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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
Tommaso, good question! Most style manuals capitalize a sentence following a colon. However, if you use "The Chicago Manual of Style," CHICAGO only capitalizes a sentence after a colon if it’s a formal statement or rule or a series of sentences. In the example you are asking about, a series of two sentences follows the colon. Lynn
Toggle Commented yesterday on Three Quests for Errors at Business Writing
Hi Shelley, That's an interesting observation. I like your suggested edit. Lynn
Toggle Commented yesterday on Three Quests for Errors at Business Writing
Alex, it is correct to start a sentence with "And." However, it's considered slightly informal. Lynn
Toggle Commented yesterday on Three Quests for Errors at Business Writing
Deborah, thanks for sharing your insights about Italian. It sounds as though the Italian people make the same mistakes many native English speakers make. Lynn
Judi, thanks for your astute point. I agree, and I believe the dictionaries do too. Lynn
Hi Shalom, Thanks for your excellent point. I agree. Lynn
Hi Rae-Ann, I've checked two dictionaries--Webster's and American Heritage--and neither one interprets envy the way you do. So as much as I'm intrigued by your interpretation, I'm afraid I can't agree with it--yet. Perhaps I will find it in another dictionary. Thanks for stopping by. Lynn
Hi Belinda, Your company should have a policy about this issue. My financial investment company sends me a confidential message that requires my login credentials; then I read the information securely online. Lynn
Hi Paul, Interesting! It appears that users must provide their email address to try the software. It would be nice if people could see a demo--perhaps just an example of text and feedback on it--without having to provide their contact information. Lynn
Hi Diane, Were you successful with this approach? Lynn
Hi Yvonne, You are absolutely right! Thank you for spotting that error. I have corrected it. Lynn
Hi Virginia, Because "Saints" is plural, the correct rendering is "All Saints' Day." I double-checked "The Gregg Reference Manual," which includes that entry in its list of holidays with possessive forms. Lynn
Hi Jennifer, You do not need an apostrophe with the name on the envelope. "The Johnsons" is a plural that refers to everyone in the family. It is not possessive. Lynn
Hi John, You are right. Two Chrises were invited to the event. That's a plural form--not a possessive. Regarding the other suggestions, both Chris' and Chris's are simple singular possessives. Here's an interesting variation: Both Chrises' cars were ticketed by the police. That example is plural and possessive. I hope my response settles things at work. Lynn
Hi George, Your sentence is correct. Example: I've still got to stop by the Joneses' to return the ladder. We use the possessive because we are implying "the Joneses' house." In contrast, this form is not possessive: I am glad the Joneses let us borrow their ladder. Thanks for the question. Lynn
Hi Kelly, Great question. Like you, I would use "Elvis's birthday." However, different style guides--for example, "The Associated Press Stylebook"--recommend different approaches. "AP" recommends "Elvis' birthday." You can read more here: I've added the link to the list above. Thanks for asking. Lynn
Hi Judy, Thanks for the correction. Good catch! I will fix it now. Lynn
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2018 on Test Your Proofreading Skills at Business Writing
Yes, those are good methods too. Lynn
Kelly, I'm glad this post was timely for you. Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Hi Laura, Yes, they can be confusing. I am still amused that "a.m." is "above-mentioned" rather than "morning." Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Hi Fran, Your boss made an odd choice, but maybe it was no choice at all--perhaps he didn't think about it at the time. It's frustrating. Because he didn't copy you, you do not have a record of the communication. That puts you at a disadvantage in terms of following up with the client. But it's possible that there really was nothing significant in the emails. Don't be offended. Instead, when you take a vacation next time, ask anyone who is handling your work to copy or Bcc you on email. That way you will feel confident about your client communications. Lynn
Hi Deborah, Thanks for correcting me! I guess I should have realized that the writer was a customer. The word "invoice" should have made it clear to me, but I was focused on the errors. This changes everything. As you said, one certainly can't ignore or correct a client (although sometimes my job IS to correct clients). And you would not want to fire a client. With things like "a.m." as "above-mentioned," I would go crazy. Thanks for clarifying. Lynn
Hi Susannah, Sometimes I feel like being seriously picky too, and that feeling ends up in a blog post. I wonder whether anyone has ever responded to your feedback. Do you recall a situation? Lynn
Hi Bart, That's an interesting approach. Unlike you, I rarely provide corrections, especially with strangers. It just takes too much time. It occurs to me that when you block further emails, you close the door on receiving a possible thank-you. I would wonder how the other person felt about receiving the input. Do you ever wonder? Thanks for commenting. Lynn
Deborah, thanks for this example. I just wrote about it here: Lynn
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2018 on Should You "Dumb It Down"? at Business Writing