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Handbook of Business Writing

Handbook of Business Writing 10
THE AMA HANDBOOK OF BUSINESS WRITINGThis page intentionally left blank The AMA Handbook of Business Writing The Ultimate Guide to Style, Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Construction, and Formatting KEVIN WILSON and JENNIFER WAUSON AMERICAN MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION New York • Atlanta • Brussels • Chicago • Mexico City • San Francisco Shanghai • Tokyo • Toronto • Washington, D. C.Bulk discounts available. For details visit: Or contact special sales: Phone: 800-250-5308 Email: View all the AMACOM titles at: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data AMA handbook of business writing : the ultimate guide to style, grammar, usage, punctuation, construction, and formatting / Kevin Wilson and Jennifer Wauson. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-1589-4 Isbn-10: 0-8144-1589-x 1. Commercial correspondence--Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Business writing— Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. English language—Business English—Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Wilson, K. (Kevin), 1958– II. Wauson, Jennifer. III. American Management Association. HF5726.A485 1996 808'.06665—dc22 2009050050 © 2010 Kevin Wilson and Jennifer Wauson. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. About AMA American Management Association ( is a world leader in talent development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. Our mission is to support the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including classroom and virtual seminars, webcasts, webinars, podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—learning through doing—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. Printing number 10987654321C O NTE NTS INTRODUCTION ACKNOWLEDGMENTS S ECTION 1 The Writing Process Audience Analysis, 3 Proofreading, 19 Brainstorming, 4 Document Review, 22 Research, 7 Revisions, 23 Interviewing, 9 Documenting Sources, 24 Outlining, 10 Footnotes and Endnotes, 24 Writing a Draft, 12 Bibliographies, 26 Business Writing Style, 12 Global Communications, 26 Using Visuals, 13 Collaborative Writing, 28 Page Design, 15 Promotional Writing, 29 Publication Design, 16 Editing, 17 vvi Contents S ECTION 2 The Business Writer’s Alphabetical Reference A, An, 33 A.D., 53 Abbreviations, 33 Adjectival Noun, 53 Titles Before and After Names, 34 Adjectival Opposites, 53 Names, 35 Adjective Phrase, 54 Mathematical Units and Adjectives, 54 Measurements, 35 Placement of Adjectives in a Long Phrases, 36 Sentence, 54 Words Used with Numbers, 36 Use of Multiple Adjectives, 56 Common Latin Terms, 36 Degrees of Adjectives, 56 States and Territories, 39 Irregular Form Adjectives, 57 Things You Should Not Abbreviate, 39 A-Adjectives, 57 Spacing and Periods for Adjuncts, Disjuncts, and Conjuncts, 58 Abbreviations, 39 Adverbial Clause, 59 Guidelines for Using Abbreviations Adverbial Phrase, 59 in Your Writing, 40 Adverbs, 59 Abbreviations for Measurements, 41 Prepositional Phrases Acting as Abbreviations for Numbers, 42 Adverbs, 62 Above, Below, 43 Infinitive Phrases Acting as Adverbs, 62 Absolute Form of an Adjective, 43 Adverbs in a Numbered List, 62 Absolute Phrase, 43 Adverbs to Avoid, 62 Absolutely, 43 Positioning Adverbs in a Sentence, 62 Abstract Nouns, 44 Order of Adverbs, 64 Accent Marks, 44 Inappropriate Adverb Order, 64 Viewpoint Adverbs, 65 Accept, Except, 45 Focus Adverbs, 65 Access, Excess, 45 Negative Adverbs, 65 Acronyms, 45 Advice, Advise, 65 Action Verbs, 46 Affect, Effect, 66 Active Voice, 52Contents vii Affixes, 66 Antonyms, 78 African-American, 66 Any, Either, 78 Age, 67 Any, Some, 78 Agents, 67 Apart, A Part, 79 Agreement, 68 Apodosis, 79 Aid, Aide, 68 Apostrophe, 79 Alike, 96 Appears, Displays, 81 A Little, 264 Appendix, 81 Allegories, 68 Apposition, 82 Alliteration, 69 Appositives, 82 All Right, Alright, 69 Articles, 83 Allusion, Illusion, 69 As, Like, 261 Alone, Lonely, 70 Assure, Insure, Ensure, 184 A Lot, Alot, Allot, 70 Asterisks, 84 Already, All Ready, 71 As to Whether, 84 Altogether, All Together, 71 As Well As, 85 Ambitransitive Verbs, 71 Autoantonyms, 75 American English, British English, 72 Auxiliary Verbs, 85 Among, Between, 91 Average, Mean, Median, 86 Ampersand, 73 A While, Awhile, 87 A.M., P.M., 74 Awful, Awfully, 87 An, 33 Bad, Badly, 88 Anadiplosis, 74 Back-Channeling, 88 Anaphora, 74 Backslash, Slash, 88 And Also, 75 Back up, Backup, 89 And/Or, 75 Base Form of a Verb, 89 Angry, Mad, 268 Basically, Essentially, Totally, 89 Animate Nouns, 75 B.C., 89 Antagonyms, 75 Because, Since, As, 90 Antecedent, 77 Been, Gone, 90 Anti-, 77 Being That, Being As, 90 Antimetabole, 77 Below, 43viii Contents Beside, Besides, 91 Cannot, 105 Between, Among, 91 Can’t Seem, 105 Bias, Biased, 92 Canvas, Canvass, 105 Biased or Sexist Language, 92 Capital Letters, 106 Bibliography, 94 Capital, Capitol, 106 Billion, 94 Capitalization, 106 Acts of Congress, 106 Biweekly, Bimonthly, Semiweekly, Semimonthly, 95 Associations, 107 Book Titles and Their Subdivisions, 107 Blind, 417 Railroad Cars and Automobile Blog, Weblog, 95 Models, 107 Bold Fonts, 96 Churches and Church Dignitaries, 107 Bored, Boring, 96 Cities, 107 Both, Alike, 96 Clubs, 108 Both, Each, 97 Legal Codes, 108 Brackets, 97 Compass Points Designating a Specific Changes to Quoted Material, 97 Region, 108 Digressions within Parentheses, 97 Constitutions, 108 Corporations, 108 Brake, Break, 97 Courts, 109 Brand Names, 98 Decorations, 109 Breath, Breathe, 98 Degrees (Academic), 109 Bring, Take, 99 Districts, 109 British English, 72 Educational Courses, 109 Bulleted List, 99 Epithets, 110 Bushel, 99 Fleets, 110 Business, Right, 100 Foundations, 110 Buzzwords, 100 Geographic Divisions, 110 Government Divisions, 110 By, Bye, Buy, 100 Historical Terms, 110 By, Until, 102 Holidays, 111 Call Back, Callback, 103 Libraries, 111 Call Out, Callout, 103 Localities, 111 Callouts, 103 Military Services, 111 Came By, 104 Nobility and Royalty, 112 Can, May, 104 Oceans and Continents, 112Contents ix Parks, Peoples, and Tribes, 112 Colon, 124 Personification, 112 Emphasis or Anticipation, 125 Planets and Other Heavenly Bodies, 113 Time, 125 Rivers, 113 Titles, 125 Sports Stadiums, Teams, and Terms, 113 Combination, 125 Captions, 113 Comma, 125 Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers, 114 Compound and Complex Sentences, 126 Case, 114 Introductory Expressions, 127 Cataphora, 115 Other Transitional Words, 127 Causative Verbs, 116 Prepositional Phrases, 128 Caution Notice, 286 Contrasting Phrases, 128 CD, DVD, 116 Nonrestrictive Modifiers, 128 Censor, Censure, Sensor, Censer, 117 Infinitive Phrases, 129 Champaign, Champagne, 117 Designating Dialogue, 129 Check, Control, 117 Repeated Words, 129 Word Omission, 130 Chiasmus, 118 Transposed Adjective Order, 130 Chicano, Latino, Hispanic, 118 Numbers, 130 Choose, Chose, 118 Addresses, 131 Cite, Site, Sight, 119 Titles, 131 Citing Publications, 119 Company Names, 132 Clauses, 120 Common Adjectives, 132 Cleanup, Clean Up, 120 Common Nouns, 132 Cleft Sentences, 120 Company and Product Names, 133 Clichés, 121 Comparatives, 133 Click, 333 Compared to, Compared with, 134 Click and Drag, 279 Complement, Compliment, 134 