Thanks for letting me know. Regarding "awhile," I changed the example to reflect your comment. Now "awhile" is clearly an adverb and is correct as one word. Thank you! Lynn
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2017 on Test Your Error-Finding Skills at Business Writing
Hello John, Thank you for letting me know "alternate" has become acceptable for "alternative" in some cases. Although I could not read the Polish, I checked my reference books and found one ("The Gregg Reference Manual") that agreed with your comment. Therefore, I changed the original blog post. However, I would suggest that careful writers observe the difference between the words. The new "Chicago Manual of Style" still makes the distinction. Thanks for keeping me honest. Lynn
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2017 on Test Your Error-Finding Skills at Business Writing
Cathy, you're right. Thanks for your two cents! Lynn
I'm glad it was helpful. Lynn
Amy, I like your suggestion. Thanks! Cathy, thanks for stopping by! I like "advisor" and "care" a lot. Somehow, though, I stumble over the full string, wondering whether "care" applies to the facility or the advisor. "Care Advisor" or "Resident Care Advisor" might be clearer to me. Lynn
Hi all, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Becky, I'm not sure how I would word that message differently. Do you have ideas? George, you're right. "Sales and Marketing" certainly communicates that message. Robbye, I like Resident Experience. My guess is that an institution would not use it because the individual in that job would not want to focus on the ongoing experience, just on the initial one. Bart, I like your ideas. Interesting observation about integrity. I'll be watching for that. Lynn
Hi JC, I'm glad you brought up the wider issue of nonprofits. I too have seen some overly corporate titles in community organizations. "Prospective" is a good word in our new titles for the department. Thanks for stopping by. Lynn
Venessa, thanks for your positive feedback! I'm very happy that this blog has helped you be a better writer. Lynn
Gosh, thank you, Bryce!
Hi Sam, That seems like a good close. It's warm and inviting. If you were striving for conciseness, you might try this shorter version: "Please contact me with any further queries." I think it's a good idea to vary the close to match the situation. For intance, if the individual had not asked a question but had made a point, you would end the message differently. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Lynn
Hi Alex, Thanks for sharing your view. To me, the question "Will anyone be joining you?" seems neutral, whereas "Just one?" suggests a judgment. I too like "How many?" as a neutral option. Lynn
Hello Wep, It took some tact for Barb to communicate her message to the server, but the server welcomed the feedback. If you are asked "Just one?" at a restaurant you visit regularly, it may be worth letting them know how you feel about the question. Or you might let them know the number in your party before they ask. You might greet them and then say "I would like a table for one please." Thanks for your thoughtful comment on my blog. I am glad you have learned from it! Lynn
Hi Tamara, Acronyms drive me nuts too. I find that when I have a new experience WITHOUT acronyms or a feeling of ignorance, I notice and appreciate it. I recently bought a new bicycle, a sleek "commuter" bike. I worried that at the hip Seattle retail store, Evo, they would speak a language I didn't understand. But the entire experience was comfortable and educational. Thanks for stopping by with a comment. Lynn
Dear Anonymous, Thank you so much for sharing your example and your appreciation. From the email notification I received about your comment, I know who you are, and I am grateful for you as a reader. Lynn