Business Writing: How to Make Your Writing More Formal

All business communication takes place via e-mail these days. You may be sending e-mails for a long time now, but are you following the proper etiquette?

Business communication calls for  formal writing and there are certain rules that have to be followed. The style of writing and language used should be appropriate and sophisticated.

Some important features of business writing are:

  1. The tone should be polite and impersonal.
  2. Do not use contractions like don’t, wouldn’t, can’t and so on.
  3. Do not use abbreviations such as DIY (Do It Yourself) or photo (photograph).
  4. Do not use colloquial words/ phrases like kids, guys, cool and so on.
  5. Some words are considered to be informal, replace those with synonyms that sound formal. Like, use thank you instead of thanks or commence in place of begin/start.
  6. Write full sentences. Ellipsis i.e. omission of words is not acceptable in formal writings. For example, write “I hope to see you soon” instead of “Hope to see you soon.”
  7. Avoid using really or so as they are considered to be informal intensifiers. Use highly, entirely, extremely and so on.
  8. Avoid using active voice (We have noticed that…), use passive voice (It has been noticed that…)
  9. In most cases, the third person is used (except in business letters).
  10. Avoid using short and simple sentences as it reflects poorly on the writer. Use lengthy, complex sentences and technical words.


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