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Elements of Business Writing


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1.Principles of Communication.

Rule 1: Use the Active Voice.

Rule 2: Avoid Long Sentences.

Rule 3. Use Simple Language.

Rule 4: Delete Words, Sentences, and Phrases That Do Not Add to Your Meaning.

Rule 5: Break Your Writing into Short Sections.

Rule 6: Use Specific and Concrete Terms. Rule 7: Write in a Natural, Conversational Style.

Rule 8: Keep Ideas Parallel.

2.Principles of Organization.

Rule 9: Organize Your Material According to the Way Your Reader Thinks about the Subject.

Rule 10: Organize Your Material Logically.

Rule 11: Delete the Warm-Up Paragraph.

Rule 12: Use an Executive Summary.

Rule 13: Separate Fact from Opinion.

Rule 14: Delete Unnecessary Closings.

Rule 15: Use Headings and Subheadings.

3.Principles of Wording and Phrasing.

Rule 16: Avoid Wordy and Redundant Phrases.

Rule 17: Use Small Words.

Rule 18: Avoid Sexist Language.

Rule 19: Know the Proper Use of the Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases.

Rule 20: Substitute Modern Business Language for Antiquated Phrases.

Rule 21: Substitute Original Language for Cliches.

Rule 22: Avoid Jargon.

4.Principles of Tone.

Rule 23: Write to Express, Not to Impress.

Rule 24: Prefer Informal to Formal Language.

Rule 25: Prefer Positive Words to Negative Words.

Rule 26: In a Sentence Containing Both Good and Bad News, Give the Bad News First.

Rule 27: Write to Change Behavior, Not to Express Anger.

Rule 28: Be Your Most Pleasant Self.

Rule 29: Use Contractions to Warm Up Your Message.

Rule 30: Avoid Unnecessary Hedging.

Rule 31: Avoid Sarcasm.

5.Principles of Persuasion.

Rule 32: Gain Your Reader's Attention in an Appropriate Manner.

Rule 33: Awaken a Need for an Idea before Presenting the Idea.

Rule 34: Stress Benefits, Not Features.

Rule 35: Use Facts, Opinions, and Statistics to Prove Your Case.

Rule 36: Don't Get Bogged Down in Unnecessary Details or Arguments.

Rule 37: Tell the Reader What to Do Next.

Rule 38: Before Making a Request, Give the Reader a Reason to Respond.

Rule 39: Do Not Assume the Readers Has Been Persuaded by Your Argument.

6.Principles of Punctuation, Grammar, Abbreviation, Capitalization, and Spelling.


Rule 40: Use Commas to Indicate a Brief Pause.

Rule 41: Use a Semicolon to Separate Independent Clauses Not Joined by a Conjunction.

Rule 42: Use a Colon to Introduce a List or Explanation.

Rule 43: Add an Apostrophe and an s to Form the Possessive Case of a Singular Noun.

Rule 44: Hyphenate Two Words Compounded to Form an Adjective Modifier if They Precede a Noun.

Rule 45: Use an Ellipsis to Show Hesitation or Omission.

Rule 46: Use Parentheses to Add Explanatory Material That's Not Part of the Main Thought.

Rule 47: Use a Dash to Interrupt -- or Highlight -- a Thought.

Rule 48: Avoid Slash Construction.

Rule 49: Put Commas Inside Quotation Marks.


Rule 50: Avoid Subject and Verb Disagreement.

Rule 51: Avoid Improper Use of Reflexive Pronouns.

Rule 52: Avoid Sentence Fragments and Run-On Sentences.

Rule 53: Avoid Dangling Modifiers.

Rule 54: Avoid Misplaced Modifiers.


Rule 55: Use Too Few Abbreviations Rather Than Too Many.

Rule 56: Do Not Use an Apostrophe When Writing the Plural of an Abbreviation.


Rule 57: Do Not Capitalize Words to Emphasize Their Importance.

Rule 58: Capitalize the Full Names of Corporation, Government Agencies, Divisions, Departments, and Organizations.

Rule 59: Capitalize Trade Names.


Rule 60: Know the Basic Rules of Spelling, Rule 61: If there are Variant Spellings, Use the Preferred Spelling.

Rule 62: Keep a List of the Words You Repeatedly Misspell.

7.Principles of Format.

Rule 63: Use Wide Margins to Aid Readability.

Rule 64: Use Subject and Re Lines in Memos.

Rule 65: Use Modern Salutations and Closings in Letters.

Rule 66: Use Numbered Lists or Bullets to Present a Series of Points or Ideas.

Rule 67: Put Names in "cc" and "bc" lists in Alphabetical Order.

Index.About the Authors.

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