Painless Business Grammar Overview

Do you spend way too much time checking and double-checking your work for grammar and spelling errors — and you’re still nervous when it goes out the door? Find grammar rules confusing, frustrating, or just plain boring?

When you make a grammar mistake, it’s more than just a fleeting embarrassment. It can cause your message to be dismissed and your professional reputation to suffer. That’s not a risk you can afford to take. Try using these simple grammar rules to make sure you come across as the professional you truly are!

Basic Structural Components of Good Business Writing

ThinkstockPhotos-479706741Complete sentences contain a subject and a verb and can stand alone.

  • I always enjoy going to a training seminar
  • He likes cake.

Misplaced Modifiers

Phrases and clauses can be confusing if they are placed inappropriately in a sentence.

  • My boss returned to the hospital where she underwent surgery in March in a local fire company’s ambulance.

Place the modifier near the correct word it modifies.

  • Riding in a local fire company ambulance, my boss returned to the hospital where she underwent surgery in March.

Run-On Sentences

ThinkstockPhotos-507793996Learn to identify and eliminate run-on sentences (two or more complete sentences without a semicolon, period, or conjunction separating them).

  • You ate too fast your stomach will hurt

Instead write:

  • You ate too fast, and your stomach will hurt. Or: You ate too fast; your stomach will hurt.

Parallel Construction

Parallel construction adds clarity, elegance, and symmetry to your writing. To be grammatically parallel, align words, phrases, and statements: noun with noun, verb with verb, and phrase with phrase.

  • Speaking in public is harder than writing in public.
  • Sam’s office was painted, carpeted, and paneled last week.
  • To teach, to supervise, and to delegate work are a few of my jobs.



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