Click On, 279 Complements, 134 Closed Compounds, 138 Complex Prepositions, 135 Coleman-Liau Index, 123 Compound Nouns, 135 Collective Adjectives, 123 Compound Predicates, 326 Collective Nouns, 123 Compound Sentences, 136 Collocations, 124 Compounding Sentence Elements, 136 Colloquial, 124x Contents Compound Words, 137 Could of, Might of, 272 Open Compounds, 137 Council, Counsel, Consul, 151 Closed Compounds, 138 Count Nouns, 152 Hyphenated Compounds, 138 Credible, Credulous, 152 Comptroller, Controller, 139 Cross-Reference, 152 Concord, 139 Cut-and-Paste, 152 Concrete Nouns, 139 Danger Notice, 286 Conditional Perfect, 139 Dangling Modifiers, 153 Conditionals, 140 Characteristics of Dangling Conjunctions, 141 Modifiers, 153 And, 141 Revising Dangling Modifiers, 154 But, 142 Dangling Participles, 154 Or, 142 Dash, 155 Punctuation for Coordinating Data, 156 Conjunctions, 143 Dates, 156 Other Conjunctions, 144 Deaf or Hard of Hearing, 157 Subordinating Conjunctions, 145 Deal, 158 Correlative Conjunctions, 145 Decimals, 158 Conjunctive Adverbs, 146 Declarative Mood, 159 Conjuncts, 146 Declarative Sentence, 159 Connote, Denote, 146 Defining Relative Clause, 160 Considered to Be, 146 Definite Article, 160 Consonants, 147 Defuse, Diffuse, 160 Continuous Verbs, 147 Degree Adverbs, 161 Contractions, 147 Degree Titles, 161 Contranyms, 75 Deixis, 162 Control, 117 Demonstrative Adjectives, 162 Convince, Persuade, 150 Demonstrative Pronouns, 162 Cooperate, 150 Denominal Adjectives, 163 Coordinated Adjectives, 54 Denote, Connote, 146 Coordinating Conjunctions, 150 Dependent Clauses, 163 Copula Verbs, 150 Descriptive Writing, 164 Copyright, 151 Desert, Dessert, 164 Correlative Conjunction, 145Contents xi Determiners, 164 Each Other, One Another, 178 Device, Devise, 166 Each, Their, 178 Diacritic, 166 Effect, Affect, 66 Different from, Different than, 166 Eggcorn, 178 Diffuse, Defuse, 160 e.g., i.e., 179 Dimensions, 167 Either, Neither, 179 Direct Objects, 167 Elicit, Illicit, 179 Disability, 214 Ellipses, 179 Disc, Disk, 168 Elliptical Clauses, 180 Discreet, Discrete, 168 Email, 180 Disease Names, 168 Embedded Questions, 181 Disjuncts, 169 Em Dash, 155 Display, Monitor, Screen, 169 Emigrate, Immigrate, 181 Disyllabic, 169 Eminent, Imminent, Immanent, 182 Ditransitive Verbs, 169 Emoticons, 182 Ditto Marks, 170 Empathic Forms, 182 Do, Does, Did, 170 Empathy, Sympathy, 183 Dollars and Cents, 171 En Dash, 155 Dollar and Cent Signs, 172 Endnotes, 203 Decimal Points, 173 End Result, 183 Don’t, Doesn’t, 173 Endophora, 183 Do’s and Don’ts, 174 Engine, Motor, 183 Dot-Com, 174 Enough, Not Enough, 184 Double Negatives, 174 Enquire, Inquire, 184 Double Possessives, 175 Ensure, Assure, Insure, 184 Double-Click, 175 Enthuse, Enthusiastic, 184 Download, Upload, 175 Entitled, 399 Downtoners, 175 Envelop, Envelope, 185 Drag-and-Drop, 176 Epanadiplosis, 185 Due to the Fact That, 176 Epanalepsis, 185 DVD, 116 Epistemic Modality, 185 Dynamic Adjectives, 177 Epistrophe, 186 Dynamic Verbs, 177 Epizeuxis, 186xii Contents Equally as Important, 186 Figuratively, 264 Equations, 186 Figure of Speech, 198 Ergative Verbs, 187 Figures, 199 Essentially, 89 Finite Verbs, 200 et al., 188 First Conditional, 200 etc., 188 Fix, Situation, 200 Euphemisms, 189 Flair, Flare, 201 Everyday, 189 Flesch-Kincaid Index, 201 Everyone, Every One, 189 Flier, Flyer, 201 Every Time, 189 Focus Adverb, 201 Except, Unless, 190 Fog Index, 202 Excess, Access, 45 Font, Typeface, 202 Exclamation Point, 190 Foot, Feet, 203 Exclamatory Sentence, 191 Footnotes, Endnotes, 203 Exclusive Adverbs, 191 Forego, Forgo, 203 Existential There, 191 Foreign Words and Phrases, 203 Exit, 344 Forever, For Ever, 204 Exophoric, 192 For, Fore, Four, 204 Expect, 192 Formatting, 204 Expletive Constructions, 193 Formulas, 205 Expository Writing, 193 Forward, Forwards, Foreword, 205 Extranet, 243 Fractions, 206 Extraposition, 194 Fragments, 362 Factitive Verbs, 195 Full Time, Full-time, 206 Faint, 197 Further, 196 Fair, Fare, 195 Fused Sentences, 207 FANBOYS, 196 Future Perfect, 208 Farther, Further, 196 Future Perfect Progressive, 208 Faze, Phase, 196 Future Progressive, 208 Feint, Faint, 197 Gage, Gauge, 209 Female, Woman, 198 Gender, 209 Fewer, Less, 259 Genitive Marker, 209 Few, A Few, 198 Gerund, 210Contents xiii Gigabyte, 210 Hypophora, 229 Gigahertz, 211 Hypothetical Questions, 229 Glossary, 211 Hysteron Proteron, 229 Gone, Went, 212 Idiolect, 230 Good, Well, 212 Idioms, 230 Got, Gotten, 212 i.e., e.g., 179 Grammatical Hierarchy, 213 If, When, Whether, 230 Gray, Grey, 213 Illicit, Elicit, 179 Guess, 213 Illusion, Allusion, 69 Handicap, Disability, 214 Illustrations, 199 Hard Disk, Hard Drive, 214 I, Me, Myself, 231 Headings and Subheadings, 214 Immanent, Eminent, 182 Helping Verbs, 261 Immigrate, Emigrate, 181 Hendiatris, 216 Imperative Mood, 233 Heteronyms, 217 Imply, Infer, 233 Highlighting, 221 Inanimate Nouns, 233 Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, 118 Inaugurate, 234 Hit, 222 Inchoative Verbs, 234 Homographs, 222 Indefinite Articles, 234 Homonyms, 222 Indefinite Pronouns, 234 Homophones, 224 Independent Clauses, 235 Hypallage, 224 Index, 236 Hyperbaton, 224 Indicative Mood, 238 Hyperbole, 224 Indirect Objects, 238 Hyperlinks, 225 Indirect Speech, 239 Hyphens, 225 Inductive Antonomasia, 239 Line Breaks, 225 Infinitives, 239 Substitute Words, 226 Infinitive Phrase, 240 Pronunciation, 226 Inflection, 241 Compound Adjectives, 226 Inherent and Noninherent Hyphenated Compound Words, 227 Adjectives, 241 Hyphenated Numbers, 228 Initialisms, Acronyms, 45 Hyponyms, 229 Innuendo, 242xiv Contents In Order to, 242 Latitude, Longitude, 255 Inquire, Enquire, 184 Lay, Lie, 256 In-Sentence Lists, 262 Lay Out, Layout, 257 Inside of, Within, 242 Lead, Led, 258 Insure, Ensure, Assure, 184 Learn, Teach, 258 Intensive Pronouns, 243 Leave, Let, 259 Interjections, 243 Led, Lead, 258 Internet, Intranet, Extranet, 243 Lend, Loan, 265 Interrogative Pronouns, 244 Lessen, Lesson, 259 Interrogative Sentences, 245 Less, Fewer, 259 Intranet, 243 Let, Leave, 269 Intransitive Verbs, 245 Lets, Let’s, 260 Introductory Modifier, 327 Lexical Density, 260 Invite, 246 Liable, Likely, 260 Irony, 246 Lie, Lay, 256 Irregular Plurals, 246 Lighted, Lit, 261 Irregular Spelling, 246 Like, As, 261 Irregular Verbs, 248 Line, 261 Isocolon, 248 Linking Verbs, 261 Italics, 249 Lists, 262 In-Sentence Lists, 262 Its, It’s, 249 Vertical Lists, 263 Jargon, 250 Numbered Lists, 263 Job Titles, 250 Bulleted Lists, 264 Joint Possessives, 250 Multicolumn Lists, 264 Jr., Sr., 251 Literally, Figuratively, 264 Kenning, 252 Lit, Lighted, 261 Keyboard Terminology, 252 Litotes, 264 Kilobyte, 253 Little, A Little, 264 Kilohertz, 254 Loan, Lend, 265 Kind, Kinds, 254 Log On, Log Off, Logon, Logoff, 265 Kind of, Sort of, 254 Lonely, Alone, 70 Latino, Hispanic, Chicano, 118 Longitude, Latitude, 255 Latin Terms, 36Contents xv Loose, Lose, 266 Monosyllabic, 277 Lost, Lost Out, 266 Mood, 277 Lots, 267 More Than, Over, 278 Mad, Angry, 268 Morpheme, 278 Margin Notes, 268 Most of All, Almost, 278 Mass Nouns, 268 Motor, Engine, 183 Mathematical Equations, 186 Mouse Terminology, 279 Maybe, May Be, 269 Multicolumn Lists, 264 May, Can, 269 Myself, Me, 231 May, Might, 269 Names, 341 Mean, Median, Average, 86 Negative Adverbs, 280 Megabyte, 270 Negative Formations, 280 Megahertz, 