Susan B. Kline ~ Business Communications

As you consider your goals for 2017, set an intention for professional messages that are clear, concise and correct.

You may have a unique product and great service, and you’re likely passionate about what you do. To be taken seriously in today’s market, however, you also need to deliver a consistent, direct and focused message to your target audience.  With Susan's support you can get an objective analysis of your written and oral communications and identify the most cost-effective approach for your organization's professional development efforts. Contact Susan.

Improving Your Writing Style: Read Widely PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan Kline   

As far as English grammar and usage go, we learn a lot from spotting and correcting other people’s errors. But we learn just as much from well-written prose when we relish the reading experience and ask ourselves, “Why was that such a pleasure?” A recent article about outer space in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine (12.11.16 by Chris Jones) was that kind of experience, illustrated in the passage below.

“The vastness of space almost defies conventional measures of distance. Driving the speed limit to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star grouping to the sun, would take 50 million years or so; our fastest current spacecraft would make the trip in a relatively brisk 73,000 years. The next-nearest star is six light-years away. To rocket across our galaxy would take about 23,000 times as long as a trip to Alpha Centauri, or 1.7 billion years, and the Milky Way is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 08:38
Questions and Tips from the Hotline PDF Print E-mail
Written by David - a writer on deadline   

Most of us, even very competent writers, makes occasional errors in English usage. How nice that we avoid common mistakes by following a few rules! Here are a few blunders I’ve noted recently that can be easily corrected:

Punctuation: When two words are used as one adjective before a noun, hyphenation is usually correct (part-time employee, bank-affiliated business, Dallas-based company). Omit the hyphen when the first word ends in the letters -ly (highly rated program, nicely balanced sculpture, happily married couple).

Spelling of like-sounding words: One oft-confused pair is lead (heavy as lead) and led (past tense of the verb to lead). Yes, the past tense of to lead is spelled l-e-d (He led the project. She led a hiking group to the summit.)

Extra syllables: A recent news article referred to the President’s act of “commutating” many prison sentences. Wrong. He commuted those inmates’ sentences – even though it’s correct to say the inmates were granted “commutations.” Likewise, one becomes oriented, not “orientated,” and one takes preventive measures, not “preventative” measures. English usage almost always guides us to cut extra syllables.

For prompt answers to all your questions about grammar and English usage, visit the Grammar Hotline.



Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2016 15:45

Publication and Reprint Information

Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Susan B. Kline. Copyright © Susan B. Kline 2011. All Rights Reserved. I invite you to reprint material from this website for educational purposes, provided this copyright notice ("Written and edited by Susan B. Kline, © Susan B. Kline [year]. All Rights Reserved.") and a link to sbkline.com is included in the credits.


Grammar Hotline

No more need to wonder about that grammar question!
Contact Sue Kline




" I thought the class was wonderful and it built on some skills I already had and strengthened many that I lacked. I wish there was a higher rating than "strongly agree" and "very satisfied." Susan gets top marks from me!"

Eschew Ambiguity

Whatever else business writing is, it must, first and foremost, be clear. That means that every reader understands a message in the same way. Yet our word choices—and the way we put words together in a sentence—often lead to different interpretations. It’s difficult indeed to totally eliminate ambiguity, but you can reduce confusion significantly by taking these steps.  more

Site best viewed with: