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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
I'm a consultant and business writing expert who's been blogging since 2005.
Recent Activity
Hello Bandula, How wise of you to encourage your friends to read this blog. Let me know privately if you want me to write about a subject they need to learn! Lynn
Joe, thank you for telling your story. I'm a boomer mother with a millennial daughter. She is evidence that this skill can be learned--it just needs to be taught! Lynn
Hi Yvonne, Thank you for mentioning the email marketing programs and providing the link. Those services could be a great solution for writing to groups of customers. We also need to work on the way we think about the communication and ask, "Do all these individuals want/need to see one another's contact information and replies?" Usually the answer is no. Thanks for your thoughtful words, Yvonne. Lynn
Hanna, read Point 1 above. It describes when to use email. Lynn
Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Allison! You have been commenting for a couple of years, and I appreciate your joining in the conversation. It's always good to hear from you. Lynn
Hi Pete, Let's see . . . a third way. How about using a full stop after a final sentence such as "I look forward to seeing you" or "Thank you again for your help"? Then close with a true complimentary closing such as "Best" or "Best regards" or "Cheers" followed by a comma. Would that work? Lynn
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2019 on Stop These Creeping Commas! at Business Writing
Deborah, thank you for your thoughtful comment! You have made my day. Lynn
Hi Michele, Thanks for the compliment. Sometimes it IS hard to come up with good alternatives. When that happens for me, I usually come back to a passive verb later, with a fresh mind. I'm not sure about "began" as an active verb in a construction like this one: "Trinity Episcopal began in 1855." I'll have to think about it. Another idea just came to me: "Trinity Episcopal opened its doors in 1855." Unfortunately, "opened its doors" is not always the same thing as "was established" when it comes to churches. Thanks for thinking about passive and active verbs with me! Lynn
Hi James, I agree. And on behalf of blog readers, thank you for the reminder about "acronym" and "initialism." Lynn
Marisa, of course you are right! That's what I get for changing the phrasing at the last minute. Consider it fixed. Thank you. Lynn
Hi Anita, I am delighted to know that you have an internal style guide. Good work! Lynn
Colleen, thank you very much for that information. I will add it to my post. I do not know why my hardcover "M-W Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition" does not include "reoccur." Lynn
Randy, indeed! Thanks for the correction, which I have applied. Lynn
Hi Maria, It is perfectly fine to say or write "I was sorry to learn that your symptoms have returned." You asked whether I would use "reoccur," and I would. For example, I might write something like "Let me know if the problem reoccurs." It's shorter than "happens again." But you're justified in thinking that "reoccurs" feels more formal than "happens again." It's a matter of tone. Thanks for thinking about this topic with me. Lynn
Hi Cathy, I'm glad you had a helpful realization. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Lynn
David, THANK YOU for noticing and taking the time to comment. I have been waiting for someone to say something, and you are the one! Lynn
Roderick, thank you for your recommendation on "stage 3 cancer." It makes good sense. Lynn
Jane, thank you for sharing the HOW rules. I had forgotten about that helpful manual, which I used to consult many years ago. The rule on vitamins surprised me! Yes, wouldn't it be great if the style manuals agreed? But then we might be out of a job. I apologize for my slow response to your comment. It came while I was traveling. Lynn
Jenn, your capitalization is correct. It follows the "Gregg" approach. Beyond that, it refers to a specific address, as you said. Lynn
Patty, you are welcome. If you use "Chicago" consistently, your job is easier when it comes to nouns followed by numbers: Always lowercase except with proper nouns. I myself like the look of the capital letters, so I follow "Gregg." Lynn
Hi Deborah, "That indicates sequence" refers to items rendered sequentially. Think of Chapters 4–7, Tables 1 and 2, and Exhibit A. Does that make sense? Thanks for asking for clarification. Lynn
Hi Mark, The ellipsis has become very popular. At the same time, none of the prominent style manuals (last time I checked) recommend using it that way for business writing. So I don't normally recommend it. That said, I agree with you about the nice pause without harshness. Here's another post I wrote with information about ellipses: https://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2009/06/i-am-ready-to-face-ellipses.html Thanks for the question. Lynn
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2019 on Punctuation Advice for "Ask Amy" at Business Writing
Thinking of potential customers as "snowflakes" and making snide comments about them typically don't lead to increased sales. Considering what would appeal to customers does.
Hi Nick, Michelle, and Emily, Thanks for weighing in on this subject. Nick, if I wanted the department's business, I would search my collection of keychains we had produced to find something that would relate to them. It might be something we had done for a university team or program, for an organization with a global focus, or even just something funny and creative. I would not choose something like "My Guns, My Right, My Country," which is already a divisive topic in the United States. It's not a good fit for this customer. Indeed, I can think of only a few potential customers where this would DEFINITELY be a good sample product, places like gun clubs, NRA chapters, and maybe hunting clubs. Michelle, I don't understand your point yet. Are you saying that the vendor did not want to work with the Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and therefore tried to lose the sale? Or is it that the vendor felt the keychain--which takes a stand--would relate to the department's goals? If you see this comment, please elaborate. Emily, thank you for helpfully defining "equity." Lynn
In the right situation, both sentences would be correct. Lynn