270 Negative Pronouns, 282 Meiosis, 271 Neither, Either, 179 Me, Myself, I, 231 Neologism, 283 Metaphor, 271 Never, 283 Metonymy, 272 Nominal Adjectives, 283 Mfr., Mfg., 272 Nominative Absolutes, 284 Might Could, 272 Nominative Case, 114 Might, May, 269 Nominative Possessives, 284 Might of, Should of, Would of, Noncount Nouns, 268 Could of, 272 Nondefining Relative Clause, 285 Minimal Pairs, 272 Nonfinite Verbs, 285 Misplaced Modifiers, 273 Noninherent Adjectives, 241 Mixed Conditionals, 273 Nonrestrictive Clauses, 286 Mixed Metaphor, 271 Notices, 286 Mnemonics, 274 Noun Case, 287 Modifiers, 274 Noun Clause, 288 Initial Modifiers, 275 Noun Phrase, 288 Midsentence Modifiers, 276 Noun Plurals, 290 Terminal Modifiers, 276 Nouns, 290 Combining Modifiers, 276 Nouns of Address, 291 Misplaced Modifiers, 276 Number Abbreviations, 48 Monitor, 169xvi Contents Paragraph Transitions, 304 Numbered List, 292 Parallel Construction, 304 Numbers or Words, 292 Printed Text and Prose Text, 292 Paraphrasing, 304 At the Beginning of a Sentence, 293 Parentheses, 305 Legal Documents, 293 Parenthetical Elements, 306 Round Numbers, 293 Participle, 306 Sets of Numbers, 293 Participial Phrase, 306 Large Numbers, 294 Parts of Speech, 307 Separating Digits, 294 Party, 307 Object, 296 Passed, Past, 307 Object Complement, 134 Passive Voice, 308 Objective Case, 376 Past Perfect Progressive Tense, 309 Off, 297 Past Perfect Tense, 309 Offline, 298 Past Progressive Tense, 309 On Account of, 297 Past Simple Tense, 310 One, 297 People, 310 One Another, Each Other, 178 Per, 310 Online, Offline, 298 Percent, 310 Only, 299 Percentage, 311 Onomatopoeia, 299 Perfect Aspect, 311 Open, 299 Perfect Infinitive, 239 Open Compounds, 137 Perfect Tense, 312 Ordinal Numbers, 299 Period, 312 Over, More Than, 278 Person, 313 Oxford Comma, 300 Personal Pronouns, 313 Oxymoron, 300 Personification, 315 Page Breaks, 301 Persuade, Convince, 150 Page Numbering, 301 Phase, Faze, 196 Page Number Formats, 301 Phatic Speech, 315 Palindromes, 302 Phrasal Verbs, 316 Paragraphs, 302 Phrases, 316 Elements of a Paragraph, 302 Phrases and Words to Omit, 317 Paragraph Development, 303 When to Start a New Paragraph, 304 Pidgin, 318Contents xvii Plagiarism, 318 Present Progressive Tense, 332 Pleonasm, 318 Present Simple Tense, 333 Pluperfect, 309 Press, Type, Click, Strike, Hit, Select, 333 Plurals, 319 Previous, 334 Plurals of Numbers, 321 Principal, Principle, 334 Plus, 321 Problem Pronouns, 334 I: Nominative Case, Never an P.M., 74 Object, 335 Point in Time, 322 She, He: Nominative Case, Never an Polyptoton, 322 Object, 335 Polyseme, 322 They: Nominative Case, Never an Polysyllabic, 322 Object,335 Possessive Adjectives, 322 We: Nominative Case, Never an Object, 336 Possessive Case, 114 Me, Us, Her, Him, Them: Objective Case, Possessive Pronouns, 323 Never a Subject, 336 Possessives, 323 Proceed, Precede, 324 Posted, Informed, 324 Progressive Verbs, 337 Postmodifier, 324 Pronouns, 338 Precede, Proceed, 324 Pronouns and Antecedent Predeterminers, 325 Agreement, 339 Predicates, 325 Proper Adjectives, 341 Preface, 326 Proper Nouns, 341 Prefixes, 326 Protatis, 341 Premodifier, 327 Quantifiers, 342 Prepositional Phrase, 327 Question Mark, 342 Prepositions, 328 Question Types, 343 Time: At, On, In, For, and Since, 328 Quitclaim, 344 Place: At, On, In, 329 Quit, Exit, 344 Location: At, On, In, 329 Quotation Marks, 344 Movement: To, Toward, 330 Quotations within Quotations, 345 Combinations, 330 Quotations for Titles, 345 Present Infinitive, 239 Quotation Marks and Punctuation, 345 Present Participle, 332 Raise, Rise, 347 Present Perfect Tense, 332 Rational, Rationale, 347xviii Contents Real, 347 Sensor, Censor, 117 Reciprocal Pronouns, 348 Sentence, 362 Recur, Reoccur, 348 Sentence Fragments, 362 Redundancy, 348 Sentence Subject, 363 Reflexive Pronouns, 349 Sentence Types, 364 Regard, Regards, 350 Sentence Variety, 365 Regular Verbs, 350 Setup, Set Up, 367 Relative Adverbs, 351 Sexist Language, 407 Relative Clauses, 351 Shall, Will, 367 Relative Pronouns, 352 Shape, 368 Reoccur, 348 Should, Must, 368 Reported Speech, 353 Should of, 272 Restrictive Clauses, 353 Should, Would, 368 Resultative Adjective, 354 Shut Down, Shutdown, 369 Resumptive Modifier, 354 Sic, 369 Rhetorical Question, 354 Sign In, Sign Out, Sign On, Sign Up, 370 Rhyme, 355 Simile, 370 Right, Business, 100 Since, Because, 90 Right-click, 279 Singular, 370 Rise, Raise, 347 Sit, Set, 370 Roman Numerals, 355 Site, Sight, Cite, 119 Root, Rout, Route, 357 Slang, 371 Run, 357 Slash, 371 And/Or Combinations, 371 Run-On Sentences, 207 Indicating Other Relationships, 372 Same, 358 Small Caps, 373 Sarcasm, 358 So, 373 Satire, 358 Software Menus and Commands, 373 Screen, 169 Solidus, 374, 371 Screen Terminology, 359 Some, Any, 78 Second Conditional, 361 Sometime, Some Time, 374 Select, 333 Sort of, Kind of, 254 Semicolon, 361 Spaces After Periods, 374 Semiweekly, Semimonthly, 95Contents xix Split Infinitive, 374 Than I, Than Me, 395 Sr., Jr., 251 Than, Then, 396 Stative Adjective, 375 That, Which, 396 Stative Verb, 338 There, Their, They’re, 397 Subheadings, 214 Third Conditional, 397 Subject, 375 Time, 398 Dates, 398 Subject Complement, 134 Time Zones, 399 Subjective Case, 376 Titled, Entitled, 399 Subjective Pronouns, 376 Titles, 400 Subject-Verb Agreement, 376 Formatting the Title of a Subject-Verb Inversion, 380 Manuscript, 400 Subjunctive, 380 Tmesis, 401 Submittal, Submission, 381 To, At, 401 Subordinate Clause, 381 Tone, 401 Subordinating Conjunctions, 382 Topic Sentence, 402 Suffix, 382 Totally, 89 Summative Modifier, 385 Toward, Towards, 402 Superlative, 385 Transitions, 402 Syllable, 385 Transitional Expressions, 403 Symbols and Special Characters, 386 Repeating Key Words, 404 Sympathy, Empathy, 183 Pronoun Reference, 404 Synecdoche, 387 Parallelism, 405 Synonyms, 387 Transitive Verb, 405 Table of Contents, 388 Try and, Come and, Be Sure and, 405 Tables, 390 Type, Enter, 406 Tag Question, 391 Typeface, Font, 202 Take, Bring, 99 Unbiased Language, 407 Tautology, 391 Sexist Language, 407 Teach, Learn, 258 Uncountable Noun, 408 Telephone Numbers, 392 Underlining, 409 Temperature, 392 Understatement, 409 Tense, 393 Until, By, 102 Terabyte, 395 Upload, Download, 175xx Contents Uppercase, 409 Web Pages, Web Site, 419 URL, 410 Weights and Measures, 419 U.S., 410 Well, Good, 212 Used to, 411 Went, Gone, 212 Utterance, 411 When, Whether, 230 Vain, Vane, Vein, 412 Where, 420 Verbal Phrase, 412 Whether or Not, 420 Verb Complement, 134 Which, 420 Verb Forms, 413 Who’s, Whose, 421 Verb Group, 413 Who, Which, 421 Verbiage, 413 Who, Whom, 421 Verb Mood, 414 Will, Shall, 367 Verbose Expressions, 414 Within, Inside of, 242 Verbs, 415 Woman, Female, 198 Verb Tense, 416 Wonder, Wander, 418 Versus, vs., 416 Word Classes, 422 Vertical Lists, 262 Words or Figures, 292 Visually Impaired, Blind, 417 Wordy Expressions, 414 Voice, 417 Would of, 272 Voice Mail, 417 Would, Should, 368 Vowels, 417 Xmas, Christmas, 423 Wait On, 418 Yes/No Questions, 423 Wander, Wonder, 418 Zero Article, 423 Web, 418 Zero Conditional, 424 Weblog, 95 Zeugma, 424 Zip Code, 424Contents xxi S ECTION 3 Sample Business Documents Abstracts, 427 Job Offer Letter, 505 Acceptance Letter, 429 Meeting Agenda, 507 Acknowledgment Letter, 431 Meeting Minutes, 508 Corporate Minutes, 508 Adjustment