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Communication Workshop Written Communication

WORKSHOP OVERVIEW
Importance of effective communication for any organisation can never be gainsaid. In fact,
communication is the bloodline of any organisation. This workshop aims at enhancing the
awareness of the growing need for effective communication within an organisation, with
particular emphasis on written communication. The participant is exposed to different kinds of
written communication Report-Writing, Memo-Writing, Letter Writing, e-mail communication
etc. At the end of the workshop, the participants will have been sensitised to the urgent need for
persuasive communication in the competitive business world, which is pro-active too.
Most of the times, knowledge of effective communication and ability to communicate
effectively are mistaken for one another. The former represents knowledge, while the latter
represents skills. While knowledge can be acquired from external agencies, skill can be honed
up only within oneself and any amount of external help has a limited impact. Similarly, the
ability to communicate is measured by the majority by the fluency displayed by an individual in
spoken English, which is taken for granted in written communication. A person of
experience realises to distinguish between these two and accordingly prepares himself to be an
effective communicator, both in oral communication and written. In fact statistics prove that
more often than not, persons having limited vocabulary but with effective communication ability
are able to put across their ideas more forcefully than those who command extensive vocabulary.
The emphasis is not on mere words or flowery language but on simple and effective
communication, which not only has the desired impact on the receiver but also evokes
matching response immediately from him. It would be appropriate to quote Peter Drucker, the
renowned management consultant on the importance of communication in the commercial
world.
Quote As soon as you move one step from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your
ability to reach others through the spoken or the written word. And the further away your job is
from manual work, the larger the organisation of which you are an employee, the more
important it will be that you know how to convey your thoughts in writing or speaking. In the
very large organisation, this ability to express oneself is perhaps the most important of all the
skills a person can possess Unquote.
This workshop aims at helping the participants identify their individual styles of communication
and fine tune the same wherever necessary from the point of view of effective writing. Besides,

to the extent needed, attitudinal aspects of communication as well as psychological aspects of


communication, like Transactional Analysis would also be covered to be complementary with
practical exercises on written communication. Practical exercises will include report-writing,
memo-writing, letters to outside customers, e-mail communication etc. Theoretical inputs will
be kept to a minimum and included only in the course material; during the workshop sessions,
concepts will be discussed through analysis of written communication exercises done by the
participants.
The need for assertive behaviour is being felt by one and all in any organisation. Most of the
times, aggressive behaviour is mistaken for assertive behaviour and vice-versa; in fact, both are
quite distinct from each other. The workshop will introduce to the participants the characteristic
features of assertive behaviour through examples from real life and professional situations.
Similarly, introduction to Transactional analysis will also be done with reference to effective
communication. Transactional analysis helps one to identify the Ego State from which the
stimulus emanates (from the communicator) and extend a moderating response consciously
(from the receiver/responder) to neutralise the impact of an offending/undesirable stimulus.
The objective is to familiarise the participants with different Ego States in ones personality and
their influence on transactions with fellow human beings along with their impact on
communication situations.
This workshop is just the beginning of a new beginningon written communication.

HOW TO USE THIS MATERIAL?


This material provides the theoretical base to many areas of written communication. Hence it is
ideally suited to be a quick reference to basic concepts relating to written communication.
Elaborate exercise in the course material has been consciously avoided. This is to encourage the
participants make notes at appropriate places during the discussion on any concept. With this
purpose in mind, the course material has been prepared only on one side, leaving the other side
empty for taking notes. As such, together with appropriate notes, the course material can be
used any time in future to refresh memory on aspects of written communication dealt with in
this workshop.

BASICS
Communication at a glance (from Rangas material Raj to
type)Page 4

10 COMMANDMENTS
OF
COMMUNICATION

1. Crystallise your ideas before communicating.


2. Examine purpose of communication and adopt
suitable language, tone and approach.
3. Consider total human and physical setting.
4. Consult others if needed while planning
communication.
5. Be mindful of tone, voice, choice of language and
basic content of message.
6. Be a good listener.
7. Actions should support communications.
8. Communicate for tomorrow as well as today.
9. Follow up your communication, obtain feedback.
10. Convey something of help or value to the
receiver.

BARRIERS TO
COMMUNICATION

SELECTIVE
ATTENTION

1. Inattention, distrust
of communication,
absence of interest.
2. Receiver ignores the
information that
conflicts with what
he/she already
knows.
3. Receiver hears what
he/she expects to
hear.
4. Inappropriate time
of communication.

SELECTIVE
PERCEPTION

1. Sender and receiver


have different
background of
experience.
2. Receiver hears and
understand what
he/she expects to hear
and understand.
3. Fear or failure to
communicate.
4. Prohibitive nature of
organisational
structure.

SELECTIVE
RETENTION

1. Badly expressed
message.
2. Faulty
transmissions.
3. Distortions or loss
in transmissions.
4. Receiver
remembers only
what he/she wants
to remember.

STEPS TO OVERCOME
BARRIERS TO
COMMUNICATION

1. Create atmosphere for free flow of


communication
2. Communicate in the receivers background and
interest.
3. Face to face communication wherever possible
avoiding written communication.
4. Be clear to the point
5. Use simple, non-technical and direct language
6. Use human interest words and personal
references
7. Economise on adjectives
8. Use active verbs
9. Use suitable tone of communication
10. Put emphasis on communication
11. Time element
12. Never initiate unnecessary communication
13. Reduce length of communication channel

MAJOR OBJECTIVES OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION:

Sharing information/details
Persuading
Conveying instructions to employees of a department,
project, division, administrative office, the entire
organisation etc.
Reporting on situation and seeking instructions
Eliciting enquiry about a product and reply thereto
Bringing on record critical facts/process/decisions etc.
for the purpose of documentation and future follow-up
Convey ones thoughts or feelings (in the case of
personal communication)
PARAMETERS FOR IDENTIFYING SUCCESSFUL WRITTEN
COMMUNICATION:

The objective of the present communication has been


fulfilled by stimulating the desired action from the
receiver
The channel of communication has to be kept open with
the receiver for future, wherever necessary those with
whom we communicate on a regular basis on
organisational matters
THE SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATOR EXHIBITS:

Tremendous Ability To Understand The Situation On The


Whole
Capacity To Look Beyond The Written Words To
Assimilate The Spirit Of The Communication That He

Has Received And To Respond To That Spirit When


Replying
Empathy to the Receiver
Positive And Rational Attitude (Less On The Emotional
Side In Professional Communication)
Attention To Small Details But At The Same Time Not
Wasting Time In Trivia
Pride In His Work/Project, Team, Organisation Etc.
Strong Affinity For Facts And Less Tendency For
Excuses/Personal Feelings/Beliefs/Thoughts (In
Professional Communication)
Required Self Analysis
Assertiveness
AND HIS COMMUNICATION WILL HAVE:

Arresting Opening Lines Linkage With The Past


No Assumptions Of Any Prior Knowledge On Behalf Of
The Receiver Pre-empting Oscillating
Communication on the same matter
Clarity In Thought And Words No Ambiguity In
Communication
Simplicity In Language Easy To Understand To The
Receiver
If language is not correct then what is said is not what
is meant; if what is said is not what is meant what
ought to be done remains undone A SAYING BY
CONFUCIUS

Well-structured Body Present One Idea Leading To


And Linked To The Next
Appropriate Closing Summarising For Future Follow-up
Subject At A Time Wherever Possible No Mix-up With
Another Issue Diluting The Attention Of The Receiver
From The Main Issue

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT WRITTEN COMMUNICATION?

It is permanent and mostly accessible to more than one (the receiver) excepting in the case of
private and confidential correspondence; every communication speaks for the sender so fully
as though the sender is in a face-to-face communication with the receiver/reader.

The sender has an opportunity to think through his/her message. In conversation it is not
possible to recall our words back or stop to reorganise them into a more logical form. Most
people tend to speak off the cuff.

Once the thoughts are put down in words in written communication, very rarely another
letter from the same receiver can reverse the damage done, if any.

Every written communication is an ambassador for the writer or sender creates goodwill or
bad blood unless the communication is so ineffective that the receiver can choose to be
indifferent to it.

The receiver/reader can consider the message at leisure without any pressure as happens in
the oral communication. Mostly people remember only 25% of what they hear.

We can supplement the written message with charts, diagrams, illustrations, statistical details
and other materials. This is not possible in the case of spoken communication despite the
help of visual aids.

If done with a client or a customer, written communication is the correct platform to enhance
the credibility of the organisation of the sender as well as that of the sender.

If done with a superior within the organisation, it should evoke a better understanding of the
situation of the sender and response in the desired direction

If done with a subordinate within the organisation, it should ensure compliance with
instructions in full without any ambiguity and without sounding bossy

If done with a peer within the organisation, it should ensure empathy and full understanding
of the position of the sender

As usually one gets more time for written communication than for oral communication, the
quality of written communication is expected to be better than oral communication from the
same sender and complete in all regards.

If in the form of report, it should be:


-

complete,
balanced,
stimulating to the receiver making him receptive to new
ideas/approach,
backed by statistics to the extent possible,
centering around facts and figures rather than achievement
of self (of the reporter),
comprehensive including suggested course of action for
achieving the desired results & not merely reporting
problems
not on the lines of a newspaper report but should be
compelling to the reader.

If caution is not exercised, as opposed to oral communication, one does tend to get elaborate
and not precise in written communication causing repetition of ideas etc. often referred to
as self indulgence

As the saying goes, Writing Maketh An EXACT Man


Written Communication has to be EXACT
-

E EXCHANGE YOUR IDEAS WITH OTHERS

X X-RAY READERS MIND

A ADDRESS CLEARLY

C CORRECT

T TEMPER THE TEXT WITH REASON (MORE) AND


EMOTION (LESS)

Written communication should be done with TACT


-

T TALENT

A ATTENTION

C CARE (CONCERN FOR THE READER)

T TIME (IT DESERVES IN MOST ORGANISATIONS)

Written communication, like any other communication, should aim at AIDA:


-

A ATTENTION OF THE READER/RECEIVER TO BE

DRAWN
-

I INTEREST OF THE READER TO BE SUSTAINED

D DESIRE TO ACT TO BE KINDLED

A ACTION TO BE INITIATED

BARRIERS IN WRITTEN COMMUNICATION


From the Communicators side:

Absence of responsiveness to new ideas, approaches


Poor inter-personal skills
Complex and involved writing
Inconsiderate to the receiver
Indulgence in trivia
Lack of comprehension of the issues involved
Absence of logic in communication
Aggressive, submissive or indifferent attitude as opposed to assertive attitude
Being presumptuous assuming knowledge on the part of the receiver
Lack of preparedness for effective and complete communication
Lack of confidence
Inadequate Vocabulary
Poor sense of timing
From the Receivers side:

Impatience to read through the communication fully


Lack of interest
Prejudice against the sender/Attitude of superiority
Selective perception
Selective attention

Selective retention
Inability to visualise the senders problems/constraints lack of empathy
Unreasonableness in expectation on performance
High degree of engrossment in self exaggerated importance to problems
relating to self and limitation in relating to others
Poor knowledge in English

EFFECTIVE
WRITING

WHAT TO DO
FOR
EFFECTIVE
WRITING

REVISION
CHECKLIST

EFFECTIVE
BUZZWORDS

15 WAYS
TO
BETTER
COMMUNICATION

WHAT TO DO FOR EFFECTIVE WRITING

1. ANALYSE YOUR AUDIENCE


What we write depends upon to a large extent our Audience.
2. TRUST YOUR AUDIENCE
Write naturally and with confidence
3. EVERY COMMUNICATION HAS A PURPOSE
Knowing & fully understanding the purpose helps shape our
words & ideas.
4. IDEAS DO NOT USUALLY COME BY SIMPLE
INSPIRATION
5 Ws and 1 H method can greatly help.
5. MOL AND SOS HELPS
Method, Order & Logic, Select, Organise & Shape
6. EXAMPLES, ILLUSTRATIONS, FACTS & FIGURES
Make our communication persuasive & memorable.
7. FIRST DRAFT --- A FREE, NO-HOLDS-BARRED ATTEMPT
Write as the ideas/points occur, the main objective being to get all
the important thoughts on paper.

