You need fast. You need easy. With your busy schedule, slowing down to learn the ins and outs of grammar minutiae isn’t just unappealing, it’s inconceivable. The five minutes it will take you to read this will save you exponentially more time in the future. These quick and simple grammar tips for business writing are based on some of the most common errors we correct:
- Subject-Verb Agreement
For the most part, this is obvious. You don’t write: I are the CEO. The return on investment am bad.
But there’s the less obvious: Nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning usually take singular verbs. Nouns that name a group of people or things take singular verbs.
For example: News travels fast; bad news travels faster. Economics is a fascinating subject, said no one, ever. The company is supplying ergonomic chairs made entirely of pillows. A flock of seagulls does all of our accounting.
- Capitalization in Heads
If you’re unsure when/what to capitalize in titles and headings, here’s a summary. Capitalize everything but:
- Articles (a, an, the)
- Conjunctions (connecting words like for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
- Prepositions (words that often show direction, time, and location, such as of, with, to, on, before, into, over, about).
If an article, conjunction, or preposition begins or ends a title, capitalize it.
Some style guides, like AP, call for capitalizing conjunctions and prepositions of four or more letters, phrasal verbs (e.g., Turn Off, Look For) and verbs in an infinitive (e.g., To Be, To Analyze).