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Six Common Errors In Business Writing

Six Common Errors in Business Writing

Six Common Errors in Business Writing

When writing for business, it is vital to be aware of the incorrect use of words and know the how to correct them. Here are six common errors that are made:

1. Assure vs Insure vs Ensure

All of these words are concerned with "surety," which is why some people mixed them up.

  • Assure means; to dispel any doubts.
  • Insure means; to arrange protection to compensate in the event of damage or loss.
  • Ensure means; to make certain.

However, these words have distinct meanings and are not interchangeable.

2. Less vs Fewer

Use the word 'fewer' whenever the things you are talking about are discrete items that are indivisible. This includes people.

"Fewer people than last year, voted in this election" is correct.

You should never write or say, "less people...."

Use 'less' whenever the things you are talking about are NOT discrete items and are divisible. "We had less rainfall this year, when compared to last year."

3. Semicolons

Semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses that, though they could stand on their own, are closely related.

For example, you could use a semicolon in the sentence: "Call me tomorrow; I'll have an answer for you by then."

Notice that each clause could be its own sentence - but stylistically, it makes more sense for them to be joined.

If there's a coordinating conjunction between the two clauses - like "and," "but", or "or" - use a comma instead.

4. Compliment vs Complement

Compliment means a polite expression of praise.

Complement means something that contributes an improvement or emphasises its quality.

Note the following example: "May I compliment you on the meal you prepared for us. And I must say, the wine you chose was the most perfect complement".

5. Father vs Farther vs Further

Father means a male parent.

Between farther and further there is a subtle difference, especially for American writers.

  • 'Farther' tends to refer to physical distances,
  • 'Further' tends to refer to nonphysical distances.

So, while Paris is 'farther' away than London, a sales team may fall 'further' from its sales targets.

Further is also an adjective, or as an adverb to mean 'additionally'.

For example, "I have no further questions."

6. Between vs Among

'Between' refers to two or more things that are clearly separated.

"The race is between Tom and Jerry."

'Among' refers to things that aren't clearly separated; they form part of a group or mass of objects.

"The sweets were divided among the three friends."

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