A Guide To Effective Business Writing

A good personal assistant or secretary will need to have excellent command of the English language at her fingertips. Emails and letters may have to go out at a seconds notice. Likewise you are responsible for staff memos. Given that you will produce so many scrutinised pieces of writing for both clients and colleagues, your writing must be faultless.

There are easy rules and aspects for all PAs or Secretaries to revise that can help maintain your standard of English. Common mistakes include "their" and "there", all too often PAs send out email with these words being used in place of the other. Everybody will know the meaning of these words,but it is just all too easy to make these mistakes. Another common mistake is "were" and "we're", these have very different meanings but often substitute one another.

Also, be sure that you are clear on the difference between "can" and "may". I can write correctly, infers that I have the ability to write accurately. If I substitute "can" with "may"; the meaning changes and means that perhaps I will write correctly. This is a subtle difference that can make emails and letters look clumsy to the reader.

Another mistake is to get the singular and plural mixed up. This is another mistake that can be easily avoided. However, irregular nouns can also cause problems, when using plural. Regular plurals will only require an "s" to be added to the end of the word. However, irregulars can be a stumbling block. Those words that end with "f" will turn into "ves". Common examples include calves or halves. Furthermore, words like belly will become bellies. This is another genre of irregular. Make sure that you avoid any mistakes around irregular plurals.

Interjections are very popular nowadays because they are used in texts and Facebook, frequently. These include "LOL", "IMHO", "OMG" and so much more. These are not acceptable in formal or business writing and should only be used in suitable conditions. All too often PAs and Secretaries will forget that these interjections do not suit the situation. PAs should never use interjections when they should use more formal language.

Also, be aware of when to use the Upper Case and when not to use it. All too often, people's names do not get the upper case, while common and collective nouns get caps.

These rules and tips do not cover all common mistakes and will not be a problem for many of us. However, I recommend that we all become aware of our bad habits and work on correcting our errors.

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