5 Grammar Hacks for Effective Business Writing
Updated: Feb 26, 2022
Good writing skills are necessary to achieving your personal and professional goals. Inefficiency in English grammar affects your success in speaking, reading and writing more than you might realize. According to Grammarly.com, people who use correct grammar are viewed more favorably, especially for jobs or promotions.
Since good writing is a requirement in today's competitive job market, mastering the written word gives you an edge over other qualified candidates. Learning to correct the following common grammatical errors will boost confidence in your ability to write effectively in the workplace.
Hack #1: Sentence Fragments
A sentence fragment does not express a complete thought. Although a fragment might contain a noun and a verb, the sentence is still incomplete. The missing elements make the sentence sound unfinished or strange.
Example of Sentence Fragments:
Communicated the latest sales figures.
Britt communicated the latest sales figures.
Hack #2: Run-ons
A run-on consists of two or more complete sentences joined together with no punctuation separating them. Run-on sentences are also called fused sentences.
Example of Run-ons:
The company cut staff hours many workers quit on the spot.
The company cut staff hours, so many workers quit on the spot.
Bonus Hack: (Comma Splices)
On the other hand, a comma splice occurs when two complete sentences are separated by a comma instead of a period or a semicolon. In addition to being a grammar error, comma splices also create punctuation (mechanics) errors, since the wrong type of punctuation is used to combine sentences. Comma splices are also called comma faults and are corrected in the same way as run-ons.
Example of Comma Splices:
Rhemona recently opened a photography studio, she also works as a dental hygienist.
Rhemona recently opened a photography studio, and she also works as a dental hygienist.
Hack #3: Subject-Verb Agreement
Maintaining subject-verb agreement in sentences means that the number of the subject matches the number of the verb. Basically, a singular subject agrees with a singular verb. The same is true for plural subjects and plural verbs.
Example of Subject-Verb Agreement:
Poor spelling and grammar interferes with effective communication.
Poor spelling and grammar interfere with effective communication.
Hack #4: Shifts in Verb Tense
Shifts in tense occur when one of the verbs in a sentence is out of format with the rest. For example, a shift occurs when a sentence begins with a past tense verb and ends with a present tense verb. Basically, the verbs in the sentence differ in tense or time sequence. If more than one verb appears in a sentence, the first verb is used to determine the tense for all other verbs.
Example of Shifts in Verb Tense:
Rosita keeps the best items for her own collection and sold the rest.
Rosita keeps the best items for her own collection and sells the rest.
Hack #5: Active-Passive Voice
In active voice constructions, the subject of the sentence directly performs the action and uses the simple or root form of the verb.
Example of Active Voice:
Claire’s team cut the budget twenty-five percent.
In passive voice, the subject follows the verb and appears to receive the action of the verb instead of performing the action of the verb.
Additionally, a form of the verb “to be” precedes the main verb. Remember, Claire’s team is the subject of the sentence that performs the action of cutting the budget.
Example of Passive Voice:
The budget was cut twenty-five percent by Claire’s team.
If you want to earnestly improve your grammar and writing skills, enroll in the online class “Core Grammar Essentials” for detailed explanations and practical exercises to reinforce your learning. Remember, good communication begins with good grammar!
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Ashan R. Hampton is a long-time English instructor turned entrepreneur. She is also a proud graduate of the Donaghey Scholars Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock under the direction of Dr. C. Earl Ramsey, Emeritus. Through her company, Onyx Online Education & Training, she offers online writing courses and print books for academic and professional development to individuals and corporations. She is also a prolific published author of several books on a variety of topics. To find out more about Ashan's work, visit www.arhampton.com.
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