Letter, 433 Corporate Resolutions, 509 Announcement Letter, 435 Memorandum, 511 Annual Report, 437 Mission Statements, 512 Application Letter, 444 Newsletters, 513 Brochures, 446 Newsletter Articles, 515 Business Letter, 451 Notices, 517 Business Letter Writing Style, 454 Business Letter Format, 454 Permission Letter, 521 Business Plan, 459 Policies, Rules, or Guidelines, 524 Collection Letter, 468 PowerPoint Presentations, 526 Planning a Presentation, 528 Commendation Letter, 470 Press Releases, 531 Complaint Letter, 472 Procedures, 533 Cover Letters, 474 Progress Reports, 536 Directives, 476 Proposals, 540 Email, 478 Questionnaires and Surveys, 551 Endorsement Letter, 480 Reference Letters, 555 Forms, 483 Fund-Raising Letter, 486 Refusal Letter, 557 Grant Proposals, 488 Reports, 559 Memorandum Report, 559 Instructions, 496 Letter Report, 559 Introductions, 498 Short Report, 559 Inquiry Letter, 500 Formal Report, 560 Job Descriptions, 503 (See page xxiii for a list of sample documents figures.)xxii Contents Request Letters, 571 Summaries, 598 Research Report, 573 Termination of Employment Letter, 602 Resignation Letter, 576 Training Manual, 604 Résumés, 578 Trip Report, 618 Sales Letters, 582 User Guide, 619 Seasonal Correspondence, 586 Warning Letter, 626 Specifications, 588 Web Sites, 628 Speeches and Oral Presentations, 592 White Papers, 631LIST OF BUSINESS DOCUMENTS FIGURES Figure 3.1: Descriptive Abstract, 428 Figure 3.28: Notary Form for an Individual, 484 Figure 3.2: Informative Abstract, 428 Figure 3.29: Notary Form for a Figure 3.3: Acceptance Letter, 430 Corporation, 485 Figure 3.4: Acknowledgment Letter, 432 Figure 3.30: Notary Form for a Figure 3.5: Adjustment Letter, 434 Partnership, 485 Figure 3.6: Announcement Letter, 436 Figure 3.31: Fund-Raising Letter, 487 Figure 3.7: Annual Report Cover Page, 439 Figure 3.32: Grant Proposal , 490 Figure 3.8: Annual Report Table of Figure 3.33: Instructions, 497 Contents, 440 Figure 3.34: Introduction, 499 Figure 3.9: Annual Report Letter from Figure 3.35: Inquiry Letter, 502 the Chairman, 441 Figure 3.36: Job Description, 504 Figure 3.10: Annual Report Organizational Overview, 442 Figure 3.37: Job Offer Letter, 506 Figure 3.11: Annual Report Overview of Figure 3.38: Meeting Agenda, 507 Organization’s Performance, 443 Figure 3.39: Meeting Minutes, 510 Figure 3.12: Application Letter, 445 Figure 3.40: Memo, 512 Figure 3.13: Brochure, 449 Figure 3.41: Mission Statement, 513 Figure 3.14: Brochure, 450 Figure 3.42: Newsletter, 515 Figure 3.15: Parts of a Business Letter, 453 Figure 3.43: Newsletter Article, 516 Figure 3.16: Block Letter, 455 Figure 3.44: Note, 518 Figure 3.17: Modified Bock Letter, 456 Figure 3.45: Tip, 518 Figure 3.18: Modified Semiblock Letter, 457 Figure 3.46: Warning Notice, 519 Figure 3.19: Simplified Letter, 458 Figure 3.47: Caution Notice, 519 Figure 3.20: Business Plan, 461 Figure 3.48: Danger Notice, 520 Figure 3.21: Collection Letter, 469 Figure 3.49: Permission Letter Granting Figure 3.22: Commendation Letter, 471 Permission , 522 Figure 3.23: Complaint Letter, 473 Figure 3.50: Permission Letter Requesting Permission , 523 Figure 3.24: Cover Letter, 475 Figure 3.51: Policy, 525 Exhibit 3.25: Directive, 477 Figure 3.52: Slide with Bulleted Lists, Figure 3.26: Endorsement Letter, 481 a Graphical Background, and Figure 3.27: Contract, 484 Photo, 530 xxiiixxiv List of Business Documents Figure 3.53: Slide with Title, Bulleted Figure 3.79: Summary, 599 Subtitle, and Pie Chart, 530 Figure 3.80: Termination Letter, 603 Figure 3.54: Slide with PowerPoint Figure 3.81: Instructor-Led Training WordArt, 530 Manual, 606 Figure 3.55: Slide with Graphics Rather Exhibit 3.82: Self-Study Training Than Text, 530 Manual, 607 Figure 3.56: Press Release, 532 Figure 3.83: Training Manual Cover, 608 Figure 3.57: Procedures, 535 Figure 3.84: Training Manual Table of Figure 3.58: Progress Report, 537 Contents, 609 Figure 3.59: Proposal for Video Production Figure 3.85: Training Manual Getting-Started Services, 541 Page, 610 Figure 3.60: Survey, 554 Figure 3.86: Training Manual Quiz, 611 Figure 3.61: Reference Letter, 556 Figure 3.87: Training Manual Course Evaluation, 612 Figure 3.62: Refusal Letter, 558 Figure 3.88: Training Manual Course Figure 3.63: Heading Numbering Objectives, 613 Systems, 562 Figure 3.89: Training Manual Lesson Figure 3.64: Report Cover, 566 Contents and Objectives, 614 Figure 3.65: Report Transmittal Letter, 567 Figure 3.90: Training Manual Table Figure 3.66: Report Table of Contents, 568 Reference, 615 Figure 3.67: Report List of Figures, 569 Figure 3.91: Training Manual Figure 3.68: Report Body, 570 Instructions, 616 Figure 3.69: Request Letter, 572 Figure 3.92: Training Manual Group Figure 3.70: Analytical Research Activity, 617 Report, 574 Figure 3.93: Trip Report, 618 Figure 3.71: Resignation Letter, 577 Figure 3.94: Online User Guide, 620 Figure 3.72: Chronological Format Figure 3.95: User Guide Tutorial, 621 Résumé, 580 Figure 3.96: User Guide Cover, 622 Figure 3.73: Skills Format Résumé, 581 Figure 3.97: User Guide Instructions, 623 Figure 3.74: Sales Letter, 584 Figure 3.98: User Guide Reference Figure 3.75: Sales Letter, 585 Information, 624 Figure 3.76: Seasonal Correspondence, 587 Figure 3.99: User Guide Quick Start, 625 Figure 3.77: Specifications, 591 Figure 3.100: Warning Letter, 627 Figure 3.78: Speech by John F. Figure 3.101: Web Site, 630 Kennedy, 594 Figure 3.102: White Paper, 632I N T RODUC T ION The AMA Handbook of Business Writing is a desktop job aid for all corpo- rate communicators. The book is a collection of easy-to-find information on style, grammar, usage, punctuation, language construction, formatting, and business documents. In writing three editions of the Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook, we have done extensive research on language usage. In addition, we are the founders of a corporate communications consulting business with over 25 years’ experience working for many Fortune 500 companies like IBM, AT&T, Sony, Chevron, Hewlett Packard, and Cox Enterprises. In our work, we’ve developed hundreds of business documents including Web sites, brochures, reports, presentations, marketing plans, policy manuals, video programs, software tutorials, and training materials. In The AMA Handbook of Business Writing, we take the best of these corporate business writing guidelines and organize them in a way corporate writers will find useful. We’ve written the book so you can easily find information on a particular topic and quickly get back to your writing project. We have alphabetized most of the book and included cross-references to assist you in finding alter- natively worded entries. The book is organized into three sections: ■ Section 1: The Writing Process ■ Section 2: The Business Writer’s Alphabetical Reference ■ Section 3: Sample Business Documents xxvxxvi Introduction The book also includes a detailed table of contents and index that will assist you in quickly finding what you are seeking. The Sample Business Documents section includes guidelines, tips, and a wide variety of business documents, including annual reports, brochures, business letters, business plans, grant proposals, mission statements, newsletters, policies, press releases, proposals, résumés, surveys, speeches, training manuals, user guides, and