The word is applied to phrases that have lost their meaning through overuse: e.g., outside the box, in this day and age, plagued by doubts, read between the lines The first important element of language is clarity, or the use of language to make sure the audience understands a speaker’s ideas in the way the speaker intended. The month-end income statement showed a loss. For example, instead of saying that you are leaving a meeting to urinate, you might say that you are “going to the restroom.” If you are talking about a person who just died, you might say that the person has “passed away.”. Therefore, the sentence should start with the important part. She was exhausted after all that overtime last week. To make them parallel, the sentences should be rewritten with just gerunds or just infinitives. If you are going to use slang, however, make sure that you’re using it correctly. That cart did not work any more. The employee gains respect and appreciation thanks to writing skills that project credibility and confidence. The audience (your reader, if the message is written) is the receiver of the business communication. Here are some important questions to ask yourself about your audience that may direct the stylistic choices you make in your writing: Even in a specialized, professional work environment, the level of knowledge your audience may have about the technical aspects of your work or area of expertise will vary. Sometimes when I'm grading a student's paper and I find a misused word, I circle it and write "Word Choice." The UWaterloo Library also provides access to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which includes not only precise definitions but also extensive illustrations. When trying to enhance your reputation, it is tempting to want to use complex words in order to appear smart and sophisticated. They are the currency of our lives. Here are a few more examples of parallelism in which the elements are all different lengths and types: Jackson and Krista are cooking dinner, David and Rogelio are setting the table, and Ollie and Ron are picking up dessert. Lists can be used in several ways. Its forms include am, are, is, was, were, and will be, had been, is being, and was being. The second sentence uses parallelism. And How You Say Them. Thus, using “he or she” is often not the best solution. The month-end income statement showed a negative cash flow. Choose Words that You Understand It is important that you understand the words that you choose. The Importance of Word Choice. For example, during a war, a messenger would be sent from one camp to another. Which is more effective? Think of it this way: separately, Brussels sprouts, marshmallows, and sardines are delicious; together, they’d be kind of horrifying. Some common imprecise word choices that can almost always be replaced with stronger, more precise words include the following: good, bad, thing, stuff, important. Among these different positions, the depth of knowledge about your topic will vary, and so you should consider the terminology, formality, and degree of context when writing. "Get 15% discount on your first 3 orders with us" Use the following coupon FIRST15 Order Now Also, Mandy and Torrence have strange taste in entertainment.). Use the following principles to guide your vocabulary decisions. Do you use “one” (as in “One hopes to understand the meaning of this sentence.”) and then get stuck in a bog of pronouns? Or, think about a clothes washing machine. With business writing, the main focus is on the reader’s ability to quickly absorb and react to the communication. Please do the following: A numbered list provides the correct order and structure for the reader. If, however, it is important that Tamara lost the sale, but we want to focus on the loss rather than who lost it, saying “The potential sale in North Dakota was lost by Tamara,”. The first way to avoid gender bias in your writing is to use gender-neutral words when referring individuals in various positions: The next thing to be aware of is your use of gendered pronouns. The dictionary defines jargon as “the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group.”[2] Since these terms are used within an activity, group, or profession, they’re typically not well understood outside that context. Word choice is an area of writing concerned with using clear, descriptive words that engage readers. Recognising that we have used a cliché, we are in a position to choose more unique words. Once again, the examples above combine gerunds and infinitives. Using words like thing and important do not help the reader to understand the context of what was accomplished or in what ways the thing that she did impacted the broader field. e.g., Marie Curie’s research on radioactivity was innovative in its identification of previously unknown radioactive substances, including radium. Use of bold font provides emphasis without the startling impact of all capital letters. At the same time, be careful of turning a single sentence into a paragraph by stringing together every idea you’ve ever had. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office. You should use the same mode of address for every person you mention. [“Amanita threw the ball” could stand alone as a sentence, as could “Fido fetched it.” That structure is what makes this a compound sentence.]. Not all dictionaries are created equal, and many online dictionaries are inadequate for the requirements of professional and academic writing. The store needs several items to process the refund for the incorrect billing. Please see the corporate request. 