8. REVISION IS THE KEY


Check each word, phrase, sentence & paragraph for 6 Cs.

EFFECTIVE WRITING
REVISION CHECKLIST

1. ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY WORDS


2. CHECK FOR LOGICAL CONNECTIONS.
3. CHECK FOR APPROPRIATE TRANSITION
4. TEST YOUR DICTION FOR POWER
AND PROPRIETY
5. CHECK FOR GRAMMATICAL AND
MECHANICAL ERRORS
6. MAKE STYLISTIC IMPROVEMENTS

REMEMBER
NO PAIN NO GAIN

If Id had more time,


Id have written a shorter book.
- MARK TWAIN.

EFFECTIVE WRITING
BUZZ WORDS 1

WORM

WHO WILL READ?

OBJECTIVE OF THE
COMMUNICATION?

RESULTS EXPECTED AND RANGE


OF THE COMMUNICATION.

METHOD OF BEST PRESENTATION.

EFFECTIVE WRITING
BUZZ WORDS 2

CLIENTS
C

CONTENT

LAYOUT AND FORMAT

INFORMATIVE AND INTERESTING

EASY TO READ, EASY TO


UNDERSTAND

NEED BASED VISUALS,


ILLUSTRATIONS AND EXAMPLES

TONE, TRUST AND THRUST

SUGGESTED ACTION

EFFECTIVE WRITING
BUZZ WORDS 3

SALES
S

SPARK THE IMAGINATION


CREATE CURIOSITY

ANNOUNCE THE PURPOSE


AND THE OBJECTIVES

LIST THE BENEFITS AND


ADVANTAGES

EXPRESS OPINION & GOODWILL

SPECIFY ACTION, ASK FOR ORDER

EFFECTIVE WRITING
BUZZ WORDS 4

KEEP

IT

SHORT

SWEET

For practising this, we need to keep the following in mind:


Why am I writing this letter? Purpose/objective is to impress or to persuade or to apologise
or just to share information.
Who is going to read this letter? What is her/his status in the organisation? How much
background information does the person have? What might be the persons attitude to what I
am going to say? What should I put in the letter? (What does the reader need to know? What
can I give?)
How should I organise my ideas? (In what order should I put the main ideas?)
What tone should I use? (What words should I use in order to create the right one?)
A lively conversational feel in written communication is not possible, if the sentences are too
long and involved. Long sentences with several dependent clauses are difficult to
understand and requires re-reading.

15 WAYS TO
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
1.

KNOW YOUR FACTS THOROUGHLY

2.

SOS YOUR FACTS

3.

6 C CHECK YOUR FACTS

4.

ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY DETAILS EDIT

5.

MAKE YOUR POINT QUICKLY DO NOT BEAT


AROUND THE BUSH

6.

STOP AS SOON AS THE POINT IS MADE

7.

EMPATHISE WITH THE RECEIVER

8.

TEST MARKET YOUR MESSAGE FEEDBACK

9.

REHEARSE YOUR COMMUNICATION

10.

ALWAYS USE SIMPLE, PRECISE AND


CONVERSATIONAL LANGUAGE.

11.

CONSIDER HUMOUR AS APPROPRIATE TO THE SITUATION

12.

USE VISUALS WHEREVER POSSIBLE

13.

KEEP AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE/SUSPENSE

14.

KEEP ON SCHEDULE

15.

END ALL COMMUNICATION WITH ACTION,


SUGGESTION OR RECOMMENDATION

STEPS INVOLVED IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITTEN


COMMUNICATION AND
REQUIREMENTS/CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF
SPECIFIC MODES OF COMMUNICATION
1. Adaptation and Selection of words;
2. Caring for expressions;
3. Construction of clear sentences and paragraphs;
4. Writing for effect need for simple and effective
language, We-viewpoint as opposed to You-viewpoint;
5. Direct communication in good news and neutral
situations;
6. Need for Indirect communication in bad-news letters,
persuasion and sales writing AND
7. Characteristic features of other means of
Communication - office memos, e-mail, fax messages
etc.
1. Adaptation and selection of words
Words should be properly spelt;
One should be aware of those groups of words in which one can be confused for the other
and hence used in the wrong context
We must try and avoid abstract words and instead use concrete words.
Words should be simple and not complex;
We should give preference to familiar words over unfamiliar words.
We should avoid words which sound sexist
Verbs should be action verbs instead of camouflaged verbs;
Verbs should be active verbs instead of passive verbs, unless passive verbs are called for;
Technical words or Jargon should be carefully used
2. Caring for expressions
Oft-repeated expressions are stereotyped and hence it is advisable to avoid them.

Cutting out rubber stamps or cliches


Proper use of idioms
3. Construction of clear sentences and paragraphs
Sentences should be short as long sentences tire the receiver very fast;
Two-word verbs can be substituted with one-word verb reducing the length of sentences;
Long and winding words can be substituted with short and simple words;
Avoid cluttering phrases, as they compromise with clarity of thought in a sentence;
Surplus words can be trimmed to shorten sentences;
Roundabout construction or involved construction robs the receiver of initiative to read
further and hence simple construction is preferable;
One should be on guard for repetition of words or redundancy
Construction of sentences should be logical to preserve the unity of sentences
Sufficient care should be taken in designing paragraphs;
Paragraphs too like sentences should be short;
Paragraphs should have unity in the sense that each paragraph should emphasise one
idea and all the points should revolve around this idea;
Make good use of topic sentences to begin as well as end a paragraph;
Giving paragraphs the requisite movement to pilot the reader continuously towards the
objective in communication through definite and logical steps;
Non-essential details are better left out of the paragraphs not to lose the focus on the
mainstream.
4. Need for simple, correct, effective and speaking language
Language needs to be straight and simple instead of being bombastic like legal language;
Language needs to be appropriate and correct;
Language needs to be lively and conversational to keep up the interest of the reader
instead of being stiff and sluggish;
Language must be positive instead of being negative;
Language must exhibit courtesy and empathy to the receiver and preaching should be
avoided at all costs;
Language must be emphatic emphasis in any one or more of these ways
- By position beginnings and endings receive prime emphasis
- By space the greater the space devoted to a topic the greater is the emphasis
- By sentence structure the shorter the sentence the better the emphasis

- By mechanical means underscoring, boldface etc.


The flow should be smooth throughout the communication this is achieved in any one
or more of these ways
- Information in a logical order, one thought sets up the next
- Proper tie-in sentences instead of abrupt shift
- Word repetition to the extent needed for achieving emphasis
- Extensive use of pronouns like this, that, these, those etc.
- Proper use of transitional words like in addition, besides, in spite of, in contrast,
however,
likewise, thus, therefore, for example etc.
Emphasis on you-view point as opposed to traditional we-viewpoint Tickle the readers
ego without sounding as flattery
The language should be speaking language Dictum write as you speak or
conversational style without making the mistakes that we can have the luxury of
making in oral communication.
5. Directness in communication in good-news letters and neutral situations-letters
For general favourable responses to enquiries, the following steps
- Beginning with the answer and stating that we are complying with the request
- Identification of the correspondence being answered either incidentally or in a subject
line
- Response in an orderly manner, preferably the same order in which queries have been
raised in the enquiry letter
- Conveying any negative information in a proper manner and with desired emphasis
- Inclusion of extras, especially about the persons/company enquiring
- Close with cordiality
Similar treatment should be given in the case of letters seeking personal evaluations of
personnel who were in our employment, letters from customers seeking adjustment of
credit for defective supply made by you, order acknowledgements, routine enquiries etc.
6. Indirectness in communication in bad-news letters, persuasion and sales writing
Situations requiring indirectness in response should be studied thoroughly and only
thereafter response should be made;
The situations requiring indirectness in approach could be any one of these
- Refusal of request for credit adjustment
- Refusal of request for credit terms for sale
- Other indirect letters like job applications, lodging complaints with suppliers, sales
follow-

up letters etc.
Steps involved in indirect response
- Beginning with words that indicate response to the request and are neutral to the answer
- Presenting justification or reasons for refusal using positive language and you-viewpoint
- Refusing clearly and positively and including a counter-proposal or compromise
wherever possible
- Ending with an adapted goodwill comment
Different types of indirect letters like persuasive requests or sales letters
Persuasive requests
- Opening with words that set up the strategy and gain attention
- Presenting the strategy (the persuasion), using persuasive language and you-viewpoint
- Making the request clearly and without negatives either at the end of the letter or
followed by words that re-iterate the persuasive appeal.
Sales letters
- Gaining favourable attention in the opening
- Creating desire by presenting the appeal, emphasising supporting facts and emphasising
reader view-point
- Including all necessary information using a coordinated sales package (brochure,
leaflets etc.)
- Drive for the sale by urging action and recalling the main appeal
- Possibly adding a postscript
7. Other Business Messages Memorandum, Fax/E-Mail etc.
Other Business Messages include the following
Collection letters to customers
Claim letters for adjustment on monies payable by customers
Intra-office memorandum, i.e., within the same organisation, from one department to
another department, one division to another division, branch to head office and viceversa, from the management to concerned (all) departments, divisions, offices, branches
etc. in the form of instructions, policies/directives etc.
Orders that begin with a clear authorisation and containing an orderly arrangement of
units, descriptions, prices etc.
Fax/e-mail messages, which are becoming critical means of communication in modern
business
Of the above, collection letters, claim letters and orders are separately dealt with.
Features of Memorandum Fax/E-mail
Memorandum

Intra-office communication is in the form of memorandum. Although oral communication,


i.e., face-to-face communication either in person or over phone is preferable in most
situations, it may not be possible or desirable always. For example, you want your
communication to be recorded for future reference. At the same time, as the receiver is
within the same organisation, a formal letter is not called for. Under the circumstances, you
may use what is common in modern business, Memorandum.
Different types of memorandum Routine enquiries and routine responses (Direct in
nature), Policy memorandums and directives (Direct in nature), Bad news memorandums
(Indirect in nature), Persuasive memorandums (Indirect in nature), Memorandums for file
(for future reference or use and without addressing it to any person even within the same
organisation).
While the memorandum is less formal, the contents would be common with the more formal
letters. The structure would be physically different and the style would be less formal. The
memorandum, which is in the form of a report, is outside the scope of this discussion, as
memorandum reports are separately dealt with.
Most of the organisations have got a standard format for memorandum communication. The
format is available in the form of printed stationery. The tile at the top could be any of these
- Memorandum, Inter-Office Correspondence, Office Memo, Interoffice
Communication etc. Below this main heading, come specific spaces provided for routine
details like the date, from whom, to whom, subject matter, copy to ----- etc.
In the case of large organisations, in order to facilitate memorandum to reach destination
early and receive prompt response, the location of the receiver is also added in the body of
the memorandum. Most of the organisations have the practice of sending the memorandum
without the signature of the author of the memorandum.
Fax/E-Mail messages
Fax/E-Mail Etiquette:
Some basic rules of etiquette must be followed for communicating either through fax or by
E-mail. Somehow the impersonal nature and lack of face-to-face contact in fax or e-mail
tempt some writers to be rude. They do tend to violate basic courtesies expected by other
users. Some of the more important rules are listed below:
-

Keeping the line length under 80 characters (and not words) under 72 if possible;

Not to use abusive or offensive language (flaming) that one would not use while
communicating in person;

Not to copy more than a few words from another source;

To give complete credit for others ideas and words;

To ask for permission before forwarding or posting someone elses message to avoid
breaking the writers confidence;

To avoid using all capital letters it is called shouting;

To keep signature concise and not prominent;

To check e-mail regularly;

To be precise in language more than even in formal letters;

If it is a reply to an enquiry, reply in the same order in which enquiry has been received;

To build up the credibility of the organisation and self in that order;

Not to list out excuses for delay in execution of the clients order, but to give firm
indication about possible date of delivery; even if there are genuine reasons, it is
preferable not to give prominence to these, at least in the very first communication, when
the client is annoyed with the delay in execution and/or when the client is not able to
know the reasons therefor;

To underplay exchange of pleasantries like How are You? etc.

