Gaps in Grammar Skills
You and your employees don’t have to diagram sentences to brush up on essential grammar skills. But you should recognize how much grammar counts in business writing.
When speaking, you pause for effect or indicate details with gestures or other aids. Writing presents an entirely different communication arena – one that relies heavily on grammar. Every business writer might not need to know the entire range of grammar skills, although having them is a plus. It’s more important to understand basic rules that count the most, and most often are broken.
For example, finding agreement between subject and verb is essential. Take a look at the sentence you just read. Once you identify the subject (agreement) and the verb (is), you’re on your way to grasping agreement. Too often, writers look at other nouns in a phrase and assume those nouns represent the subject of the sentence. When that happens, they might write: “For example, finding agreement between subject and verb are essential.” It’s a common mistake.
Identifying subjects to ensure agreement doesn’t come easily for some writers. Other essential elements of grammar also can trip up business writers. Mixing pronouns can confuse readers or make writing appear to favor one sex over the other. You might hear jokes about dangling participles, but imagine how silly your company could look if you write, “Walking by our store, the displays highlighted our new line of casual wear.” Unless your display consisted only of shoes, it’s difficult to imagine walking displays. (It’s better like this: “As you walk by our store, you’re sure to notice our new line of casual wear.”)
Writers often need some extra help to grasp grammar concepts and rules. Once they learn the essentials, they can practice and improve. Our online Grammar That Counts! course teaches those essential grammar concepts. What’s more, we help make them stick with tools such as tip cards.
Contact us TODAY, (425.398.4299 or Julie@DrJulieMiller.com) to find out more about how our online courses, writing coaching, workshops and webinars can improve you or your business with their written communication.