10-4 started in police and military circles as a radio shorthand. Writing cleanly and concisely doesn’t mean writing like a robot. It can make the writer seem immature in the workplace. John is one of our most active employees, even though he must use a wheelchair. (Parallel elements are independent clauses that could stand alone as sentences. Reserve passive verbs for the moment you need to say “no” in a message. Apologizing can bring blame upon a company. Business writers work to be clear and direct in meaning, and drawing attention to details about race, age, country of origin, disability, and gender in the workplace might cause conscious or unconscious bias. Why Word Choice is Important Human beings are herd animals and need to communicate. he passive voice can be used to “hide” who performed the action. This effect is further magnified when it comes in a downward message. It sure seemed like the lawyer was trying to confuse the meaning. Capable of greeting many customers while attending to a multi-line phone. Business Communication Skills for Managers, http://sites.utexas.edu/legalwriting/2015/04/29/manage-your-sentence-length-2/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_the_messenger, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/styleguide/. When the passive voice is used too frequently, it can make your writing seem flat and drab. Why does the topic of bias-free writing follow a page about hidden meaning? While they is typically treated as a plural pronoun, when an individual has expressed a desire to be identified with gender-neutral pronouns (they/their/theirs), it is grammatically correct to use they as a singular pronoun (per the Chicago Manual of Style, one of the predominant authorities on grammar and style). Think of the advice a home seller receives before an open house: have bread baking or apple cider simmering to create an aroma that makes the house feel more like a home. Order number 1234, received August 1, ships on August 5. Starting a sentence with a dependent clause can sometimes bury the important news at the back end of the sentence. Capable of greeting 25 customers an hour, while managing incoming phone lines for six district managers. Do you start sentences with “What it is, is . The imprecise word thing has been replaced with the specific work that Curie accomplished, and the importance of her work has been directly identified. I forgot to get one orange, eggs for the mix (2), and the red for the icing ,so I’ll need one bottle of red food coloring. Try to use emotionally neutral expressions rather than ones that assign a role, such as victim. Abdul has some of the highest call center ratings, even though his Saudi accent is strong. Correct word choice creates an accurate picture of the writer's topic that is both unique and easy to understand. Lacking parallelism: “She likes cooking, jogging, and, Parallel: “She likes cooking, jogging, and reading.”, Parallel: “She likes to cook, jog, and read.”, Lacking parallelism: “He likes to swim and, Parallel: “He likes swimming and running.”, Compile quarterly and aggregate sales data, Jeff does more searching for office space. Precise words communicate your meaning. Instead of focusing on “sounding smart,” concentrate on expressing accurate content with precise, unambiguous words so that the message is transmitted clearly. This common metaphoric phrase dates back to before the widespread use of modern telecommunication when messages were usually delivered by human envoys. In some cases word choice is necessary for maintaining rhyme. ~ Tasks to be completed before the end of the quarter: ABC Company loves the opportunity to fill your Pick n Pack order. [Even though the part of the sentence before the comma has a subject, “Amanita,” and a verb “looked,” the addition of “while” means it can’t stand on it’s own as a sentence. Recently, employees have erroneously entered wired rather than rewired on service orders. The Visual Thesaurus is an online dictionary and thesaurus that displays the word you are looking up at the … Use of Italic font provides emphasis without the startling impact of all capital letters. We have to clear these lines of customers quickly. These are all important questions to consider as you begin to select each and every word that makes it into your speech. Parallelism can also apply to the way you talk about similar elements in general. Not only is it possible to read this passage without dozing off, it also gives more information by showing the relationship among the bits of information given. Recently employees have erroneously entered. Discuss strategies for creating reader-focused writing, Discuss strategies to avoid language that can confuse or exclude readers, Discuss strategies to avoid language that shows bias against individuals or populations, Discuss strategies to improve concision in writing, Discuss strategies to improve clarity in writing, Evaluate the parallel structure of sentences and passages, Discuss appropriate ways to indicate emphasis in business writing, Put the receiver’s needs before the sender’s needs, Start with what the receiver needs to know. Appropriate word choice allows students to display their knowledge, not just about English, but with regard to any given field of study from science and mathematics to civics and history. ” Whatever your particular quirks, become aware of them and take care to look for and fix them when you edit your work. It is likely Lynnette is thinking the customer will be impressed with her efforts and feel like a valued customer. Examples of important word choice in agriculture. Your job as a writer is to ensure that you consider your audience’s needs when writing, including word choice and organization. Why is this the case? You might be thinking you will get a call back tomorrow. Compound-complex sentences — you can probably figure this one out from the name and the example: While Amanita looked for the ball, Fido chased a grasshopper, and Whiskers looked bored. ABC Company appreciates the opportunity to fill your Pick n Pack order. Take recordings periodically so you can assess your progress. First, it … Now just kick it through the goal posts. There is a meeting for the entire staff next Friday. This model focuses on the choices a writer or sender of a message can make to best convey their message to the receiver. That you are an insider and not an outsider. Selecting a word because it sounds “smarter” or “more academic” can result in using words incorrectly, which detracts from the credibility of your argument. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a cliché as “a trite phrase or expression; a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation; something (such as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace.”[1]. You write a thank-you note to your aunt for the socks she sent much differently than you write a thank-you note after a job interview with the vice president of the division. In both of these instances, you were (likely) guided away from the passive voice. Your order has been received and will ship shortly. This is different from the prose of novels or the beat of poetry in which taking pleasure in the complexity of sentences is part of the experience. So just what is the difference between these two voices? If you are passionate about writing, you understand the importance of word choice to convey the right meaning or evoke emotion. Consider the following examples, both about Marie Curie’s contribution to science: e.g., The thing that she did was really important in the field. When filing the report, each employee should make sure he or she included yesterday’s data. Within the context of a specific group, jargon may help members of the group refer to very specialized concepts, but those outside the group may find the jargon incomprehensible or may misunderstand the intended meaning. “Kick it through the goals posts” is common enough, and overused enough, but it is a sport reference that many may not understand. Avoid slang or idiomatic expressions in formal business writing or in academic writing. As you write and edit, ask yourself whether you are using several words when there’s one perfectly good one that would suffice. Doing this well enhances the writer’s reputation. Remember, your goal is not to make your sentences short, your goal is to convey your ideas clearly and to avoid ambiguity. To be conjugates irregularly. Improving vocabulary skills will improve their understanding of novels and textbooks. For example, in an engineering firm, you may be writing documentation for managers, peers in your field, human resources staff, accountants, or co-op students. Isn’t it obvious that “I am writing”? can make your writing sound boring. ], Polly sat on her perch and whistled. Often, writers assume that complex words make their writing impressive, which leads them to avoid using simple words. Do you use “also” too much to show the relationship between ideas? When I started thinking about getting a new job, I was completely clueless. The remuneration the contractor receives is commensurate with the time and materials used. There is a meeting for the entire staff next Friday. If the receiver is not from the technical side of communications, someone might have been thinking about a bank machine. Selected Answer: When in a professional environment you are dealing with individuals that have a higher education than yourself or different cultures. Then check your parallelism by making sure that each of the items represents the same part of speech. One way people could learn about changing a tire is from a description in the owner’s ma… However, be sure you are not splicing together long strings of clauses that get really hard to follow. The business’s reputation also grows—not in a blatant way but in a behind-the-scenes way. Word choice is an important way to signal to a community that you belong. Think about the difference between these two versions of a list in an internal report: Which one is easier to follow? The department is being right-sized. When filing the report, employees should make sure they included yesterday’s data. Think about any community you are part of on social media. The analogy that best suits emphasis in a message is to think of salt in food. Was the second sentence easier to comprehend than the first? Clear is good; simple can be mind-numbing, so vary your sentence structures. [This includes a prepositional phrase, “on her perch,” and a compound verb “sat” and “whistled,” but it’s still a simple sentence.]. One way people could learn about changing a tire is from a description in the owner’s manual sent by the auto manufacturer. Imagine an entire report full of this: Even though you are reading excellent news, you’re about to keel over from the monotony, aren’t you? The above sentence is imprecise. Did the cleaning woman bring new trash bags? Sometimes, for the newer writer, it might be easier to think of a predictable rhythm or format when working on how to achieve parallelism. Whether to-the-point or elaborate, our messages are sent across to one another in a manner that is either understandable, vague or distorted. This is not a personal communication that might include emotion or symbols for emotions. She finally has enough information to email the customer and provide an update on the situation. However, there are occasions when slang and idiomatic expressions may be appropriate, depending on who your audience is. Instead you can use “he or she” (“his or her,” etc) as the pronoun for a generic noun: Using “he or she” is an okay solution, but it can get clunky in large doses: “Every employee should check with his or her supervisor that his or her report was properly filed.” Additionally, many individuals neither identify as male nor female and use they as a singular pronoun to refer to themselves. However, taking a moment to think about how they work and what they do will help you become  more concise and clear. A simple rule for bias-free writing is to consider whether personal details need to be included to get the point across. One of the biggest benefits of using a varied word choice is that it To process your refund, the store needs several pieces of documentation. Business writing is known for being direct and to the point in most situations, so you should favor active rather than passive verb constructions. Slang and idiomatic expressions make your writing sound informal and less credible. To understand this concept, think about learning to change a tire. Context affects how people interpret the message. This keeps the modern day messenger (or email sender) from being shot (or fired) all while maintaining good business relationships. You may have noticed something unique about the previous passive voice example: the passive voice can be used to “hide” who performed the action. The above sentence is much clearer. Maintaining parallelism can also keep you from unintentional bias. ], Whiskers ate her tuna. It’s likely the shopper only needs to know what to buy, not why to buy it. Other plumbers will understand those terms in the context of plumbing, but to non-plumbers, those terms may have different meanings or be entirely nonsensical. When speaking about a racial or ethnic group, deciding which term to use can be a tricky subject because the ascribed meaning to particular terms and labels can frequently change. It is a manner in which something is expressed in words. Penis. You should receive the order on August 8. Word selection and phrasing leads to successfully transferring meaning from the sender to the receiver. Abdul has some of the highest call center ratings. In business writing (and all writing), you should avoid using doublespeak. She was dead after all that overtime last weekend. The audience (your reader, if the message is written) is the receiver of the business communication. The French novelist Gustav Flaubert once remarked, “All talent for writing consists, after all, of nothing more than choosing words. Let’s rewind and imagine Lynnette wrote her initial draft focusing on getting the customer’s primary need instead: “I have found your product at the Texas depot, and I have scheduled delivery for March 30.” Lynette is satisfied with this draft: it is direct and delivers the needed information. How else would the reader see this? The choice of words is the style of expression. The next hurdle is to figure out a way to eliminate any inherent sexism without disrupting the flow of the piece. You cannot afford to neglect these factors as important to communication. The sender needs to find the best balance. The correct amount of emphasis in business communications can help readers easily access the intended message. For example, the act of terminating employment for many people at once may be referred to in doublespeak as downsizing or right-sizing, or a government dropping bombs might say it is servicing the target. If the message was distressing or described a severe misfortune, the receivers might blame the messenger for such bad news and take their anger out on the unfortunate messenger. Why is the passive voice so hated? When you’re writing, it’s important to consider your audience’s understanding compared to your own. Always keep your audience in mind. A word choice is an important part of any communication. Lists add white space to a document, which helps the reader. Thanks for your help. Unfortunately, this tends to obscure your ideas and potentially damage your credibility. Complex sentences consist of at least one dependent clause followed by at least one independent clause: While Amanita looked for the ball, Fido chased a grasshopper. Do we have enough manpower to finish this project? Many individuals, on the other hand, have learned from watching or participating in the process—gaining hands-on experience. "Grammar & Usage: Singular 'they'. Think of written communication as a process with multiple players; often, at the most basic level, there exists a writer, a message to be conveyed, and an audience of one or more readers. Customers who are “native speakers” of slang (i.e., people who are a part of the demographic you may be targeting by using slang) can very easily spot a marketing professional who doesn’t understand the correct usage of a slang term. In this situation, the solution may be to completely omit the pronoun: “Someone will call you to further discuss the issue. Those two items are identical, except for the price tag we added. However, if you are speaking to a broader group with no specialized knowledge, using jargon will only alienate or confuse your audience. Consider the following refusal of a request for a raise: In this case, the goal of using the passive voice to soften the negativity of the message has made the message sound more considerate. It had a broken wheel and bent frame. We do it everyday; be it with our help at home, babysitters, neighbors, dog walkers, colleagues, children, friends, family, partners, and store owners – we are constantly in a state of communication. However, nothing in this email so far has answered the customer’s primary need. All employees should file their reports by the end of the day. Avoid doing so unless you consult the corporation’s lawyer. If you are trying to avoid throwing someone under the bus, one strategy is to de-emphasize the actor or subject in the sentence. The passive is created using the verb to be (e.g., the song is sung; it was struck from behind). Which is easier? They can also make it harder for non-native English speakers to understand you. As you write, keep your eye out for these common language challenges: Clichés that we use in everyday conversation (green with envy, face the music, add insult to injury, etc.) PJ-Friendly Writing Groups for Undergrads, About the Writing and Communication Centre. To understand this concept, think about learning to change a tire. This model focuses on the choices a writer or sender of a message can make to best convey their message to the receiver. The organization, word choice, and tone of your message allows the communication to be received and understood while maintaining a positive business relationship. In this module, this concept is called you-view. Active and Passive Voice; Parallel Structure. Any author knows that his first draft of a piece won’t be good. Please be sure to add that. As a general rule in a business setting, do not mention a person’s race or ethnicity unless it is directly relevant to the situation. Why use a whole phrase when a single word is right to the point? Which is more professional in its look and feel? However, what is considered appropriate emphasis can differ drastically in this age of texting and social media. Why is it more important to monitor your word choice in a professional environment than in personal communication exchanges For someone nearing retirement, she caught on to that new software quickly. Selecting precise words will help you increase the impact you create on your audience. Visit our COVID-19 information website to learn how Warriors protect Warriors. This research suggests that between 20 and 25 words is the maximum for solid comprehension. Put the receiver first. Much like anything else, there is a time and a place, however. [3], There are occasions, however, where you can’t simply make the sentence plural. There’s a whole different response when the sentence tells the important news first. ), Juana looked for her phone under the table, on top of the bookcase, and inside the cupboard. It’s precision that gives writing power.” This observation applies to all kinds of writing. If you have the receipt, we’ll need that. Here are the top 5 reasons why vocabulary is so important: 1 It Improves Reading Comprehension. Why is it more important to monitor your word choice in a professional environment than in personal communication exchanges?Write one well-written paragraph. She caught on to that new software quickly. Recently, a friend introduced me to Visual Thesaurus, a wonderful subscription tool developed by Thinkmap, Inc., which I now find indispensable. Allied Sales shipped the late order at its own expense with overnight delivery to make up for the missed shipment. It is important that you understand the words that you choose. Seen another way, it’s context. Many students express the desire to “sound intelligent.” This is often mistaken to mean that we should use our thesaurus as much as possible and replace word choices with more complex, higher-level words at all times. Narrowness. There will be layoffs in that department. Maybe it’s parenting or one that revolves around your sport or hobby. A person, in general, chooses words to which he feels comfortable, confident, and simple enough for a general audience to understand. That is why the language and the words we use are important. Do you adore the complex sentence type a little too strongly? “Fido chased a grasshopper” can stand alone, so it is an independent clause.]. Obviously, communication is strengthened by distinct enunciation and by attention to pronunciation. Finally, become aware of your own bad habits. The Importance Of Tone How we often communicate the opposite of what we intend ... Ironically, I'd been wondering why my wife and I seemed not to be enjoying one another's company as … Word choice is an essential element for any student learning to write effectively. However, the email does not take the you-view. It will come across as a vanilla idea. This could be a good way to focus on ways to improve company strategy, rather than focusing on a single person’s performance (and avoid calling out a single employee in a potentially public setting). The company may not be all that sorry if the customer did not allow sufficient time. While humans write the communications, the situation remains one company communicating to another or to a customer. For more useful information on how sentences work, and to get some practice in before you start your own writing, check out this reading on Sentence Structure. The easiest way to immediately start communicating in a more assertive fashion is to use the word “I”. For example, if you talk about Jane Goodall and Henry Harlow, you should say “Goodall and Harlow,” not “Jane and Harlow” or “Goodall and Henry.” This is something that would carry on through your entire paper. Be clear, specific, and many online dictionaries are created equal, and many online are. Using clear, descriptive words that engage readers many times creates an accurate picture of the day or your... Sexism without disrupting the flow of the contex communication skills for Managers, http: //sites.utexas.edu/legalwriting/2015/04/29/manage-your-sentence-length-2/, https:.! The contractor receives is equal to the time and a verb is it! Talent for writing consists, after all, it ’ s understanding compared to your advantage identification of previously radioactive! A strong bias towards male individuals be to hide meaning but to communicate clearly often not the best creates... Like elbow, ABS, sweating the pipes, reducer, flapper,,. 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