If the communication from the other side calls for positive action or a definitive plan, the
reply should contain indication of positive action or a definitive plan;

To ensure that the reply covers all the points of communication;

In the absence of face-to-face contact, need for more emphasis on You-viewpoint than
We-viewpoint;

To consider fully the cultural differences between the sender and the receiver in this type
of communication this could affect the form of greeting, certain expressions, form of
closure etc.;

To summarise the points at the close of the communication, especially if there is a


follow-up action to be done by either or both sides and

If the credibility of the organisation is at stake due to whatever reasons, the e-mail or fax
communication should have a tone of reassurance and confidence building.

1. Adaptation & Selection of Words List of words that are frequently misspelled
A
B (continued)
C (continued)
E (continued)
Abbreviate
Bankruptcy
Compulsory
Endeavour
Absence
Beginning
Consensus
Enforceable
Abundant
Beneficial
Consistency
Enormous
Accessible
Buffet
Contingency
Enthusiastically
Accommodate
Bulletin
Controlling
Entrance
Accompanies
Bibliography
Correspondent
Espionage
Accompaniment
Bookkeeper
Corresponding
Exaggerate
Accumulate
Brochure
Criticise/Criticize
Exaggeration
Accuracy
Benefited
Curriculum
Excel/Excellence
Acknowledgement
Break
D
Exceptionally
Acquaintance
Bureau
Debacle
Exhaustion
Adequately
Business
Debt
Exhibition
Admission
C
Debtor
Exhibitor
Admittance
Calculation
Decadent
Exhilaration
Adolescent
Calendar
Deceit
Existence
Advantageous
Camouflage
Deceive
Exorbitant
Allege
Cancelled
Deference
Expensive
Alliance
Cancellation
Deferred
Extension
Analysis
Catalog/catalogue
Dependent
Exuberant
Analyze/analyse
Catastrophe
Depreciation
Eminent
Anonymous
Category
Description
Environment
Apologetically
Cellar
Desirable
Equipped
Apparatus
Cemetery
Detrimental
Especially
Apparent
Changeable
Dilemma
Experience
Appreciate
Choose
Diligence
F
Appropriate
Chose
Disastrous
Facilitate
Argument
Colossal
Disciple
Facilitator
Arrangement
Column
Discrimination
Familiar
Arrears
Commitment
Dissatisfaction
Familiarly
Ascertain
Committed
Division
Familiarize/familiarise
Association
Committee
Divisive
Fascination
Attendance
Comparative
Definitely
Feasible
Authorise/Authorize Competent
Desperate
Feminine
Auxiliary
Competition
Dictionary
Financier
Awfully
Competitor
Disappearance
Foreign
Accidentally
Complexion
Dissatisfied
Franchise
Amateur
Comptroller
E
Fraud
Appearance
Conceivable
Economical
Fraudulent
Arguing
Concise
Ecstasy
Freight
Arithmetic
Conscience
Effect
Fulfil
Athletic
Conscientious
Efficiency
February
B
Consciousness/Conscious Embarrassment
Forty
Ballet
Consensus
Emphasise/emphasize Fourth

G
Gauge
Grammar
Grievance
Guarantee
Guaranty
Guidance
Generally
Government
H
Harassment
Hereditary
Hindrance
Horizontal
Hygiene
Hypocrisy
Hypothetical
Height
Humorous
Homemade
I
Initial
Ideally
Idiomatic
Illegible
Immediately
Imperative
Implement
Incidentally
Inconvenience
Indemnity
Independent
Indispensable
Inevitable
Inflationary
Influence
Influential
Ingenious
Initial
Inoculate
Innocent
Institution
Intellectual
P (continued)
Particularly
Pastime

I (continued)
Interfere
Interference
Itemize/itemise
Itinerary
Interpretation
Interrupt
Invoice
Irrelevant
Irresistible
Incredible
Interesting
Irresistible
J
Jeopardise
Jeopardy
Judgement
K
Kerosene
Knowledge
Knowledgeable
L
Labelled
Laborious
Legitimate
Leisurely
Liable
Liability
Licence/license
Likelihood
Livelihood
Liquor
Liveable
Loose
Lucrative
Luxurious
Laid
Lead
Led
Lose
Losing
M
Magistrate
Q (continued)
Qualm
Quarrel

M (continued)
Magnificence
Magnificent
Maintain
Maintenance
Majestic
Malicious
Manageable
Mandatory
Manoeuvre
Marketable
Materialism
Measurable
Mediator
Melancholy
Metaphor
Miniature
Miscellaneous
Mischievous
Misspelled
Mortgage
Mosquito
Municipal
Mysterious
Marriage
Mathematics
Miracle
N
Nave
Naivete
Necessary
Necessity
Negligible
Negotiable
Negotiate
Neurotic
Neutral
Ninety
Ninth
Notable
Noticeable
O
Objectionable
R (continued)
Restaurant
Rhythm

O (continued)
Occurrence
Omission
Omitting/Omitted
Opinionated
Option
Outrageous
Overrated
Optimistic
Observant
Occasionally
Occupant
Occurred
P
Picnicking
Plausible
Politician
Possession
Practically
Precede
Precise
Preference
Preferred
Prejudice
Presence
Prestige
Presumption
Prevalent
Privilege
Procedure
Proceed
Propaganda
Prophecy
Prove
Psychology
Pursuant
Pursue
Pageant
Pamphlet
Parallel
Paralysis
Parity
Parliament
S (continued)
Sacrilegious
Seize

Pedestal
Penicillin
Permanent
Permissible
Permitted
Paralyze/Paralyse
Performance
Personal
Personnel
Physical
Possession
Principal
Principle
Probably
Proceed
Professor
Pronunciation
Prophesy
Persistent
Phenomenon
Perspiration
Physician
Q
Qualitative
Quality
Quantify
Quantitative
Quantity
Questionnaire
Quietly
Quit
Quiet
Quite
T (continued)
Tyranny
Than
Then
Their
There
Thorough

Quizzes
R
Rebellion
Rebellious
Receipt
Receive
Recommend
Recommendation
Reconcile
Reconciliation
Recur
Recurrence
Reducible
Reference
Referred
Rehearsal
Reimburse
Reimbursement
Relief
Relieve
Reminiscent
Remit
Remittance
Remitted
Repetition
Representative
Resource
Respectfully
Reputation
Responsibility
Returnable
Reveal
Revelation
U (continued)
Unknown
Unmistakable
Unnatural
Unnecessary
Unscrupulous
Usually

Relevance
Revenue
Routine
Referee
S
Saleable
Schedule
Scientific
Scrutinise
Scrutiny
Separate/Separation
Sergeant
Serviceable
Siege
Significant
Similar
Souvenir
Specifically
Specimen
Sponsor
Statistics
Strategic
Stubbornness
Substantial
Succeed
Succession
Superficial
Superfluous
Superintendent
Supersede
Supervisor
Suppress
Surroundings
V (continued)
Ventilation
Versatile
Vigilance
Villain
Vinegar
Volume

Severely
Sieve
Sophomore
Stationary
Stationery
Studying
Subtle
Successful
Surprise
Susceptible
Symbolic
Symmetrical
Synonymous
T
Tariff
Technical
Technician
Technology
Temperature
Tendency
Theoretical
Tolerance
Tolerant
Tomorrow
Traffic
Tragedy
Tragic
Transcend
Transmit
Transmittal
Transparent
Tried
Twelfth
W (continued)
Wholly
Withhold
Weather
Weird
Writing
Y

Through
Tries
Trouble
Truly
Typically
U
Unanimous
Undoubtedly
Uniform
Universal

Unbelievable
Utterance
V
Vaccine
Vaccinate/Vaccination
Vacuum
Variation
Variety
Vehicle
Vengeance

Vain
Vein
W
Wave
Waiver
Waver
Warranty
Whisper
Whistle
Whole

Yacht
Yawn
Yield
Young
Youth
Z
Zealot
Zealous
Zenith

Commonly confused words


The meaning and spelling of the following words are often confused. It requires practice to use
them appropriately.
Able, capable
Able (adjective) General capacity, physically or mentally
Example He is an able person.
Capable (adjective) Specific capacity for handling a subject, situation or indicates
competence.
Example My leader is capable of handling any unexpected situation.
Accept , except
Accept (verb) to take what is given, to agree to
Example We accept your gift.
We accept your terms of offer.
Except (adverb) excluding, omitting
Example Everybody in our house like coffee excepting me.
Adapt, adopt
Adapt (verb) to change or to adjust
Example As I have recently shifted to Bangalore, I have not yet adapted to the conditions here.
Adopt (verb) to follow, take or choose
Example Have you adopted the resolution? (or) I have adopted Christianity.
Advice, advise
Advice (noun) counsel
Example My sincere advice to you is stop smoking.
Advise (verb) to counsel
Example I advise you not to smoke.
Admit, confess
Admit (verb) to accept a mistake
Example There is nothing wrong in admitting the mistakes in the script.
Confess (verb) to accept committing a crime etc.
Example The accused confessed to the murder.
Advantage, benefit

Advantage (noun) a positive point accruing to a person etc. but refers to


conditions/circumstances
Example I had the advantage of being born in a family of doctors.
Benefit (noun) a positive point accruing to persons from a specific measure or welfare
scheme.
Example What are the benefits of Provident Fund Scheme?
Apparent/evident
Apparent (adjective) appearing to be
Example His illness is apparent.
Evident (adjective) conclusive, based on observations or facts.
Example It is evident that the accused is guilty of murder.
Affect, effect
Affect (verb) to make effect, to influence, to change
Example The change in weather has affected you.
Effect (noun) change, results etc.
Example Continuous exercise has produced wonderful effect on me.
Already, all ready
Already (adverb) even now
Example This portion has been completed already by the previous lecturer.
All ready (adjective) all prepared
Example We are all ready to go on a picnic.
Alternate, alternative
Alternate (verb) to cause to follow by turns, one after the other
Example You have 4 fast bowlers. You require only 2 of them. You will have to alternate
between two groups of 2 each for every match.
(adjective) existing in such a fashion of following by turns, one after the other
Example The alternate flowers in the garland are rose and marigold.
Alternative (adjective) another choice
Example We do not seem to have any other alternative than to surrender to the boys now.
Assent, ascent
Assent (verb) to give approval, to agree; (noun) permission, approval
Example I assented to his request to take my vehicle
The principal gave assent to organise a cultural programme
Ascent (noun) advancement

Example His ascent to the CEO post was rather quick.


