Influence people

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tip #4 for the Business Writer

Avoid Imprecise Pronouns
Part 4 of a 5-part series on writing well.


If clarity is the aim of your prose, you miss the mark when you use imprecise pronouns. In particular, this and that.


These pronouns work only when clearly tied to a previous reference.


If used otherwise, they destroy clarity.


Here's an example (from Winterthur Technology Group) of an imprecise pronoun:


For the Winterthur group, the term "engineering" covers the complete consulting, support and training program. This helps customers to optimize the quality and efficiency of their grinding processes and achieve added value.


The pronoun this always refers to one thing. 

So, Winterthur, exactly what helps customers? Is it the term "engineering?" Consulting? Support? Or the training program?

The writer might have achieved clarity by saying:

For the Winterthur group, "engineering" means three things: consulting, support and training. Our three-pronged approach helps customers to optimize the quality and efficiency of their grinding processes and achieve added value.

Or the writer might say:

"Engineering" at Winterthur encompasses consulting, support and training, so you can optimize your grinding processes and get added value.

2 comments:

  1. Nicely explained. Here you described the well written article from your in-depth knowledge. Truly impressive and nice information

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