Study Guide for Week 3

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10 Aug 2010
- both letters and memos are brief business msgs, similar in formality, length, style, and organizations
letters: go to ppl outside the organization
memos: internal msgs sent to ppl within your organization
What are the standard formats for letters
- letters are written in block and modified block
block format: the format most frequently used for business letters, readers expect it and it can be typed
quickly things everything lines up at the left margin
modified block format: creates a visually attractive page by moving the ate and signature block into
what would otherwise be empty white space
Æ more traditional
- they both share many elements [pg 151]
letter head: Z]v]}vÇÁ]ZZ}Pv]}v[vuUo}P}UUvZ}vu
continuation heading: when the letter runs on 2 pages, putting ht readers name helps the reader
subject line: tells what the letter is about
- required in memos they are optional in letters
reference line: refers to the reader to the number used on previous correspondence or the order to
invoice number that the letter is about
complimentary closes: sincerely, cordially
- in a two-point or mixed punctuation, a colon follows the salutation and a comma follows the close
-in open punctuation t omit all punctuation after the salutation and the close
enclosures accompanied by other docs
- writers should refer to the enclosures in the body of the letter
- sometimes you write to one person but send copies of your letter to other ppo
- if you want the reader to know that other ppl are also getting the letter, list their names on the past
blind copies: sent copies to other ppl without telling the reader
What courtesy tiles should I use
- ZÇ}µ[s preference
2. Careful with a woman, some prefer to be referred to as mrs. Or miss.
- use courtesy tiles only when your audience requests them
1. Call the company and ask the receptionist
2. Use the readers full name in salutation
1. Use the attention line ex. Customer service, human resources etc
2. Use the readers position or job title ex. Dear loan officer
3. Use a general group to which your reader belongs ex. Dear investor
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4. Omit the salutation and use a subject line in its place
- using bolded attention and subject lines is acceptable
How should I set up hard-copy memos
- the standard memo uses block format but has no salutation close, or signature
- memos omit salutation and the close
- memos never indent paragraphs
- subject lines are required
What is good business writing style
- good business waiting sounds like one person talking to another
- academic writing is more formal than business writer
Are there rules I should follow
- keep it short and simple
What should I look for when I revise sentences
1. Use active verbs whenever possible
active: if the subject of the sentence does the action the verb describes
passive: if the subject is acted on
- passives are usually made up of a form of the verb to be plus a past participle
- ppl who want to avoid responsibility while deliverying bad news tend to use passive verbs
- if the verb describes smthin that the subject is doing = active
- if the verb describes smthing that s being done to the subject = passive
passive bers have 3 disadvantages
1. If all the info in the original sentence is retained, passive verbs make the sentence long. Passive take
more time to understand
2. If the agent is omitted, its not clear who is responsible for doing the action
3. When many passive verbs are used, or when passives are used in material that has a lot of big words ,
the writing can be boring and pompous
- use passives to emphasize the object receiving the action, not the agent
- use passive to avoid assigning blame
2. Use strong action verbs to carry the weight of your sentence
-put the weight of your sentence in the verb (make it forceful)
3. Make your writing concise
1. Eliminate words that say nothing
2. Use gerunds (the ting form of verbs) and infinitives to make sentences shorter and smoother
3. Combine sentences to eliminate unnecessary words
4. Put the meaning of your sentence into the subject and verb to use fewer words
4. Cary sentence length and sentence structure
- simple sentences have one cause
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