I love writing, and I love all of the “rules” the come together with it. And also while I obtain that copyediting mine tweets and Facebook write-ups before i share them v the civilization is a little much for most people, I execute think there are a few writing rules we need to all follow—especially in ~ work.

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But countless of united state (myself included) break them daily, often without even realizing it. And also while perfect prose may not it is in of the utmost prestige in every office or industry, there’s most likely someone—a colleague, a client, or your boss—who is noticing your writing and, even worse, make a referee of her professionalism based upon it.

So, before you draft an additional email, take note of the most common workplace composing mistakes, and follow this overview to prevent them.

1. Writing also Casually

Example: Thx because that ur feedback, Joe! will f/u tomorrow.

I’m lucky sufficient to occupational in a quite casual environment—one whereby we have the right to (and do) wear flip-flops to work and also mass-email ridiculously Photoshopped snapshots the one another’s faces.

But the casualness isn’t the norm because that every office, which way that it’s ideal to be much more formal than frivolous in your professional writing. While that obviously method bypassing abbreviations and also slang, it also means writing in finish sentences, utilizing correct spelling, and also avoiding nicknames. There might come a time when you’re comfortable enough to speak more casually through the recipient of her message, however in business, it’s always far better to pat it safe (and professional) 보다 sorry.

2. Utilizing Passive Voice rather of Active

Example: The attached document was obtained by the team.

Let’s obtain this the end of the method first: Passive voice—that is, when the recipient of an activity is the subject of the sentence (in this case, the document)—is no grammatically incorrect. But sentences that are phrased passively frequently seem aer or unnecessarily vague. Energetic voice—when the one taking action is the topic of the sentence—is typically an ext direct and clear. It likewise sounds much more authoritative, and can be a far better way to show ownership or obligation for what you’ve done. (“I saved the customer $5,000” shows off your achievement much much better than “$5,000 was saved.”)

3. Over-Using Exclamation Points

Example: Hi Bob! hope you had a an excellent weekend! I desire to monitor up ~ above the Q1 report, and was hope you might be able to send me the latest draft—no sirloin though! :-)

I certainly get the factors why civilization get exclamation-happy in expert writing. It have the right to be easy to misconstrue the tone or feel behind an email if not for an extremely obvious display screens of temperament, and also people frequently pepper their writing with exclamation clues in an effort to display that they’re gift friendly. However the reality is, it’s simply not professional—and worse, it have the right to come throughout as juvenile. (Same goes because that emoticons—a smiley confront will never get your point throughout in an intelligent-sounding way.)

Remember the exclamation points room meant to show emphasis, and they often tend to lose their meaning when overused. Use them sparingly, and, when in doubt, no at all.

4. Creating Vague topic Lines

Example: Subject: Tuesday; Body: I require the Q1 report ceded by next Tuesday.

The subject of your email must be a quick summary of those in the body. This is a very an easy concept that, surprisingly, has still no been grasped through a big majority the the working world. But, when many of us obtain upwards of 200 emails a day and often should scan v a jam-packed inbox because that the topics we’re feather for, it deserve to be specifically infuriating service writing failure to leaving your topic lines vague.

With all skilled communication, your goal is to administer clarity as quickly as possible—and in email, that starts v your subject line. In the instance above, “Q1 Report: Due next Tuesday” would be much clearer than simply, “Tuesday.”

5. Gaining Jargon-Happy

Example: Can you pull the FS numbers and also check that they parallel our STH count?

While you might think that using industry or firm buzzwords renders you sound professional and also in-the-know, the defeats your purpose if no one can understand what she saying. Remember, also if you think your straight recipient will know what you’re talking about, your message could be passed along to others, both within and also outside of her organization.

The finest email or notification is one that provides your point (or her request or your reply) easily apparent, and also jargon unnecessarily obscures the purpose.

Yes, we all break this rules indigenous time to time (hey, i’ve sent countless a smiley challenge via interoffice email in mine day). And also in a quick email in a casual office come a near co-worker, every now and then? Fine. But, in general, your best bet is come play it safe, stay professional, and also review your work-related to keep these common blunders out of your written communications.

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Want to continue to improve your writing? Here’s just how you can become a much better writer in 10 minutes.


Jenna Arak is a soulful storyteller. She shows women just how to use the composed word to share your story: come teach, come connect, to have an influence on the world who have to read around who lock are, what they’ve done, and also what castle do—because through analysis one another’s stories, all of our resides will be readjusted for the better. Jenna’s mission is to encourage females to follow your dreams, construct upon their strengths, and bring new, interesting, and also innovative concepts into the world through storytelling. She is likewise a copywriter, one editor, and also a denizen of any kind of bookstore’s self-help section. Her writing has been featured top top Salon, believed Catalog, The Everygirl, The Muse, Darling Magazine, career Contessa, and also more. She lives and writes in Pasadena. You can learn an ext about she work and her writing at jennaarak.com.