Assent, consent
Assent (noun) accord or formal approval
Example The president gave his consent to the ordinance.
Consent (noun) Permission but not formal approval
Example My parents gave their consent to my inter-caste marriage.
Awesome, awful
Awesome (adjective) awe inspiring
Example Siddharta had an awesome personality
Awful (adjective) terrible
Example I had an awful headache.
Between, among
Between (preposition) used to compare one person with another - usually used only for two
persons
Example Ram and Lakshman had discussion between them.
Among (preposition) used in the case of more than two persons
Example It will be difficult to find out Guru among the crowd.
Blunder, mistake, error
Blunder (noun) a serious mistake as applicable to a whole policy, action etc.
Example It was a blunder to order our defence forces to counter LTTE in Sri Lanka.
Mistake (noun) not of a serious nature just as in the case of typographical or clerical mistakes.
Example My English paper contained a lot of spelling mistakes.
Error (noun) a serious mistake in judgement or details of document etc.
Example There were so many errors in my deed of conveyance.
Cite, site, sight
Cite (verb) refer to, state, to serve notice on
Example The professor cited Davids case as an example for extraordinary luck.
The prosecutor cited reasons for dropping the charges against Arvind.
Union Carbide was cited for Anti-Pollution Act violations.
Site (noun) location
Example The site, on which office building is going to come up, is quite close-by.
Sight (noun) scene (verb) to see
Example The place of accident was a ghastly sight

I am not able to sight the ship still.


Change, alter
Change (verb) to discard the old one and make a new one as applicable to the whole
document, plan etc.
Example I have changed my plans of entering Afghanistan from the front; entry will be from
the rear.
Alter (verb) to change only a part of it and not the whole.
Example Have you altered your pant, as it was not fitting properly.
Childish, childlike
Childish (adjective) not behaving in an adult manner although he or she is a grown-up adult.
Example You are childish in behaviour in groups; you want to hog the limelight always.
Childlike (adjective) like a child in matters of taste etc.
Example I am absolutely childlike in my love for ice-cream.
Climate, weather
Climate (noun) atmospheric condition for a given location permanent features
Example Tropical countries experience generally a warm and humid climate.
Weather (noun) atmospheric condition on a day-to-day basis, constantly changing
Example Todays weather is just lousy.
Cloth, clothe
Cloth (noun) fabric, which is not yet stitched
Example When will you purchase cloth for your pant?
Clothe (noun) stitched cloth like a pant, shirt etc. (verb) to make a person wear apparel
Example Have you taken all your clothes for tour?
I do not want to clothe myself only in cotton in winter season.
Complement, compliment
Complement (noun) something that completes (verb) together make a good team
Example Soup is the perfect complement for dinner
Abel and David complement each other in all aspects
Compliment (verb) to say something good about someone (noun) a remark of recognition
Example The teacher complimented the student on excellent showing in the exam.
The Fathers compliment increased my enthusiasm for social work.
Comprehensible, comprehensive
Comprehensible (adjective) understandable

Example His lecture is comprehensible.


Comprehensive (adjective) exhaustive, covering all aspects
Example The guidance notes given for Chemistry are comprehensive.
Congenial, genial
Congenial (adjective) conducive, the desired or suitable
Example The surroundings in our college campus were congenial for studies.
Genial (adjective) of gentle nature, friendly
Example Mr. Atlee was a genial person.
Conscious, conscientious, consensus
Conscious (adjective) being fully aware of the consequences, possessing internal knowledge,
with full awareness etc.
Example The decision to go to Bombay for career development was a conscious one
Conscientious (adjective) in accordance with the voice of conscience
Example The decision to ban outside players in the team was a conscientious one.
Consensus (noun) voluntarily a group of persons agreeing to a course of action without any
direction or force by authority, unanimity
Example The meeting decided by consensus that the party would not field any candidate in
South Calcutta constituency.
Conscious, aware
Conscious (adjective) Please refer to the previous example.
Aware (adjective) possessing knowledge of things going on outside
Example Are you aware of the standards in English of the new MBA batch?
Consul, council, counsel
Consul (noun) foreign embassy official
Example The Consul from UK is away in the USA.
Council (noun) official body.
Example In India, the official body in a town is called Municipal Council.
Counsel (noun) legal advisor (verb) to advise
Example Adams is the Counsel for the defence.
I do not want to counsel you on this sensitive matter.
Decrease, diminish
Decrease (verb) to reduce but without assigning reasons thereof
Example The population in Norway is decreasing.

Diminish (verb) to reduce due to reasons which are known


Example The tiger population in India is diminishing due to illegal killing by poachers.
Deficient, defective
Deficient (adjective) lacking in a particular aspect
Example The food is deficient in proteins.
Defective (adjective) containing defects of manufacturing, not perfect etc.
Example This shoe is defective.
Deny, refuse
Deny (verb) to declare a statement about oneself as untrue.
Example The minister denies all allegations of corruption against him.
Refuse (verb) not to be inclined to give permission etc.
Example My parents refused permission for my inter-caste marriage.
Dissent, descent, descend
Dissent (noun) disagreement
Example The captain expressed dissent on the selection of the team.
Descent (noun) decline, fall
Example The descent of Brazils economy was steep.
Descend (verb) to come down
Example We had to descend 5000 feet to reach the base camp.
Disinterested, uninterested
Disinterested (adjective) being impartial, without being interested in any of the involved
parties
Example Anybody sitting on judgement should be disinterested in all the involved parties.
Uninterested (adjective) lacking interest
Example The students are uninterested in the subject.
Distinct, distinctive
Distinct (adjective) definite, of significance
Example The Indica Car of the Tatas has distinct features.
Distinctive (adjective) which is exclusive
Example That bungalow is indeed distinctive
Distinction, difference
Distinction (noun) an act of distinguishing
Example I secured distinction in Mathematics

Difference (noun) dissimilarity


Example The difference in status between the two parties is quite obvious.
Doubt, suspect
Doubt (verb) it is just a feeling, not convinced fully
Example I doubt his intentions in this game.
Suspect - (verb) it is based on certain conviction or knowledge or evidence
Example Alex was the prime suspect in the murder case.
Envy, jealousy
Envy (noun) in a good humoured manner without any ill-feeling
Example His phenomenal achievement is everybodys envy.
Jealousy (noun) envy which is accompanied with ill-feeling of not possessing or not achieving
Example The neighbours were jealous of Shyams richness.
Excuse, forgive, pardon
Excuse (verb) applicable to a mistake, i.e., routine in nature or clerical in nature
Example The professor excused our late-coming today.
Forgive (verb) applicable to an error, as an error of judgement etc.
Example The father forgave his son for his impudence.
Pardon (verb) as applicable in the case of a crime or offence like killing a person
Example The President pardoned the criminal, considering that he is physically handicapped.
Exception, exceptional
Exception (noun) not conforming to a stated observation or rule
(noun) taking strong objection to an observation or utterance
Example Ram is an exception to the rule that youngsters are always in a hurry.
I took exception to your statement that I was always wavering.
Exceptional (adjective) extraordinary, outstanding
Example He has made exceptional efforts in achieving unity in the housing society.
Fewer, less
Fewer (adjective) lower in number, used for individual units and numbers
Example We have fewer examples of honesty in the society than in the past
We have fewer families residing in the locality than last year
Less (adjective) reduced amount (used for quantities)
Example The sugar distributed under ration this month is less than last month
The profit this year is less than last year.

Few and a few


Few (adjective) insignificant number
Example There were few members in the Church today for morning prayers.
A few (adjective) not many in numbers but definitely more significant than few
Example There were a few members in the congregation who opposed the move.
Forego, forgo
Forego (verb) to go before, precede
Example It is a foregone conclusion who will emerge victorious in the forthcoming polls.
Forgo (verb) to give up
Example I forwent the option of exercising Rights issue.
Formerly, formally
Formerly (adverb) previously
Example He was formerly the Governor of Reserve Bank of India.
Formally (adverb) officially
Example Tendulkar was formally selected as Captain of The Indian Cricket Team.
Freedom, liberty
Freedom (noun) permanent and applicable to a larger entity like a nation also
Example Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed to all citizens in
India.
Liberty (noun) freedom for a specific purpose, temporary
Example You are at liberty to choose any topic for presentation.
Good, well
Good (adjective) it tells about quality of a person or a thing, say competence
Example Ram is a good human being
Well (adjective) good in health or appearance
Example My mother is well now.
Gracious, graceful
Gracious (adjective) merciful
Example The Judgement was gracious, considering the extraordinary circumstances of the
accused.
Graceful (adjective) full of grace, elegance
Example The groundstrokes of Monica Seles are graceful.

Hard, hardly
Hard (adjective) tough like in hard substance, difficult to break or solve as in the case of a
problem.
Example Diamond is a hard substance
Hardly (adverb) rarely
Example He studies hardly, meaning thereby he studies once in a while but not regularly.
Heartily, wholeheartedly
Heartily (adverb) with enthusiasm
Example The crowd welcomed the proposal of the politician heartily.
Wholeheartedly (adverb) without any reservation, fully
Example The Prime Minister wholeheartedly supported the move to make high school
education compulsory for all Indians.
Honorary, honourable
Honorary (adjective) not being paid for the work done
Example He is the honorary treasurer of our trust.
Honourable (adjective) full of honour
Example The judge is a honourable person.
Human, humane
Human (adjective) relating to mankind
Example The foreign pharmaceutical companies have used human guinea pigs in Asia to test
their new formulations.
Humane (adjective) sympathetic
Example Servants at home need humane treatment.
Imply, infer
Imply (verb) to suggest, indicate
Example Why do you imply that I have changed completely after marriage?
Infer To deduce from evidence
Example We infer from the data available that Bangalore is the costliest city in the South.
In and at
In (preposition) denoting a large place in which a person or a place is located.
Example I live in Pune
At (preposition) but denoting precise position or location

Example I live at Fatima Nagar in Pune


Its, its
Its a contraction form for it has or it is
Example Its been a tough decision for Azharuddin to quit playing.
Its quite a nice place for the week-ends.
Its possessive form of the pronoun it
Example Our cow is sick. Its stomach is upset.
Judicial, judicious
Judicial (adjective) relating to judiciary, law, court or judge
Example A judicial probe has been ordered into the incident.
Judicious (adjective) of sound judgement
Example Vajpayee made judicious move on nuclear explosion.
Later, latter
Later (adverb) after a little time
Example I will see the file later; not now.
Latter (adjective) the last mentioned of the two items
Example Ram and Rahim are good individuals; the latter is a philanthropist too.
Lay, lie
Lay (verb present tense) to place something or to put or (verb past tense for lie)
Example Lay the table properly for dinner
The child lay there on the table helplessly.
Lie (verb) to tell a lie or to rest or recline
Example I generally lie about my age to members of opposite sex.
Are you going to lie down now or going out for shopping?
Limit, limitation (both as nouns)
Limit boundary, line beyond which you cannot operate
Example There should be a limit to ragging in professional colleges
Limitation Constraint in operation or execution
Example In our group we have a limitation in dealing with Japanese delegation, as most of us
do not know that language.
Little, a little
Little (adjective) small in size
Example Shyam is a little boy.
(adverb) practically nothing
Example I know little French.