white papers. We believe The AMA Handbook of Business Writing is an essential desk ref- erence for the following business writers: ■ Corporate communications writers and managers ■ Marketing writers and managers ■ Human resources administrators and managers ■ Sales representatives and managers ■ Training developers and managers ■ Technical writers ■ Grant writers ■ Public relations writers ■ Administrative assistantsA C K N OWLE D G M E NTS In writing this book, we referenced many sources to confirm guidelines we used throughout our professional careers while working with a variety of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, we used our own book, the Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook, as a source for content on language usage, grammar, and punctuation. We therefore thank James Stroman, who coauthored the Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook. The following is a list of sources we referenced while writing this book to confirm the accuracy of our content: James Stroman, Kevin Wilson, and Jennifer Wauson, The Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook, 3rd ed. (New York: AMACOM Books, 2007). Microsoft Corporation Editorial Style Board, Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, 3rd ed. (Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 2004). David A. McMurrey, Online Technical Writing, 2009. See also David A. McMurrey, Power Tools for Technical Communication (Heinle, 2001). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Center for Writing Studies, 2009. Purdue University. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), 2009., English Glossary of Grammar Terms, 2009. xxviiThis page intentionally left blank S ECTI O N 1 The Writing ProcessThis page intentionally left blank Section 1 The Writing Process 3 AUDIENCE ANALYSIS When planning to write a business document, the most important considera- tion is to understand your audience.You must adapt your writing to the needs and interests of the audience. For most business documents, the audience falls into one of the following categories: ■ Subject matter experts—individuals who know the content completely and who focus on the details ■ Technologists—people who manufacture, operate, and maintain products and services and who have a firm practical knowledge ■ Management—people who make decisions about whether to produce and market products and services but who have little technical knowledge about the details ■ General audience—people who may know about a product or service but who have little technical knowledge about the details Another way to analyze your audience is to consider its characteristics: ■ What are their background, education, and experience? ■ Does your writing have to start with the basics, or can you work at a more advanced level? Example: If you are writing about a Windows-based software product, can you assume the audience already has a basic understanding of Windows, how to use a mouse, and so forth? ■ What will the audience expect and need from your document? ■ How will your document be used? ■ Will users read it cover to cover or just skim the high points? ■ Will they use your document as a reference to look up information when it is needed? ■ What are the demographics of your audience? ■ Consider the age, sex, location, and other characteristics of your audience.4 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing Your writing may have more than one audience or an audience with a wide variety of backgrounds. With an audience of both experts and laypeople, it is best to organize your document into sections with easy-to-understand head- ings so that the individual users can find the areas that interest them. You may need to off-load the more technical information to an appendix. Once you have analyzed your audience, you need to adapt your document to conform to its interests and needs. ■ You may need to add information. ■ You may need to omit information. ■ You may need to add examples to help readers understand. ■ You may need to write to a lower or higher level. ■ You may need to include background information. ■ You may need to strengthen transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections. ■ You may need to write longer introductions and clearer topic sentences. ■ You may need to change your sentence style. ■ You may need change the type of graphics used. ■ You may need to add cross-references. ■ You may need to organize your content into headings with lists. ■ You may need to use special fonts, font sizes, font styles, and line spacing for emphasis. BRAINSTORMING Brainstorming by jotting down notes is a great way to gather content ideas for a writing project. ■ Don’t worry about the order of the ideas. ■ Let one idea lead you to other related ideas.Section 1 The Writing Process 5 ■ Browse the Web to generate ideas. ■ Review magazines, journals, and periodical indexes for ideas. ■ Use free association to let your mind roam freely throughout the sub- ject area. ■ Use free association while commuting, while riding a bike, while walk- ing, or even while taking a shower. ■ Keep a pen and notepad or a digital recorder nearby. As you think about the subject matter, consider the following angles: ■ Are there any problems or needs? ■ Is there a cause-and-effect relationship? ■ What are the solutions to the problems? ■ What is the history of the subject matter? ■ What processes are involved? ■ What needs to be described to readers? ■ How can the subject matter be divided into smaller pieces? ■ Are any comparisons involved? ■ What needs to be illustrated with a graphic or photograph? ■ How is the subject matter applied? ■ Can you list any advantages and benefits? ■ What are the disadvantages and limitations? ■ Are there any warnings, cautions, tips, or guidelines? ■ What are the financial implications of the subject matter? ■ What is its importance? ■ What does the future likely hold? ■ What are the social, political, and legal implications of the subject matter? ■ Can you draw any conclusions about the subject matter?6 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing ■ Do you have any recommendations? ■ What are the alternatives to the subject matter? ■ What tests and methods are used? ■ Can you use relevant statistics? ■ Are there any legal issues? ■ Should you consider applicable business situations? After brainstorming, the next step is to narrow the list of ideas to the scope of the project. ■ How does each brainstorm idea apply to your audience? ■ Will your audience care about each brainstorming item? ■ Does the idea help your audience understand the topic? ■ Could you eliminate one or more ideas without sacrificing anything? ■ Is the idea too general, too technical, or not technical enough? After narrowing the list of topics, decide how to cover each and determine how to obtain the content details. ■ Research online. ■ Talk to subject matter experts. ■ Use reference books. ■ Test and evaluate the product or service yourself. ■ Get testimonials from customers or users. ■ Conduct tests. ■ Record demonstrations using software or video. For the narrowed list of topics, determine the audience level for each: ■ Determine which topics apply to all audiences and should be more general. ■ Determine which topics apply to individual audiences and should be