Business WritingCourseSession 1: Sentence Construction
How to write a Business Email1. Know who you’re writing to 1. Name, title, spelling 2. What tone should I use? 1. For clients: formal 2. For colleagues: casual, but not overly friendly 3. B2B: must reflect the attitude and communication style of organization. 3. Stick to the point: people don’t’ like long emails.
1. What is a sentence?1. Must contain a complete thought2. Must be independent3. Must contain a subject and a verb
Example 1 (Sentence)I feel very sluggish today. (“sluggish” means “ very tired”)Is this a complete thought?Can this stand alone?What is the subject?What is the verb?
Example 2: (not a sentence)An “incomplete” sentence is called a “fragment”Very sluggish today.This group of words does not contain a subject ora verb, and there is not a complete thought. Tohave a subject, we would have to ask who orwhat is very sluggish today? We would alsohave to add a verb like is, or feels, in order forthis to make sense.
Is this a sentence?If pay by themselves then we need their creditcard information for grantee and if pay by yourcompany and I will forward you the bankinginformation for the pre pay.Correct: If they pay by themselves, then we needtheir credit card information, and if the companypays, then I will forward you our bankinginformation for pre-payment.
Is this a sentence?As we discussed on Thursday about yourpackage.As we discussed on Thursday, your package willalso contain mini burgers and pizza at noadditional cost.
Exercise Time: 3 minutesIdentify the subject and verbs on yourworksheets.
2. Fragments: incomplete sentencesA fragment is an incomplete sentence. It ismissing one or more of the following parts: A subject A verb A thought that makes sense
Example #1Yesterday, while I was driving to work and saw abird in the middle of the road out in the storm.This is a fragment because it doesn’t contain anindependent clause because it uses the word“while”. It doesn’t have a complete thought, eventhough there is a subject and a verb.What happened when you saw a bird sitting inthe middle of the road out in the storm?
Example #1: CorrectedYesterday, while I was driving to work and saw abird in the middle of the road out in the storm, Ithought it must have lost her way home.
Example #2When I went to the movies last week and I raninto a friend.This fragment does not tell you what happenedwhen you went to the movies last week and raninto a friend.
Example #2: CorrectedWhen I ran into a friend at the movies lastweek, I suggested we sit together.
3. Run-on SentencesA run-on contains two independent clausescombined without proper punctuation.It’s basically two sentences in one.
Example #1: (run-on)Today I am tired I will take a nap later.Sentence 1: Today I am tired.Sentence 2: I will take a nap later.
3 ways to fix these:1. Make two different sentences. Today I am tired. I will take a nap later.2. Join the two sentences by adding a comma (,) and a coordinate conjunction (so, therefore, and, but). Today I am tired, so I will take a nap later.3. Join the two sentences correctly by inserting a semi-colon (;). Today I am tired; I will take a nap later.
Final TipsWrite your emails using a word-processorfirst, then copy and paste it into Lotus Notes.Keep your sentences simple: Does it make sense? Does it have a subject? Does it have a verb?Check for run-on sentences and fix them.