They’re, Their, or There?

December 12th, 2013

Every employee represents your company… What if their business writing is reflecting negatively on your company?

Today’s post is by Shelly Hayre; Customer Service Representative at SafeSourcing.

Many companies admit to poor grammar and writing impacting their business decisions. These common mistakes can be the cause of an unsuccessful outcome.

Remember these common mistakes to assist your business writing:

Jan 6th or Jan 6– When writing month-day dates use cardinal numbers (6), not ordinal ones (6th). Although we pronounce this “sixth” it is written ‘6’. The ordinal number is in the following context: We will meet on the 6th, the meeting is on the 6th, or Fourth of July.

It’s and Its– The best way to avoid this mistake is to remember that contractions always have apostrophes. It’s is a contraction of it is or it has; therefore, it has an apostrophe. Its is a possessive pronoun. Try reading without the apostrophe (It is a boy!).

They’re, Their, or There– This is a no brainer, but it can be easily swapped and spellcheck will sometimes miss it. They’re= They are. There is a possessive pronoun and should only be used when showing possession (their house). There is used with direction (place your card there).

Active voice– Whenever possible always use the active voice in business writing, avoid passive voice. It will make your writing clearer and concise. Your reader will understand the message with avoiding any miscommunication.

Tone– Tone is dependent on the audience. Knowing your audience well is key. Look at other communications that have gone out to them and try to adapt a similar tone. Be especially careful with tone over email. It is tempting to joke but the medium conveys tone very poorly and even innocent jokes can easily be misunderstood.

We, at SafeSourcing, value business writing etiquette and understand the importance. We will work diligently while keeping a professional representation of your company. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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