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Chapter 19. Setting the Right Tone > Relaxing Your Grammar

Relaxing Your Grammar

Contractions aren’t bad. Unless you are writing a particularly formal document, go ahead and use contractions. We use contractions when we speak in business settings, and there’s nothing wrong with incorporating them into business writing.

Feel free to end a sentence with a preposition. If you never ended a sentence with a preposition (for, by, at, about, in, to, with, from, etc.), your writing would be terribly stiff, boring, and sometimes unreadable. “What is your e-mail message about?” makes considerably more sense than “About what is your e-mail message?”

I, we, and you belong in business writing. The purpose of most e-mail is to persuade the reader[*] to act in some way. Persuasion requires connection on a human level. It is hard to connect if you depersonalize your writing by eliminating all the pronouns.

[*] A useful reference on writing to persuade others to buy your ideas is Writing That Sells by Kathleen A. Begley, Ed.D., Crisp Publications.

And another thing... Go right ahead and start your sentence with a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet) to create a smooth transition from one sentence or thought to another.


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