Saturday, September 16, 2017

20 Words to Avoid in Business Writing

When writing/reading business English in Malaysia, we often come across words and phrases that actually don't give an impact in the whole text. Sometimes they seem like it's directly translated from Malay to English, etc. Often, sentences are needlessly long and flowery. 

According to David Hirst (2010), these are a few of the key words and phrases that we really should throw away in the linguistic dustbin: 


1) Herewith
2) Hereinafter 
3) Hitherto 
4) Hereby 
5) Pursuant to 
6) Appended below 
7) Pertaining to 
8) Latest by 
9) Duly 
10) Teleconversation 
11) Refer to the above/the above refers 
12) 'Goodself'/'goodname' 
13) Favourable reply 
14) Abovementioned/Aforementioned 
15) As per 
16) Soonest possible 
17) Kindly/Kindly review/for your Kind attention 
18) Revert 
19) Undersigned 
20) Our/Your Madam (Chan)


Really, do we need all that?


Here are some examples:
1) Please submit the form latest by 25th August 2017
    Better alternative: Please submit the form by 25th August 2017

    Malay: Sila hantar borang selewat-lewatnya sebelum 25 Ogos 2017
    Even that is already wrong. It should be 'Sila hantar borang selewat-lewatnya 25 Ogos 2017.

2) The details of the program as per below
     Better alternative: The details of the program are as shown below

3) I await your favorable reply.
     Better alternative: I await your reply.

    Stating favorable in the sentence is almost like forcing the person to reply favorably to you.

Based on my time as a Communications undergraduate, then an English teacher, I often discover that people who need to read our written work want an easier time digesting what they've read. 

As a Communications undergraduate, I took Business Communications as one of my core subjects. In fact, I still own the book we used in class. If you're in the corporate sector, I'd highly recommend books that would help in writing reports, minutes, letters, even e-mails to communicate with clients better.



Reference:David Hirst (2010), Business Writing-The Evolution of Writing with Style & Impact. KUALA LUMPUR : Advantage Quest.

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