A little (adverb) not very much but something


Example I know a little French.
Lose, loose, loss
Lose (verb) to misplace
Example I have the habit to lose my purse very often
Loose (adjective) not tight, not fastened (adverb) release
Example The screw is loose on this cap
You have let him loose on this project
Loss (noun) deprivation, what one has lost seriously
Example The untimely death of Sirdar Vallabhai Patel was indeed a great loss to the young
nation.
Middle, centre
Middle (adjective) when a session or a match is in progress approx. to the extent of 50% (not
exact)
Example The professor would not tolerate any interruption in the middle of the class.
Centre (noun) the middle-point of anything that can be measured like a playground, length of
a room etc. (unlike middle, this is exact and measurable)
Example Radius is measured from the centre of a circle.
Moral, morale
Moral (adjective) conforming to what is right as held by a society, religion etc.
(noun) a lesson from an experience, incident etc.
Example (adjective) Bigamy is a moral issue in the Hindu Society.
(noun) The moral of the incident is that we should not fall prey to the designs of
politicians in the matter of communal harmony.
Morale (noun) condition relating to pride, discipline etc.
Example The morale of the Indian Davis Cup Team was very high after victory over
Switzerland.
Naught, nought
Naught (noun) nothing
Example All your efforts have been set at naught by the latest development.
Nought (numerical) Zero
Necessity, need
Necessity (noun) of daily need, a permanent need
Example Food is a necessity.

Need (noun) more of a temporary nature


Example I need a pair of new shoes.
Neglect, negligence
Neglect (noun) being in a state when there is no attention being paid
(verb) not to pay attention
Example (noun) The department of company affairs is in a state of neglect due to political
uncertainty.
(verb) One can neglect ones health at a high cost.
Negligence (noun) careless, not obeying call of duty
Example The thief could enter the society due to the negligence of security staff.
Past, passed
Past (adjective) preceding
Example You were talking with the past president of our Club.
Passed (verb) went by, gone by (past tense of pass)
Example The parade passed us just now.
Pending, impending
Pending (adjective) incomplete
Example We should finish off all pending work by tomorrow.
Impending (adjective) imminent, inevitable
Example At this rate of losses, the company will face shortly an impending financial doom.
Personal, personnel
Personal (adjective) individual, private
Example I have a personal assistant to help me with mail.
Personnel (noun) a department or a division in an organisation dealing with human resources
Example The personnel department is housed in the new building.
Persuade, convince
Persuade (verb) to influence someone to do the desired action
Example The BCCI had to persuade Tendulkar to accept the captaincy of Indian Cricket Team.
Convince (verb) to prove to someone with facts and figures, to make someone see reason in
an argument
Example I could not convince you about the potential of Indian Cricket Team.
Plenty, abundant

Plenty (adjective) enough


Example There is plenty of provision at home for all of us.
Abundant (adjective) more than enough
Example The supply of mangoes is abundant this year.
Practise, practice
Practise (verb) to repeatedly do a thing
Example You have to practise a lot to master written communication.
Practice (noun) the art of practising
Example Pete Sampras puts in rigorous practice to stay at the top.
Practical, practicable
Practical (adjective) Action-oriented
Example Americans are very practical in their approach to life.
Practicable (adjective) can be put into practice
Example The suggestion given by you is not practicable.
Precede, proceed
Precede (verb) to go before
Example Mani preceded me in promotion.
Proceed (verb) to go ahead
Example I have got green signal to proceed with my plans.
Principal, principle
Principal (noun) the head of a school, college, first person (adjective) main, foremost
Example The principal of the school has recently taken over.
Raj is the principal reason for the phenomenal success of this travel agency.
Principle (noun) rule, standard sometimes set for oneself also
Example Archimedes principle is one of the basic laws in Physics.
Quiet, quite
Quiet (adjective) silent
Example Richmond town is a quiet place.
Quite (adverb) completely or to a considerable degree
Example I quite agree with you on this count.
Rise, raise

Rise (verb) to go up, to grow; (noun) the growth


Example The sun rises in the East.
The rise of Rome was unprecedented.
Raise (verb) to make someone go up; to rear (noun) an increase
Example You raise your ward properly or else you will be held responsible for his behaviour in
the society.
The workers are going on strike asking for a raise in the wages.
Rare, scarce
Rare (adjective) Not usually available or found
Example Iridium is a rare metal
Scarce (adjective) not available in adequate quantities
Example Water is a scarce commodity in Rajasthan.
Recollect, remember
Recollect (verb) to bring to mind with an effort a piece of information or past learning
Example I could not recollect his face.
Remember (verb) to retain in memory
Example I do not remember having seen you.
Regretful, regrettable
Regretful (adjective) Full of regret for a misdeed
Example His attitude was appropriately regretful.
Regrettable (adjective) An action or attitude that should be regretted
Example The outburst of violence on the part of minority is regrettable.
Respectful, respectable
Respectful (adjective) An attitude which is full of respect or respect giving.
Example He is always respectful to elders.
Respectable (adjective) Worthy of respect
Example He is a highly respectable man.
Stationary, stationery
Stationary (adjective) still, unmoving
Example My car rammed into a stationary truck.
Stationery (noun) an item that is used regularly for writing etc. paper
Example Stationery items are purchased once in a month in my office.

Supplementary and complementary


Supplementary (adjective) additive, in addition to
Example The efforts of this team are supplementary to the efforts taken in the past by the other
team. (additional and in the same direction)
Complementary (adjective) supporting each other, filling the gaps in one another trying to
create a wholesome lot
Example Marketing and finance fields are complementary to each other. Life partners who
have same personality traits (negative) may not be complementary to each other.
Sure, certain
Sure (adjective) reliable, absolutely dependable like in the case of facts
Example Are you sure about your figures?
Certain (adjective) reliable, positive to happen as in the case of an event
Example I am certain that India will win the tournament.
Terrific, terrible
Terrific (adjective) wonderful
Example Sachins six was a terrific shot
Terrible (adjective) unforgivable, serious
Example It was a terrible mistake to have opted for first batting on a rain-affected pitch.
Than, then
Than (conjunction) comparative degree when two things are compared with each other
Example I am taller than you are at least by 2 inches.
Then (adverb) in that case, next (noun) at that point of time
Example You want to catch the train; then you better leave immediately.
She finished her call and then kept the receiver back in its place.
I will be at home by then.
That, which
That (conjunction) used to introduce a clause that expresses a supposed or actual fact, a
purpose, a result, or a cause. It is used as a pointer. The information added is usually essential
to the meaning of the sentence.
Example I hear that Switzerland is a fine place for tourism.
Your statement proves the fact that Harry is not reliable.
Malakpet is the place that does not have a policestation still.
Which (pronoun) used to refer to a specific noun or a pronoun in a sentence; often the
information introduced is not essential for the meaning of the sentence.
Example You are now carrying the bag, in which there was a cockroach the other day.

Will, shall
Will (verb) simple future
Example I will do it.
Shall (verb) definitive future, almost a command at times
Example We shall do it (determination). You shall do it (command)
There, their
There (adverb) that place as opposed to a place near the speaker
Example I will go there to fetch vegetables for a week.
Their (possessive form) of they
Example This is their house.
Whos, whose
Whos = contraction form for who has and who is.
Whose = possessive form of who.
Youre, your
Youre = contraction form for you are or you were.
Your = Possessive form of you.

For effective communication, it is preferable to use concrete words in the place of abstract
ones.
Abstract words
A significant loss in production
The majority of employees in the organisation
For this capital expenditure we require
substantial amount.
This should be delivered in the near future.
The contract comes to an end by mid-June
Our modernisation programme envisages
installation of labour saving machines.
Ours is one of the leading manufacturers of
abrasives in India.

Concrete words
A 35% loss in production
About 70% of the employees in the organisation
For this capital expenditure we require around a
million rupees.
This should be delivered within 48 hours.
The contract comes to an end by 18/06/99.
Our modernisation programme envisages
installation of automatic machines, which will
reduce the workforce by 120.
In the field of abrasives in India, we are counted
among the top ten manufacturers.

Complex Words Vs. Simple Words


Complex words
Abbreviate
Aggregate
Commence
Conceptualise
Conjecture
Expedite
Demonstrate
Viable

Simple words
Shorten
Total
Start
Conceive, think of
Guess
Speed up
Show
Workable

Familiar Vs. Unfamiliar words


Most of use exhibit the tendency to use unfamiliar words instead of familiar words, only because
we have seen such unfamiliar words in business communication; unconsciously we
pick them up without realising that familiar words are preferable from the receivers
point of view. The following examples will illustrate the need for use of familiar
words.
Unfamiliar words
At elevated temperatures, this machine does
exhibit a tendency to develop excessive and
unpleasant audio symptoms.
The most operative assembly-line configuration
is an unidirectional flow.
The conclusion ascertained from a perusal of
pertinent data is that a lucrative market exists for
the product.
This antiquated mechanism is ineffectual for an
accelerated assembly-line operation.

Familiar words
This machine tends to get noisy at high
temperatures.
The most efficient assembly-line is a one-way
flow.
The data studied show that the product is in good
demand.
The process is not suitable for fast assembly line.

Company operations for the preceding


accounting period terminated with a substantial
deficit.

The company lost much money last year.

Avoiding sexist words


Word selection would be complete only if we mention about sexist words. By and by, men
and women professionals would like to be treated on par with each other and to help achieve this
effect in our communication, proper choice of words, which are not sexist is a must. We
must avoid words, which have been by convention masculine in gender or suggest male
dominance. The following examples will amplify this quality.
Sexist
Man-made fabrics
Manpower
Congressman
Businessman
Mailman
Policeman
Fireman
Fisherman
Chairman
Salesman
Authoress
Poetess
Lady lawyer
Cameraman
If a customer pays in time, he is considered A
rated customer.
When an unauthorised employee enters the
security area, he is subject to dismissal.
A supervisor is responsible for any production
loss if he is negligent.
When a customer needs service, it is his right to
ask for it.

Non-sexist
Manufactured fabrics, fabrics of human origin
Personnel, workers
Congressperson, members of congress,
representative
Businessperson, business executive
Mail person, mail carrier, letter carrier
Police officer
Fire-fighter
Fisher
Chairperson
Sales person, sales executive
Author
Poet
Lawyer
Camera operator
A customer who pays in time is considered A
rated customer.
Any unauthorised employee who enters the
security area is subject to dismissal.
A supervisor who is negligent is responsible for
production loss.
When a customer needs service, it is the
customers right to ask for it.

Note: We can achieve the non-sexist effect in our writing in another manner also that is, by
using the plural form. For example, if customers pay in time, they are considered A rated
customers. Alternatively, wherever possible, a neutral pronoun may be used like one etc. The
usage of he or she is not recommended to avoid clumsiness in construction of sentences.
Action Verbs Vs. Camouflaged Verbs
In communication, it is preferable to use action verbs rather than camouflaged verbs.
Action verb means direct and active voice while camouflaged verb mostly is indirect and
involves passive voice. Action verb is direct, as the subject is not an inanimate object like it
etc. but the person who does the action; a camouflaged verb on the other hand, the verb

describing the action is converted into its noun form. The following examples will make the
difference clear between action verb and camouflaged verb.
Action Verb
Acquire
Appear
Apply
Appraise
Assist
Discuss
Reconcile
Investigate
Record
Liquidate
Resolve
End
Promote
Meet
Summarise
Consider

Noun Form
Acquisition
Appearance
Application
Appraisal
Assistance
Discussion
Reconciliation
Investigation
Recording
Liquidation
Resolution
End
Promotion
Meeting
Summary
Consideration

Wording of Camouflaged Verb


Make an acquisition
Make an appearance
Make an application
Make an appraisal
Give assistance to
Have a discussion
Effect a reconciliation
Make an investigation
Make a recording
Effect a liquidation
Bring to resolution
Bring to an end
Give a promotion
Hold a meeting
Provide a summary of
Take into consideration

Similarly for effective communication, it is preferable to use active verbs over passive
verbs.
Passive verb usage
Sales were effected to the tune of Rs. ---The desired changes were implemented by the
staff.
Adoption of certain villages has been done by
the company with a view to develop them.
It could be seen by one and all that the attempt is
futile to ring in progress.
The necessary corrective steps have been taken.
All the suggested changes have been accepted
by the members of the committee.
The machinery has been installed
It was resolved by the executive committee that
they should raise more funds for the
organisation.
The pilferage from the factory was seen by so
many workers.
It has been decided by the management that this
year too the bonus would be 10%
The terms of exchange of workers were agreed
upon by the delegates of the two groups.
Production has been started

Active verb usage


We have recorded sales of Rs.----------The staff implemented all the desired changes
The company has adopted certain villages for
development.
All of us could see that the attempt is futile to
ring in progress.
We have taken the necessary corrective steps.
The members of the committee have accepted all
the suggested changes.
We have installed the machinery.
The executive committee resolved that it would
raise more funds for the organisation.
A number of workers saw the pilferage from the
factory.
The management has decided to stick to 10%
bonus this year too.
The delegates of the two groups agreed upon the
terms of exchange of workers.
Production has commenced.

It does not mean that active voice is wrong or does not have its place or use in communication.
It surely has its place when the subject is not important or not to be disclosed or it is newspaper
reporting, which is called reporting style of communication. Following examples will clarify
the need for passive voice.
When the subject is not important
Oil is refined in Bombay High. (By whom is irrelevant here)
When the subject is not to be disclosed
Complaints are being received about your irregularity. (From whom is not to be disclosed)
Newspaper reporting
It has been noticed that of late the spate of murders in Mumbai has increased two-fold.
2. Caring for expressions
Oft repeated expressions/hackneyed expressions Vs. Simpler relatives
Following are some of the examples of hackneyed expressions that we commonly use in our
written communication without any second thought (means we are so much used to these
expressions) along with their simpler relatives.
Oft repeated/hackneyed expression

Simpler relatives

Please be informed that your application is


receiving our attention.
The inconvenience caused to you is regretted
very much and we hasten to assure you that such
inconvenience will not recur in future.
We wish to inform you that we have not
received your claim for settlement and hence the
same is not yet processed or settled.
Kindly inform us as soon as the needful is done
in the matter.

We are processing your application.

You may call on the undersigned on any


working day.
We enclose herewith a copy of the report for
your kind perusal and necessary action.
You are requested to expedite the matter and
furnish a detailed report on the same.
Enclosed herewith please find the directors
report.
We are desirous of acquiring the automatic lathe
manufactured by you.
Pursuant to our letter dated 14/05/99 in reply to
your query regarding presence of toxic elements
present in your sample (batch no. 1235), we
wish to inform you that the following toxic
elements are present, as per our QC department

We regret the inconvenience caused to you in


this behalf. May we assure you that it will not
recur again
We have not received your claim for settlement.
As soon as it is received we shall expedite its
settlement.
Will you please confirm action in this behalf?
(OR)
We look forward to receiving your confirmation.
You are welcome to meet me on any working
day.
We enclose a copy of the report. Please report to
us action taken on the report.
Please let us have your report soon (OR) as early
as possible, say within the next week/ten days.
We enclose the directors report.
We wish to buy the automatic lathe
manufactured by you.
We refer to our letter of 14/05/99. Our QC
department has tested your sample. A copy of
the report is enclosed. The toxic elements
present in the sample are as under:

report.
We are in receipt of your letter dated 22/08/99
and thank you for the same.
We await an early compliance with the rules and
regulations by your office.
You may be rest assured that any information
that you will pass on to us will be kept in the
strictest confidence by us.
We beg to advise you that our off-season sales
will commence on the 5th of October.
While acknowledging the receipt of your letter
dated 22/08/99, this is to intimate that the matter
of higher commission is being looked into and a
detailed letter from our end may please be
awaited.
You have not yet sent us samples of your new
product, Trion.

We thank you for prompt reply reference letter


dated 22/08/99.
Please confirm immediately compliance with the
rules and regulations by your office.
We assure you that any information that you may
pass on to us will be kept confidential.
Our off-season sales will open on the 5th of
October.
Thank you for your letter dated 22/08/99. We
are deliberating the matter of higher commission
to our agents. You will hear from us soon.

Could we have some samples of your new


product, Trion? In case you have already sent
them, please ignore this letter.
We hope that our prices are very competitive and We are confident that our prices are competitive.
shall be grateful to receive your valued order for Please appreciate that there is a lot of value
butterfly valves.
addition in our product. We look forward to
receiving your order for butterfly valves.
Thanks and assuring you of our best services at
We assure you of the highest standards of
all times.
service.
This is with reference to the telecon the
Thank you for speaking to our ---- on telephone
undersigned had with your goodself on the
on the 12th of this month. We will be glad to
th
above subject on the 12 of this month.
extend our service to your organisation. We do
look forward to your order.
Whilst on the subject, we would like to remind
We were expecting your reply on the subject
you that you had promised to revert to us within within a month. We have not still received your
a months time. However you have not reverted reply. Would you please expedite?
to us on the matter till date.
Your earliest reply will be highly appreciated at
We would thank you for prompt response on the
our end.
matter.
We are enclosing herewith our cheque bearing
We send herewith one cheque for Rs. 1,00,000/no. 88760 of 23/08/99 for Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees (bearing no. 88760 of 23/08/99 and drawn on
one lac only) drawn on South Indian Bank
South Indian Bank, Vijayawada). This is
Limited, Vijayawada in payment of your invoice towards payment of your invoice no. ------ of ---.
no.---- dated ------, which please find in order.
I am to invite your kind attention to our letter
I refer to our letter bearing no. -------- of ------.
bearing no. -------- of -------- and remind you
Payment for our bill of Rs.8000/- is still
that our bill for Rs.8,000/- is still outstanding.
pending. Would you please expedite?
We wish to draw your kind attention to the
May we remind you of the long pending delayed
communication resting on the matter of delayed payment charges of Rs.1200/-? We request you
payment charges to the extent of Rs.1200/- and
to settle this issue at once and close the matter.
request you to settle the same at the earliest and We shall send the stamped receipt once we
oblige.
receive the payment.
If you are not clear on any point, please let us
In case you need clarification on any point, we
know.
will be happy to provide it. (OR)

In case you have any queries, we will be happy


to answer them.
Further to our telecon today morning, I hereby
I thank you for your enquiry about Ethanol
confirm the following terms and conditions for
over telephone today morning. I confirm the
supply of Ethanol.
terms and conditions for supply of this product,
as agreed upon over the phone.
We regret to hear the sudden demise of
We are sorry to hear about the sudden death of
Mr. Peter Gonsalves and our condolences for the your beloved father. It must have been a
same may please be accepted.
shattering blow. Please accept our condolences
in this hour of bereavement.
We are happy to note that we are now in a
We have effected a cut in prices of our middle
position to effect a price reduction to the tune of range products. You will find them more
10% in our middle range products.
competitive than ever in the past.
Vide our covering letter dated 12/05/99, we had We had forwarded to you our monthly returns
forwarded to you our monthly returns along with along with our cheque for Rs.5000/- on
our cheque bearing no. ----- dt. 10/05/99 for
12/05/99.
Rs. 5000/-.
We were caught flatfooted
We were surprised
He shoots from the hip
He acts before he thinks
They could not make head or tail of the report
They could not understand the report
The sales campaign was a flop
The sales campaign was a failure
Take an educated guess on this
Answer this to the best of your knowledge
We will wind up manufacturing operations in
We will end manufacturing operations in
October
October
Your progress report puts us in orbit
We are very much pleased with your progress
report
Cutting out Rubber Stamps i.e., cliches
One should try and avoid using the following expressions, which are often used without a
second thought to it. That is why they are called rubber stamps.
A blessing in disguise
As good as gold
Back against the wall
Call the shots
Last but not the least
Learning the ropes
Leave no stone unturned
To add insult to injury
Given below is a poem on old language of business, which has lost its relevance in
todays business communication.
We beg to advise and wish to state
That yours has arrived of recent date.
We have it before us, its contents noted.
Herewith enclosed, the prices we quoted.
Regarding the matter, and due to the fact
That up until now your order weve lacked,

We hope you will not delay it unduly


And beg to remain yours very truly.
Proper use of idioms

(Anonymous)

Idiom is an expression, i.e., a combination of words, which is apt to describe a feeling,


situation etc. While proper usage of idiom enhances the effect of communication, improper
usage of idiom has just the opposite effect. Hence it is absolutely essential that we are particular
in using proper idiom. The following examples will illustrate this point.
Faulty idiom
Authority about
Comply to
Equally as bad
In search for
Possessed with ability
Seldom or ever
Superior than
In accordance to

Correct idiom
Authority on
Comply with
Equally bad
In search of
Possessed of the ability
Seldom if ever
Superior to
In accordance with

3. Construction of clear sentences and paragraphs.


Emphasis on short sentences
Precision is the quintessence of effective communication. Here is an example of how short and
sweet construction can be in effective communication.
British Parliament Conversation between two members of Parliament and sworn opponents,
Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone
At the height of a particularly bitter argument in the British Parliament, Gladstone asked Disraeli
to define two words that he had used in his attack on Gladstones position: misfortune and
calamity. Taking full advantage of the situation, Disraeli responded, If you were to fall into
the River Thames, Mr. Gladstone, that would be a misfortune. If someone were to pull you out,
that would be a calamity. This is height of precision.
We know that short sentences are more effective than long ones. How short should the
sentences be? Is there any standard? The answer is no. However, it is generally accepted that
sentences, for optimum effectiveness, should not exceed 16 to 18 words. This again depends
upon our readers. In case the readers are more intellectually aware, longer sentences may be
tried, while less than average readers will prefer still shorter sentences.
Two word verbs and suggested shorter substitutes
Alongside needless repetition, let us also have a look at how we can substitute commonly used
two word expressions with one word expression.
Two-Word Verbs

Suggested Substitutes

Give up
Speed up, hurry up
Go on, keep on
Put off
Take off
Come down
Blow up
Figure out
Take out, take away
Go back, get back

Surrender
Accelerate
Continue
Defer
Depart, remove
Descend
Explode
Solve
Remove
Return

Long words in communication and their short/simple cousins.


Long Words
They acceded to our proposition on expansion.
During the preceding year the firm operated at a
financial deficit.
The decision on capital expenditure was based
on the assumption that an abundance of
monetary resources was expected.
Definitive action was effected subsequent to
your visit.

Short and Simple Words


They accepted our proposal regarding
expansion.
Last year the firm incurred loss.
The decision on capital expenditure was based
on the indication that there would be ample
funds.
Final action was taken after your visit.

Other reasons for long sentences and means of avoiding them


Sentences become long because of :
1. Cluttering phrases
2. Surplus words
3. Roundabout construction
4. Needless repetition or redundancy etc.
We will see examples for each of the above.
Cluttering phrases
Cluttering phrase
Along the lines of
At the present time
For the purpose of
For the reason that
In accordance with
In the meantime
In the near future
In the neighbourhood of
In view of the fact that

Effective substitute
Like
Now or at present
For
Because, since
By
Meanwhile
Soon
About, around
Since, because

On the basis of
With regard to, with reference to
With a view to
On the occasion of
In very few cases

By
About
To
On
Seldom

Surplus words
Containing surplus words
He ordered chairs that are of executive class.
I am prepared to report to the effect that our
profits are dwindling.
His track record has been outstanding enough to
enable him to get this promotion.
There are six norms to be observed while
applying for a bank loan.
It will be noted that the records for the past years
show a steady increase in allocation for bonus.
In the period when I was on leave the factory
was on strike.
The building that was damaged by fire is being
repaired.

After eliminating surplus words


He ordered executive chairs.
I am prepared to report that our profits are
dwindling.
His track record has been outstanding enough to
get this promotion.
Six norms should be observed while applying for
a bank loan.
The records for past years show a steady
increase in allocation for bonus.
During my leave the factory was on strike.
The building damaged by fire is being repaired.

During World War II, President Roosevelt had received the following draft of an order for
approvaL
Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and nonFederal buildings occupied by the Federal Government during an air raid for any period of time
from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination. Such obscuration may be obtained
either by blackout construction or by termination of the illumination. This will, of course,
require that in building areas in which production must continue during the blackout,
construction must be provided that internal illumination may continue. Other areas, whether or
not occupied by personnel, may be obscured by terminating the illumination.
President Roosevelt had sent the following approved draft:
Tell them that in buildings where they have to keep work going, to put something across the
window. In buildings where they can afford to let the work stop for a while, turn out the lights.
(Source not known)
Roundabout construction
Roundabout construction
The budgetary estimate can be observed to be
increasing disproportionately every year.
The management is at present involved in the
task of reviewing the grades of non-unionised
staff.

Direct and to the point


The budgetary estimate increases
disproportionately every year.
The management is reviewing the grades of nonunionised staff.

The chairman is of the opinion that the


negotiations are progressing satisfactorily.
It is essential that traffic regulations are adhered
to strictly.
It is the managing committees opinion that the
proposal is not practical.
The supervisory staff should be held responsible
for taking appropriate action to determine
whether time cards are being inspected or not.
The recent price increase in products will afford
the organisation an opportunity to absorb the
higher interest cost and selling expenses.
Snobbery means assuming superiority to
everyone you are in contact with.
During the time I was employed with M/S Dorr
and Sons, I did not take a single days leave.
In the event we do not receive payment for the
outstanding bills by the next fortnight, we will
not effect any delivery of the pending orders.
Notwithstanding the fact that they received
external help, they did not succeed in achieving
the target for the year.
The bill was for an amount of Rs.1,00,000/-

The chairman believes that the negotiations are


progressing satisfactorily.
Traffic regulations must be adhered to strictly.
The managing committee feels that the proposal
is not practical.
The supervisory staff is to be responsible for
determining whether time cards are being
inspected.
The recent price increase in products will enable
the organisation to absorb the higher interest cost
and selling expenses.
Snobbery means assuming superiority to
everyone you meet.
When I was employed with M/S Dorr and Sons,
I did not take leave even for a day.
If we do not receive payment for the outstanding
bills by the next fortnight, we will not despatch
any further material.
They could not succeed in achieving the target
for the year despite external help.
The bill was for Rs.1,00,000/-

To avoid needless repetition


Needless repetition should not be confused with words repeated for emphasis. The following
examples will drive home this point.
Needless repetition
Modern, up to date facilities will be available at
our resort.
He reported for duty on the 23rd inst. in the
morning at 7.00 A.M.
The important essentials must not be
overlooked.
The consensus of opinion is that the recent hike
in sales tax is unfair.
At the present moment we are running two
hospitals.
We should plan for the future.
Absolutely essential.
Close proximity
Revert back to
Return back
Current status
Small in size
Large in size

Revised version
Modern facilities will be available at our resort.
He reported for duty on the 23rd of this month at
7.00 A.M.
The essentials should not be overlooked.
The consensus is that the recent hike in sales tax
is unfair.
Now we are running two hospitals.
We should plan.
Essential
Near
Revert to
Return
Status
Small
Large

Personal opinion
Necessary requisite
New breakthrough
Different varieties
Many varieties
Exactly identical
Enclose herewith
Comprise of
Ponder over

Opinion
Requisite
Breakthrough
Varieties
Varieties
Identical
Enclose
Comprise
Ponder

Unity of sentences
The ideas contained in various sentences in written communication should be arranged in a
logical sequence so that the reader or the second party to the communication receives the
message in a wholesome manner. If ideas remain unrelated to each other, congruity is lost. We
can bring about this unity in sentences by any one of the three basic ways as under:
1. You can put the ideas in separate sentences and arrange them in a logical sequence.
2. You can make one idea subordinate to another in one sentence.
3. You can add words that show how the ideas are related or linked to each other.
The following examples will illustrate this emphatically.
1. Mr. Srihari is our new Regional Chief and he is from Calcutta.
Revised, these two ideas will be in two sentences as under:
Mr. Srihari is our new Regional Chief. He is from Calcutta.
2. Another way of expressing the same will be to make one the subordinate to the other as
under:
Mr. Srihari, who is our new Regional Chief is from Calcutta.
3. A third way of bringing about unity of sentences is to add words to link up two or more
ideas. This is evident in the second example which goes as under:
Last year we had increased sales revenue and our profits dwindled.
These two should be presented as being related. We can achieve this in the following
manner.
Alternative I - In spite of increase in sales revenue last year, our profits dwindled
(emphasis on reduction in profit)
Alternative II Last year, although the profits dwindled, our sales revenue increased
(emphasis on increase in sales revenue)
4. Further examples of unrelated sentences and how they could be related:
Unrelated
Our territory is the vast southern half of the
country and our salespeople cannot cover it
thoroughly.
Operation of the new CNC machine is simple,
but no machine will work unless it is

Related or improved
Our territory, the southern half of the country is
vast and hence our salespeople cannot cover it
thoroughly.
Operation of the new CNC machine is simple;
but like any machine, it will not work well

maintained.
Our focus is on bacterial vaccines and 80% of
our business is from them.
Girls required for attending telephone of
pleasant voice and smart appearance.
Wanted special reclining chairs for old people
with sliding back and adjustable legs.

unless it is maintained.
As a result of our focus on bacterial vaccines,
80% of our business comes from them
Girls with pleasant voice and smart appearance
required as telephone operators.
Wanted for old people, special reclining chairs
with sliding back and adjustable legs.

Illogical construction
Illogical construction can rob sentences of unity. An example The first part of the sentence is
in active voice while the second part of the sentence is in passive voice. We conducted the
negotiation and the decision was implemented. Unity can be achieved by converting both the
parts into active voice. Changed sentence is We conducted the negotiation and implemented
the decision.
Further examples of illogical construction and corrected version
Illogical construction
Knowing that he failed to see reason for the
slump in sales, we permitted him another chance
to promote sales.
I have never known a person who is so much
interested in helping his colleagues who have
got into personal problems, which cause them
worry.
My graduation was completed in 1991 and then
I joined Sarabhai Chemicals as medical
representative.

Improved version
As he failed to see reason for the slump in sales,
we permitted him another chance to promote
sales.
I have never known a person who is so much
interested in helping colleagues, who are worried
with their personal problems.
I completed my graduation in 1991 and then
joined Sarabhai Chemicals as medical
representative.

4. Need for simple, correct and effective language


Need for use of correct English
English is an alien language. Hence we should be wary of inadvertent errors occurring in our
communication. In case we can avoid these common errors in communication, it would add
tremendous value to our communication in the eyes of the receiver. Some examples of the
common errors that occur in our communication are given below:
Incorrect use
Works Plural of work
Advices Plural of advice
Strategies as plural for Strategy
Datas as plural for data

Correct use
Pieces of work as works means production
plant.
Pieces of advice
Strategy is plural and singular form is stratagem
Data is plural and singular form is datum

Walkable distance
Could be able to
Dispose off the case
Due to the rains the programme could not be
held
I am in Pune since the past 4 months

Supposing if I become the President of our club


----This is indeed a very unique occasion

Walking distance
Could or would be able to
Dispose of the case
Owing to the rains the programme could not be
held (or) the programme could not be held due to
the rains (due to should not commence a
sentence)
I have been here since May 1999. (whenever
since is used verb should be in the form of
have been or has been and the name of the
month should be mentioned)
Supposing (or) if I become the President of our
club ------ (both should not be used)
This is indeed a unique occasion (very should be
avoided)

Need for lively language as opposed to stiff language


The language in a communication should be a speaking language, as though the writer of the
communication is present before us and communicating orally. Lively language makes the
communication vibrant, speaking and personal while stiff language makes it impersonal and
dull. The following examples will illustrate this point.
Dull and Stiff
We beg to inform you that the matter under
correspondence is still under deliberation at our
end and shall communicate to you as soon as a
decision is taken.
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter
along with order for 100 pairs of Bell jeans.
Please be advised that the consignment will be
shipped in accordance with your instructions by
TCI Desk To Desk Courier on 20th September.
Herewith enclosed please find ------I hope this meets with your approval.
Kindly advise at an early date ------I deem it advisable -------

Friendly and Conversational


We are sorry that your request for higher
commission is long pending. We hope to take a
final decision in a day or two and shall
communicate the same to you.
We thank you for order for 100 pairs of Bell
jeans. We will despatch the consignment on 20th
September through Desk To Desk Courier.
We enclose ------I hope you approve.
Please let me know soon ------I suggest -------

Need for positive language in the place of negative language


Although 2 negatives convey a positive meaning, it is preferable to be direct by using positive
language. For example Swimming is not prohibited (2 negatives) instead, one positive,
swimming is permitted. The following examples will illustrate this point further.
Negative
Positive
Your order did not enclose the required
In order to enable us to process your order, may
specifications.
we have your specifications immediately?
Smoking is not permitted anywhere else
Smoking is permitted only in the lobby.

excepting in the lobby


We cannot deliver till next Monday
Your complaint about quality in our last supply
is not supported by any evidence
We regret to inform you that your request for
credit cannot be considered at present
You ought to have read our instructions properly
for using our minidryer. Your complaint is not
sustainable as you do not seem to have followed
our instructions strictly.
Our cookies do not stick to your teeth and gums
unlike most of the cookies in the market.

We can deliver next Monday


In order to respond to your complaint, may we
have specific problem with as many details as
you can provide?
We request you to purchase on cash terms at
present. Your request for credit will be reviewed
within the next months.
We have examined your complaint about our
minidryer. Our experience is that whenever
water enters the minidryer, there is a strong
possibility of short-circuiting. May we suggest
that you follow instructions meticulously to
avoid such inconvenience to you in future?
Our cookies are so soft and nice that they melt in
your mouth; they do not spoil your teeth and
gums.

We-Viewpoint Vs. You-Viewpoint


Consider the following sentencesI am happy to inform you that we have reduced prices of our major products.
You will be happy to know that we have reduced prices of our major products.
While the former one is from We-viewpoint, the latter is from you-viewpoint.
In communication empathy is symbolised by you-viewpoint.
The following examples amply tell the difference between we-viewpoint and you-viewpoint.
We-Viewpoint
We are in receipt of your order for 200 sets of
dinner table items. We offer at a special price of
Rs.800/- per set.
We have received your report of 20th August
1999.
We have put up with delay in receiving payment
from you for quite some time now. We cannot
wait any longer. Hence we demand that payment
be made immediately of outstanding bills.
We have shipped 100 pairs of soft lenses as per
your order on the 20th of August.
I have ten years experience in Accounts and
hence offer myself as a candidate for the post of
Accountant in your organisation.

