Better Business English: 16 Confusing Words and Phrases Clarified


Brass Tack Thinking - Better Business
Ah, English.

That pesky language that trips us all up from time to time. The emergence of short form communication like texts and tweets isn’t helping our cause here. Neither is a decline in reading and reading comprehension.

Truly, how you speak and write leaves an impression, even if you’re only using 140 characters. No matter how much language evolves (and I agree that it does), some mistakes just make you sound sloppy at best and ignorant at worst.

Call me a word nerd or a grammar snob if you must, but I maintain that business communication is vital and doing it well is still important. That includes communication in email and on the web. And while all of the following examples are applicable to any kind of writing or speech, I’m especially keen to improve what I see and hear on the business front day in and day out.

So here are 16 words and phrases that seem to get misused and abused a great deal.

Have more? Add them in the comments.

Hear, Hear.

The phrase isn’t “here, here”.

“Hear, hear” originated in the British House of Commons and is a short form of the cheer for “hear him, hear him”. They don’t do applause much in Parliament, so this phrase is a substitute for that.

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