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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't Anesthetize Your Colleagues with Bad Writing | Bryan A. Garner, Harvard Business Review

When you write e-mails, reports, letters, and other documents, here's how to keep your readers alert and responsive ....
And so widely respected writing authority Bryan A. Garner begins a blog series with advice drawn from his excellent new book, the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

He writes: 
The most engaging communicators avoid trite expressions, whether in conversation or in writing. They use strong, simple words.
Garner's blog post continues, providing clear, concise advice under these subheads:
  • Use personal pronouns skillfully.
  • Use contractions.
  • Avoid passive voice.
  • Vary the length and structure of your sentences.
  • Avoid alphabet soup.
The advice in Garner's book is valuable for all types of writing, for nonprofits and public agencies as well, from websites and news releases to PowerPoint presentations and marketing brochures.

On my desk for easy reference is another valuable book, Garner's Modern American Usage. It's the contemporary equivalent of the classic writing guides by Follett and Fowler. 

Garner's article is featured today, Jan. 30, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices, available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

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