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Dos and Donts For Business Writing

Updated on December 11, 2016

One of the main qualities for a professional personal assistant or secretary is to have excellent command of the English language, written and spoken. PAs or Secretaries have to reply to emails. They may have to compose letters or memoranda and also type letters via audio which can have grammatical errors. Therefore your written documents should be perfectly presented with flawless English as they are read by clients, potential clients, managers, colleagues and people from other companies.

Throughout their careers PAs or Secretaries constantly add words to their knowledge base and should maintain a glossary of new commonly used words. For example, if she is a new member of staff, the words, terms (whether abbreviated or not) can be foreign to her; therefore she will need to learn quickly and the most effective way is to have a glossary. Also she may have difficulty with certain words such as, is there one “m” or two in accommodation. Although we know the meaning of these words, it does not mean we know how to spell them.

Another point is to know the difference between "can" and "may." These words can change the meaning of the action as “I can write faultlessly” infers that I have the skill to write faultlessly. If I state “I may write faultlessly” then the meaning changes and means that maybe I will write correctly. This is a subtle difference that can endorse the message in your emails and letters to the reader.

At present interjections are very popular as many people make full use of them in their texts and Facebook. These include "LOL", "IMHO", "OMG" and so much more. These are not acceptable in the business world and should only be used in suitable situations such as writing to a friend. The text language is another forbidden method; for example, using “2” instead of “too.” PAs, secretaries or any other member of staff should never use interjections in any correspondence where they are writing on behalf of the company.

Also, you need to be aware when to use or not use the Upper Case. As a rule, people's names, job titles, street or road should have initial upper case, while common and collective nouns can be in lower case.

All the above mentioned rules and tips do not cover all common mistakes. However, it is highly recommended that we are aware of our shortcomings and set about learning the correct way in order to work efficiently and effectively.


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