more specific, include more details, or used to create separate audience-specific documents.Section 1 The Writing Process 7 RESEARCH The research phase of a business writing project consists of: ■ Reviewing existing publications, periodicals, Web sites, and company documents ■ Evaluating products and services ■ Conducting tests of products and services ■ Running tests ■ Studying users ■ Interviewing experts ■ Conducting surveys using questionnaires or observations Traditional print sources used in research include anything published in print form that is available in libraries and bookstores: ■ Books ■ Textbooks ■ Newspapers ■ Scholarly journals ■ Trade publications ■ Magazines Materials available for research purposes on the Internet include: ■ Web pages and blogs ■ PDF documents ■ eBooks ■ Video and audio ■ Online versions of print publications ■ Press releases ■ Message boards ■ Discussion lists8 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing ■ Chat rooms ■ Web-based government reports When searching for information at a library or on the Internet: ■ Make a list of keywords related to your subject matter that will likely produce search results. ■ Use the Library of Congress subject headings to search for keywords. ■ Check Books in Print by subjects for any related keywords. ■ Check the Reader’s Guide to Periodic Literature for related articles. ■ Use Google Scholar at to search for articles across many disciplines and sources. ■ Check the New York Times Index for relevant newspaper articles. ■ Check a general encyclopedia for information about your topic. Keep a list of the sources used in your research in order to document them in footnotes, endnotes, and a bibliography. ■ Keep your notes organized on note cards or in a word processor. ■ For research from books, include the title, authors, city of publication, publisher, date of publication, and the pages for specific quotes and other information. ■ For research from magazines, include the title of the article, the magazine’s name, the issue date, and beginning and ending page numbers of the article. ■ For encyclopedia articles, include the title, edition number, date of publication, and the author’s name. ■ For government documents, include notes about the department, administration, or agency name, along with any cataloging number. ■ For private sources of research from interviews, make notes about the date of the communication, the source’s full name, title, and organization. When making notes from your research sources, you can record any of the following:Section 1 The Writing Process 9 ■ A few sentences or some statistics ■ Direct quotes from a publication ■ Paraphrased information in your own words ■ Summaries that condense the main ideas in an article INTERVIEWING Interviews with subject matter experts, customers, end users, and members of your general audience provide you with insight and testimonials for use in your writing project. Interviews can be conducted in a number of ways: ■ Face-to-face ■ In focus groups ■ By telephone ■ In a computer chat ■ Via email ■ On a message board ■ By means of a discussion list ■ By mail Interviews that are conducted face-to-face or on the telephone can be record- ed with the interviewee’s permission and later transcribed. ■ In informal conversational interviews, interview questions often flow from the context of the discussion. ■ Structured interviews follow a checklist to make sure all relevant topics are covered, and the interviewer may ask impromptu questions based on the answers. ■ In an open-ended interview, open-ended questions are asked, allowing the subject to share opinions and ideas.10 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing When asking interview questions, consider the following: ■ Ask clear questions whose language makes sense to the interviewees. ■ Ask one question at a time, rather than multipart questions. ■ Ask opened-ended questions with no predetermined answers. ■ Ask questions about interviewees’ experience with the subject matter before asking for their opinions on it. ■ Order the questions from general to specific, from broad to narrow. ■ Ask probing and follow-up questions when a different level of response or detail is needed. ■ Be able to interpret the answers and clarify the responses to confirm that what you heard is what the interviewee meant. ■ Avoid sensitive or deep questions that may irritate the interviewee. ■ Allow free-form discussion, but keep the interview session under control by having a checklist of questions you want to ask. ■ Establish and maintain a rapport with the interviewee through attentive listening, purposeful voice tone, and responsive expressions and gestures. OUTLINING Outlines are useful in the writing process as a strategy for brainstorming and the logical ordering of content.An outline lists the headings and subheadings for various topics and ideas. Several levels of subheadings may be used to group ideas. To create an outline: ■ Determine the purpose of the document. ■ Determine the audience. ■ Brainstorm ideas to include in the document. ■ Organize the ideas by grouping similar ones together.Section 1 The Writing Process 11 ■ Determine a logical order for the ideas. ■ Label the groups of ideas for use as headings and subheadings in the outline. In the most common outline format, numbers or letters are assigned to each level of heading or subheading. For example: I. Roman numerals A. Capitalized letters 1. Arabic numerals a. Lowercase letters Keep the following ideas in mind when creating an outline: ■ Use parallel structure for headings and subheadings. ■ Heading content at the same level should be equally significant. ■ A heading can contain just a few words or an entire sentence. ■ Each heading should have at least two or more items of subordinated content or subheadings. ■ Headings should be general, and subheadings should be more specific. Example: I. Introducing the transactional Web site A. What is a transactional Web site? B. Who uses this type of Web site? II. Finding a transactional Web hosting service A. Bandwidth pricing B. Shopping cart service C. Credit card merchant service III. Typical Web transactions A. Services B. Research C. Downloadable software D. Products12 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing WRITING A DRAFT After completing the prewriting stages of audience analysis, brainstorming, research, interviewing, and outlining, you can begin the writing process by creating a first draft. Start by copying your research notes into the related sections of your outline. Phrase your notes as complete sentences, and fill in the gaps with transitions and other commentary. As you work on your first draft, keep the following tips in mind: ■ Add introductions and conclusions to the various sections of the outline. ■ Don’t worry about choosing the best wording when writing your draft; you’ll have an opportunity to read and rewrite later. ■ If you get stuck on a section, leave it and move on to the next one. ■ If you don’t like how a particular section sounds, keep writing and revise it later. ■ Write notes to yourself with ideas for additional content or revisions using a different-colored font or highlighting tool. After completing the first draft, look for ways to improve it by proofreading and revising. BUSINESS WRITING