Free style guide on writing for business - Business Works
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Free style guide on writing for business

Neil Taylor of The Writer Ever wondered where to put a colon or semicolon in the writing you do for work? What an Oxford comma is and when you should use one? Is each bullet point supposed to have a full stop after it? If these are the kind of things keeping you up at night (or even if they aren't), The Writer, the world's largest business language consultancy, are sharing their house style guide specifically for people writing at work.

Lots of style guides already exist and, despite being a tad dull, they set important quality standards for business communication. But until now, if a company didn't have their own (and only the big ones really do), people had to rely on those written by The Economist or the Guardian. These are great but, beyond the basic grammar and punctuation rules, the advice in them is aimed at journalists.

Neil Taylor, creative director at The Writer, says: "Business writing has changed: e-mail and web writing have started to make the language of business more direct and less stuffy, which is a relief. But accuracy and good punctuation is still important to people, and so it should be, because often it makes your writing easier to read. So we wanted to help people get the balance right."

"We get calls every day from our clients double-checking a spurious apostrophe here or a pesky hyphen there. So we thought it was time to share what we use (and argue about) ourselves. And there are times when you do need something designed for business writers and not for journos."

Other mysteries solved by The Writer's style guide include:

  • when to write per cent or %
  • how to write in American English for clients, if you really must
  • which person at The Writer hates ellipses and how to use them anyway.

And in the spirit of doing more for businesses who take writing seriously, The Writer are also piloting three new training courses to be launched this spring (including one all about grammar):

  • The Writer's secrets
  • Grammar for normal people
  • The web writer's secrets.

To see the Guide for yourself, please see: The Writer Style Guide or e-mail Paul Travers.

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