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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
Cristie, that is an excellent approach to making email more efficient in an organization. Thanks for sharing it. Lynn
Jacqueline, you are correct. Thanks for that helpful reminder. Lynn
Hi Charley, Take the free preview of my online course Meeting Notes Made Easy: https://courses.syntaxtraining.com/courses/meeting-notes-made-easy Also click on the links in the blog post above to read more. You'll get a lot of free information. Then if you want to invest in your skills, take the entire Meeting Notes Made Easy course. Perhaps you have an employer who might pay for it. Good luck! Lynn
Hi Donna, Yes, his attention to detail would certainly be lacking. Lynn
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Ha! Yes, I get it. Thanks, Nick. Lynn
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Poop Sign to Punctuate at Business Writing
Thanks, everyone, for submitting your versions. I loved reading them. I'm going to give the prize for originality to Nick, who seems to have written a poem and changed the meaning of the sign. He wrote: Dog owners! Please scoop! Your pets poop! In Nick's version, "pets" is not possessive. It's the noun in the second statement. Funny! My version is the same as Kelly's, who wrote the first comment: Dog owners, Please scoop your pet's poop. Thank you. As KathI, Paul, Lorelee, and Anita did, you could also make "pets" into a plural possessive: Please scoop your pets' poop. It can go either way because some readers will have more than one dog (and the sign is to "Dog owners"--plural), and some will have just one. I like following the opening with a comma, which feels softer than the colon. However, the colon is also correct, just a bit more formal in feeling. Although I used a period at the end of the message, the exclamation point ("Thank you!") is also correct. It's very emphatic. Martha, K, and Anita used a comma after "please." It's not necessary, but it is fine to communicate emphasis. "Owners" doesn't need to be capitalized, since "dog owner" isn't an official title, but it seems fine on this informal sign. Thank you for participating in poop sign punctuation! Lynn
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Poop Sign to Punctuate at Business Writing
Hi Tracy, Thanks for sharing your question. First, I would suggest that the portion of the meeting that covers sensitive issues should be considered an "executive session." This is a private session whose discussion should not be shared beyond the room and which has a separate set of minutes that go only to the attendees in the executive session. If you follow that approach, you don't have to worry about others seeing and reacting to the minutes. I also suggest that you ask the group whether they want any details of the HR discussion to be included in the minutes. Beyond that, your wording should be neutral and factual rather than emotional and speculative. Here is an example I just made up. You would NOT write something like this: Katia shared that an employee, Ralph Green, has been late way too many times. She has tried, but she has been unable to get him to understand the seriousness of the situation. He acts like it's no big deal. The group recommended that she write a disciplinary warning letter when he is late again, letting him know what would happen next. Katia agreed with that approach. You WOULD write something like this if the group wants the discussion topics included in the minutes: Katia asked the group for advice on how to handle an employee's recurring lateness. She accepted the group's recommendation to meet with the employee and present a warning letter and performance improvement plan if the lateness occurs again. I hope these ideas are helpful. Lynn
Debby, that vocabulary sounds like an excellent idea. For learning Spanish, I use an online dictionary called Span¡shD!ct (and Duolingo). I always read the sample sentences to determine which words work together for native speakers. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hi Senna, Not necessarily. This sentence is correct: "I regret the inconvenience." Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Debby, You made some good word choices. "Renowned university," "appealing programs," and "strong traditions" make sense. "Modern faculty" is not good phrasing. "Modern" is not typically applied to groups of people. Yes, you can say "modern woman" or "modern building," but "modern faculty" is not common usage. "High reputation" is also not typical. Note some of the other words people used. Good luck with your work learning English! Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hi Senna, "The inconvenience" is fine. Your person's advice is wrong. If you understood him correctly, I suggest that you not take advice from him about English. "For" is necessary. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Robson, The sentence doesn't make sense yet. You might try "You can call me whatever you want, whenever you want, whomever you want." It still doesn't make real sense, but it's grammatically correct. Lynn
Hi Senna, There's no need for a hyphen in "reopen." Readers can easily recognize the word without confusing it with another word. You are right about the spelling error. Please see the comments above. Thanks for stopping by. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Bart, That IS the question. When I am dealing with a service professional, I always back off when they make mistakes in the small details. However, this sign was from a jewelry store. As long as the jewelry and the prices seemed good, I would shop there--but I would carefully check the bill! Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Nathalie, I'm smiling at your enthusiasm. The errors I focused on were the spelling of "inconvenience," "inquiries," and "any" (as "an"). Punctuation would also make the sign clearer, but its absence seems to be intentional rather than accidental. But lines like "Inquires please contact" come across as sloppy. Did you find the same errors? Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Patty, replacing "continue" with "resume" is an excellent edit. Thanks for stopping by. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Paul, Thanks for taking this challenge seriously. I'm saying yes on the two spelling errors--good catches. But changing active verbs ("reopen" and "continue") to passive ones ("will be reopened" and "will be continued") is not a good idea. It makes the sentences wordy and indirect. Please reconsider that idea. Similarly, "caused" feels passive. I suggest dropping it. If you want to read more about my take on passives, check out this post: https://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2017/04/everything-you-need-to-know-about-passive-verbs.html Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Virginia and Kelly, I was thinking of the same three errors you spotted--3 of 19 words misspelled! Yes, we could add a couple of periods and a comma, but the spelling is the craziest part. Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2019 on This Sign Needs Help at Business Writing
Hi Lakshmi, I'm glad you were great! It makes me wonder whether in this instance you were savvy, persistent, inventive, persuasive, or another kind of great. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hi Tina, I like your specific adjectives, which paint a picture and can come across as sincere to the audience. Thanks for joining in. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hello Senna, Mimi, Laura, Tamara, and Kathi, Thanks for your comments! Senna, "great" is the first word we think of, isn't it? That's why I'm suggesting the 24-hour great-free challenge. I'm glad you found the piece helpful. Mimi, I like your "deep traditions." I had not thought of that one, and it works perfectly. Something I'd like you to think about is your first adjective, "welcoming." Because it has the primary place in the sentence, the other adjectives should echo it, at least somewhat. It's not quite the right lead-in for what follows, but it's a good, specific adjective on its own. Laura, I agree. The all-important emotional appeal was missing in the piece. I think the president was trying to be low key, but his message came across as bland. Tamara, I always appreciate your thoughtful words. Kathi, those are powerful, consistent adjectives, creating a strong opening sentence for the president's article. Thanks for sharing them. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Christie, these are excellent, distinctive adjectives. I especially appreciate "expert" and "time-honored." Thanks for sharing your work. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hi Virginia, I especially like your esteemed faculty, in-demand programs, and strong traditions. I admire the specificity beyond greatness! Thanks for playing. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Rae-Ann, thanks for that clever point. I was thinking about whether this topic falls under both creative and business writing. Indeed it does. The president's article included a pitch for financial contributions. He needed better editorial support to make his pitch more specific and meaningful. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing
Hi Michele, Nice! In the schools I was thinking of, diverse faculty and well-rounded programs did not come to mind. I enjoyed reading your description. Thanks for sharing your work. Lynn
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2019 on Great Is Not So Great at Business Writing