STYLE The overall tone of a business document, as seen through the choice of words and commentary, reflects the writer’s attitude. Business writers must consid- er the overall tone of their messages, whether they are writing a letter or a formal report. To decide on the appropriate tone for your documents, make sure you can answer the following questions: ■ Why am I writing this document? ■ For whom am I writing it?Section 1 The Writing Process 13 ■ What do I want the readers to understand? The overall tone of a business document should be confident, courteous, and sincere. It should use nondiscriminatory language and be written at the appropriate level for the audience. In addition, your writing should focus on the benefits to the reader. To write with the appropriate tone: ■ Be knowledgeable and prepared so that readers will accept your ideas. ■ Be persuasive so that readers will follow your instructions. ■ Don’t be arrogant or presumptuous. ■ Strive for politeness with sincerity to avoid sounding condescending. ■ Consider your word choices and think about how the reader will perceive them. ■ Use strategies to emphasize key points by using short sentences, placing key points at the beginning of paragraphs, and positioning subordinate information in the middle of paragraphs. ■ Use the active voice to describe what a reader should do, and use the passive voice to describe actions being performed. ■ Avoid language that is sexist or biased based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. ■ Write from your readers’ perspective and clearly explain the benefits for them. ■ Use language and details that are appropriate to the target audience’s level of understanding. USING VISUALS Visuals in a business document should support the text and avoid confusing the reader. Visuals are a part of the overall message and should be used to communicate important ideas. When creating and placing visuals, keep the following in mind:14 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing ■ Readers must be able to understand a figure without having to read any of the surrounding text. ■ Introduce all figures by referring to them in the text. ■ Place visuals in a logical place close to the reference text. ■ Charts with content of interest only to specific audiences should be saved for an appendix. ■ Visuals should not repeat the content of the text. ■ Never use charts to distort research findings. ■ Be aware of what multicolored images and graphs will look like in black and white. Statistical information can be presented in tables or graphs. Graphs in partic- ular help the reader conceptualize information that is not as easily seen in tabular form. Graphs can display the relationships between sets of data. When creating graphs: ■ Don’t overly complicate graphs with grid lines and data points. ■ Use line graphs to show a relationship between two values. ■ Employ pie charts to show a relationship between multiple values that make up a whole. ■ Utilize bar charts to show comparisons, distributions, and trends. ■ Use pictographs like bar charts but with symbols to make up each bar. ■ Use organizational charts to show the hierarchy of an organization. ■ Employ flowcharts to show the steps in a process. A variety of other types of illustrations can be used effectively in business documents: ■ Diagrams show the structures, mechanisms, or organisms that make up an object. ■ Drawings depict an object or organism. ■ Maps show geographic, demographic, agricultural, or weather data. ■ Photographs present realistic views of a subject.Section 1 The Writing Process 15 PAGE DESIGN Page design involves the use of typographical elements and formatting tech- niques to lay out content in a pleasing way that helps communicate the mes- sage. Page design involves the use of the following: ■ Headings ■ Lists ■ Tables ■ Fonts and color ■ Font styles ■ Margins ■ Indention ■ Alignment ■ Footers ■ Graphical elements ■ Visuals The first step in creating a page design for a document using a word proces- sor is the document setup: ■ Setting the page size ■ Setting the margins ■ Creating paragraph styles ■ Customizing the color pallet ■ Selecting a document template The text used in a document can take on many different forms.You can apply different fonts, font colors, styles (bold, italic, underlined), and paragraph styles (block, paragraph, hanging). Text can be organized visually on the page by using headings and lists. When formatting text on a page: ■ Make headings descriptive of the content that follows. ■ Use different font styles and margins for headings to make them stand out.16 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing ■ Use parallel wording for all headings on the same level. ■ Use numbered lists for things that must be done in a specified order. ■ Use bulleted lists for items when no particular order is required. ■ Introduce all lists with a lead-in sentence. ■ Punctuate list items with a period only if they are complete sentences. ■ Use font styles, such as bold or italic, for emphasis. ■ Indent paragraph margins for emphasis. ■ Use different font colors for headings for artistic design purposes. ■ Use fonts for headings that are different from the text font. ■ Use background shading and light-colored text for table column headings. PUBLICATION DESIGN Publication design involves creating and organizing the components of a business document. The components vary depending on whether the docu- ment is a letter, brochure, or report. No single publication uses all the possi- ble publication components. Nor is there a single style guide for how these components should be used and organized, because style varies depending on the needs and requirements of the individual business. The following publication design components are commonly used in busi- ness documents: ■ Front and back covers—the organization’s name, publication title, logo or artwork, and date ■ Title page—information on the front cover that is often duplicated on the title page ■ Edition notices—publication edition, publication date, and copyright notice, included on the backside of the title page ■ Disclaimers—legal wording included as part of the edition notices on the backside of the title page, stating the document may not be free from errorsSection 1 The Writing Process 17 ■ Trademark lists—a list of trademarks used in the document, a separate element or part of the edition notices ■ Warranties—additional legal wording regarding the company’s prod- ucts or services, sometimes on a separate page ■ Safety notices—publications about products, possibly including a sum- mary of all safety warnings found elsewhere in the publication ■ Communication statements—statements required by government regu- lation ■ Preface—a brief passage that describes the content and purpose of the publication as well as the target audience, included just before the table of contents ■ Table of contents—a list of chapters and of at least a second level of heading detail, included so that readers can find information they need when using the publication as a reference ■ List of figures—a list of all the figures used in the publication, along with their caption titles ■ Content chapters—the actual text of the publication, possibly organized as chapters, topics, and sections ■ Appendixes—details and content that is only suitable for subsections of your audience and that is included at the end of the publication ■ Glossary—a list of specialized terms, along with their definitions, positioned at the end of the publication ■ Index—references to specific topics and terms, along with page numbers ■ Reader response form—a document that readers can fill out to provide feedback and to ask questions EDITING Editing consists of reading a draft document, checking for errors, rewriting sentences, adding missing content, and deleting unnecessary content. You can use word processing grammar and spelling checkers to point out poten-18 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing tial problems, but don’t rely on these tools in place of a thorough editing and proofreading. During the editing process, keep the following principles in mind: ■ To be verbs (is, was, were, etc.) should be replaced with strong active verbs. Example: The form was filed by Allan. Revision: Allan filed the report. ■ Rewrite the excessive use of prepositions. Example: The company’s annual report is overshadowed by the company’s feeling of dread over the upcoming legislation pending in their state government. Revision: A feeling of dread over the upcoming state government legislation pervaded the company’s annual report. ■ Eliminate words that add no meaning or are redundant. Example: He carelessly and nonchalantly tossed the confidential report into the nonsecure trash bin. Revision: He carelessly tossed the confidential report into the nonsecure trash bin. ■ Vary sentence structure and sentence length. ■ Don’t start every sentence with the main subject followed by a verb. ■ If there are too many sentences of the same length, rewrite them into compound sentences. Example: I stopped checking my email when I went on vacation. There were over 300 messages waiting for me when I returned. Revision: Because I did not check email while on vacation, over 300 messages were waiting when I returned.Section 1 The Writing Process 19 ■ Add transitional words and phrases to connect sentences and show a relationship between sentences and paragraphs. Example: The copier on our floor broke. I went down to the copy center in the basement to copy the report. Revision: The copier on our floor broke. So I went down to the copy center in the basement to copy the report. Use the following checklist when editing a document: ■ Are the headings and subheadings consistently used? ■ Is the spelling correct? ■ Are all proper names accurate? ■ Are all lists parallel in structure? ■ Do all nouns and verbs agree? ■ Are numbered lists correctly numbered? ■ Are all dates correct? ■ Are all alphabetical lists in alphabetical order? ■ Is all punctuation correct and consistent? ■ Is all capitalization correct and consistent? ■ Are all bibliographical references accurate and consistent? PROOFREADING Proofreading is the checking of your documents for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as for accuracy with respect to the edited version and adherence to style. If someone else proofreads your documents, the reader notes any needed corrections using proofreading marks and abbreviations. Figure 1.1 lists the standard proofreading symbols and abbreviations.20 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing Figure 1.1 Proofreading SymbolsSection 1 The Writing Process 21 Use the following checklist when proofreading a document: ■ Are all headings and other text elements consistent in style and layout? ■ For letters, are the dateline, reference line, initials, enclosure, and carbon-copy notation accurate? ■ Are all cross-references accurate? ■ Are all margins consistent and proper? ■ Are all tables aligned consistently? ■ Have any footnotes been omitted? ■ Are all end-of-line word divisions accurate? ■ Are any words accidentally repeated in the same sentence or paragraph? ■ Are the page numbers correct? ■ Are all headings and captions separate elements, that is, on lines by themselves? Rather than make edits on paper, you can make edits electronically in a word processing document using the Track Changes feature (in Microsoft Word). The revisions show up in a different color. When you proofread the docu- ment, you can review each revision and either accept or reject it.22 The AMA Handbook of Business Writing DOCUMENT REVIEW Prior to its release or publication, a document should be reviewed by subject matter experts, management, or your peers. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the document, criticize it, and suggest improvements. Writers are often uneasy about having their documents reviewed out of fear their egos will be bruised. People who are asked to review a document are also often uneasy about offering criticism. Prior to the review, the writer should meet with the reviewers and discuss the following points: ■ The writer’s goals and concerns for the document including its topic, audience, and purpose ■ Potential problems and concerns uncovered during the writing process ■ Questions about accuracy that subject matter experts need to answer When asked to review another writer’s document, review the document sev- eral times and look for: ■ Grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues ■ Appropriate tone and level for the target audience ■ Organization of the content ■ Clarity of the writing ■ Sentence style ■ Use of graphics When offering feedback, avoid making criticisms based on your own writ- ing style. Instead, do the following: ■ Base your comments on guidelines, concepts, and rules. ■ Document your comments in the margins of the review copy or on a separate document. ■ Provide specific details to explain your comments. ■ Offer suggestions for correcting any problems you see. ■ Avoid going overboard and rewriting the draft completely.Section 1 The Writing Process 23 REVISIONS In the revision process, you rewrite content to make improvements to the language, level of clarity, content organization, and tone that may be the result of a reviewer’s comments or your own review.As you revise your doc- ument, consider the following questions: ■ Have you adequately defined all the key terms used in the document? ■ Do some things in the document, such as products, services, or people, need to be described in more detail? ■ Do some processes in the document need more description? ■ Do you need to add analogies or comparisons to make a particular concept easier to understand? ■ Does the document have subcategories of information that need their own subheadings and introductory sentences? ■ Is the content in the correct order? ■ Have you provided sufficient examples? ■ Do you need to provide more historical background to help readers better understand the content? ■ Have you provided any necessary instructions in the correct step-by- step format? ■ Do you need to insert overviews at key points to summarize topics? ■ Do you need to add topic sentences that introduce new topics? ■ Do the transitions between paragraphs and topics allow the ideas to logically flow from one to another? ■ Do you need to break long paragraphs into shorter ones? ■ Do you need to rewrite redundant or wordy phrases? ■ Do you need to rewrite passive sentences in the active voice? ■ Are there any subject-verb mismatches in your sentences? ■ Are there series of sentences that are either all the sa