You-Viewpoint
We thank you for your order for 200 sets of
dinner table items. The retail price per set is
Rs.1100/-. You can reap a profit of Rs.300/- per
set, as the special price is only Rs.800/- per set.
We thank you for your report of 20/08/99.
You have been enjoying credit on purchases
from us for the past 3 years. Of late your bills
show substantial outstanding beyond the credit
period. We suggest that you clear the outstanding
bills immediately and continue to enjoy credit on
purchases.
You will be receiving 100 pairs of soft lenses
within 48 hours. In case of delay please do
contact us immediately.
Your advertisement for the post of Accountant
specifies requirement of minimum experience in
selected areas. I possess the requisite practical
experience of 10 years in these areas. Hence I
am confident that I will meet your requirements.

We request you to cross any cheques that you


may give to your customer in settlement of dues
and mark Account Payee also, if required.

We are happy to announce a 5% reduction on all


our brands of T-Shirts.
We make Wilkinson razors in three weights
light medium and heavy.

In order protect your interest, it is safer to cross


any cheques given to your customers. Crossing
indicates that the cheques cannot be encashed
over the counter, but collected only through bank
accounts. At times you may desire that the
payment should go only to the beneficiary and
none else. You may mark such cheques
Account Payee also.
You will be happy to know that with immediate
effect all our brands of T-Shirts will come to you
cheaper by 5%.
Beards can be soft or tough. To help you choose
the kind of razor that is just right for your beard,
Wilkinson razors come in three weights light,
medium and heavy.

Reports
Reports require exclusive handling and hence are dealt with separately.
There are different kinds of reports Sales Report, Report of a technical nature, i.e., Technical
Features of a Product, Statistics Report on any matter, like number of workers absent per shift
etc., Progress Report on Projects (under execution on behalf of clients), Implementation Report
of an Industrial Project, Investigation Report on a department, fraud etc., Systems Report,
Management Information System Report, Feasibility Report of a Strategic Business Unit
(SBU)/Internal Business Unit (IBU), Division, Department, Manufacturing Unit, Branch, Sales
and Marketing Centres Detailed Project Report etc.
Considering mode of presentation of reports, there are different kinds of reports The Short
Reports, Reports in the form of Memorandum and Long and Formal Reports.
Fundamentals of Report Writing
Basics
- Determining the purpose of the report
-

Determining the factors

Gathering the information needed

Interpreting the findings

- Organising the Report Information Division by Conventional system or Decimal


system,
level-wise, part-wise
-

Writing the Report

Collaborative Report Writing

Report Structure The Shorter & Longer Forms


-

Length and formality determine the following general progression of report structure

The very long ones have many pages devoted to the preliminary section, like the Title
Page, Table of Contents, Executive Summary, etc. It has Title Fly for each title.

As reports become shorter and less formal, the compositions of the preliminary section
progressively reduces in the following order
First the title fly drops out
Then the executive summary goes out
And lastly the table of contents is also omitted

Points of difference between short reports and long and formal ones
Short reports have less need for introductory material;
They are more likely to begin directly, i.e., conclusion and recommendation first

They are more likely to use personal style


Use of graphics is nil or very limited in short reports
A plan for structural coherence may not be required in the case of short reports
-

Contents of short report (less formal)


Title page and report text
Summary or conclusion at the beginning
Findings and Analyses

Features of reports in the form of letters


They are written in the indirect order
They are organised much like the longer reports

- Features of memorandum reports


They are written for an by people within an organisation
Memorandum report is the most common report form
- Five most common special reports
The staff report
A progress report on any activity
The audit reports of accounts as per norms and in the prescribed format
The technical report
Proposals for bank borrowing, merger etc.
- Contents and structure of a long and formal report
Title fly page displaying only the titles of various sections of the report
Title page a page displaying the title, identification of writer and recipient and date.
Letter of authorization included only when a letter (or memorandum) authorizes the
report
Letter of transmittal a letter (or memorandum) transmitting the report (a foreword or
Preface in very long and highly formal papers)
Table of contents
Executive summary the report in brief
The report proper with all sections, sub-sections, headings, sub-headings etc.
Closure of the report - A summary or a conclusion or a recommendation as the case may
be.
An appendix and/or bibliography wherever required
Long reports need a structural coherence plan. They are called helpers.
These helpers consist of a network of explanations, introductions, summaries and
conclusions that guide the reader through the report;
It is preferable to begin the coherence plan with the introduction preview, which tells the
structure of the report;

Then use the introductions and summaries in following parts to tell the readers where
they are in this structure;
At the end bring together preceding information, analyses and conclusions to reach the
report goal and
It is desirable to make these coherence helpers inconspicuous that is, make them appear
to be a natural part of the message.

Myths and routine practices in business letter writing


Let us study the following letter

Killixon Engineering Limited


122, Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002

Ref. No. KXN/PUR/99-00/102


To:

Dt.: 22/06/99

Messr
s

Qutab Steels Limited,

105, Green Valley,


New Delhi 110 006
Mr. G.
Paul, Manager
General (Marketing)
Attention:Attention:
Mr. G. Paul
General
Manager (Marketing)
Dear Sirs,
Sub: Supply of 100 Tonnes of 10 mm strips and 25 tonnes of
Steel strips for packaging Non-receipt of material at our
end

Our Ref: Purchase order No. KIXON/99-00/18 dated 20/04/99


Your Ref: QSL/SR/23 dt. 30/04/99 & QSL/SR/33 dt. 20/06/99

When your representative took the order in the month of April 1999, we were given assurance
that the supplies would be effected within 3 weeks. Although we had other suppliers, the order
was given to you, considering our past relationship. Further, we had planned our delivery
schedule, based on this assurance.

However, we have not received the supplies till date. We do not know what you are doing about
the delivery. You cannot even imagine what we are going through with our customers due to
the slippage in deliveries. We have been forced to face this situation only due to your
negligence. We further note with regret that your last letter dated 15/06/99 does mention about
delivery immediately but so far nothing has happened.
Under the circumstances, we do not have any alternative other than to cancel the order
immediately. Please do not effect any supplies under our purchase order 18 dated 10/04/99 and
arrange to return the advance money of Rs.53,000/- immediately.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,

For Killixon Engineering Limited,

Manager (Purchases)

C.C.: Mr. Dewan,

Let us examine all the points that have been encircled in the letter:
1. To There is no need to prefix To before writing the address of the receiver. As the letter
is being sent on our letter-head our address is given at the top. This means that the other
address given in the letter is that of the receiver and hence there is no need for writing To.
2. Date It has been conventional practice to prefix the actual date of the letter with the words
date. It has lost its relevance now in business correspondence. It is obvious that the date of
the letter is put at the right hand top corner of any letter and hence no need to prefix the
actual date with the words date.
3. Messrs These words are appropriate in the case of partnership firms in general and those
that bear the names of the partners in particular. It is incorrect to address a limited company
to address in this fashion, as a limited company is a separate legal entity and it is proper to
address it as The; if not, merely stating the name of the company will suffice.
4. Attention, for kind attention of these have ceased to be the style of modern business
communication. To address the letter in the personal name of the receiver, stating his
position, if necessary, is increasingly accepted. This practice makes the letters that much

more personal and warmer. However, if the situation warrants addressing the organisation,
i.e., when the receiver company insists upon this procedure, it should be done. Thus,
wherever possible, it is worthwhile to find out the names of the receivers so that we can have
not only proper address but also proper salutation as is discussed in the subsequent point.
Care should be taken to address routine letters, for example, letter enclosing cheque etc. to
the concerned departments, rather than to the officials.
5. Salutation Dear Sirs this will also change along with the change in the name of the
receiver. Whenever the letter is addressed to the individuals, it is appropriate to use either
Dear Mr. --------- (in the case of males) or Dear Ms. ------- (in the case of females). In
order to avoid confusion and mistake regarding the marital status of females, nowadays it is
the practice to use Ms. uniformly, which is common for Missus as well as Miss. We can use
Dear Sir or Madam in case the receivers are well above in status and/or age; use of
Dear madam is avoidable. Further, a word of caution about names the names should be
spelt properly and names being misspelt is an avoidable situation. The efforts taken for
finding out the exact spelling of the names of the individuals are worth the trouble, for a
number of individuals are sensitive about their names being misspelt. In case the
communication is addressed to a professional, like doctor, professor etc. it would be
appropriate to address as Dear Doctor, Dear Professor etc. in the place of routine forms of
salutations like, Dear Sir Or Madam.
6. The specimen letter contains a lot of information between the salutation and the contents.
This is avoidable as the readers interest will get progressively reduced with the length of the
intervening lines. A subject line to draw the attention of the receiver to the topic of
communication is warranted, but it should be short like in this case, STEEL STRIPS
DELAY IN SUPPLY would suffice. A subject line should never be flabby.
7. Reference to letters from both sides The reference to letters need not be prominent and
occupying so much space. In case it is necessary to draw the attention of the reader to
reference number of relevant communication in the past, it may be given in the opening lines
of the letter. We may just refer to their letter of ----- (date) and leave it at that; in case it is felt
necessary to give all details of reference letter, the number can be given in brackets after
giving the date of the letter. However, in case of correspondence with Government
departments, it may be necessary to give full details of pending correspondence, without
which perhaps, the linkage may not be available or letter may not be attended to. The current
practice is not to use any label for the subject line, like Sub or Ref, as these are
perceived to be insulting to the intelligence of the reader.
8. We do not know ------------------ negligence However provoking the delay is, these
words are to be avoided in a written communication. These may be told orally, if found
needed for effect. For all we know, we may be forced to go back to them for supplies at a
later date due to the then prevailing market conditions and by using such intemperate
language, we are closing the doors for future relationship, if required.
9. Thanking you at least in this letter, looking at its tone, these words are totally misplaced.
Even otherwise, the phrase, thanking you is a routine closure for any letter without
application of mind on its relevance and does not convey any gratitude on the part of the
writer from the writer. In case we want to convey our gratitude, the same should find a
suitable place in the body of the letter, perhaps in the opening lines and not at the close. In
case we want to reiterate our thanks, the same could be expressed again in a complete
sentence towards the close of the letter, although it is not necessary. We may start the letter
as follows We thank you for your prompt action in refunding the amount, we thank you
for co-operation and sincere attitude etc.

10. As the letter is typed out on the letter-head of the company, it is understood that the signatory
is signing on behalf of Killixon Engineering Limited. Hence there is no need to type out For
Killixon Engineering Limited before signing; instead the designation of the person signing
the letter is very important.
11. Yours sincerely This is called a complimentary close. A recent development in the
USA through Administrative Management Society (AMS) is to dispense with both
salutation and complimentary close in business letters. The practice is yet to find wide
acceptance. The combination of salutation and complimentary close is given below:
Salutation
Sir
Madam
Dear Sir
Dear Sirs
Dear Madam

Matching complimentary close


)
)
)
)
)

Dear Mr. Singh


Dear Ms. Rao
Dear Dr. Bhave
Dear Professor Pillai
Dear Ashok
Dear Priya
Dear PR

)
)
)

Yours faithfully/yours truly

)
)
)
)

Yours sincerely

(Yours) Cordially/(yours) Sincerely


(Yours may be omitted)

Note: The complimentary close expressions such as yours obediently, yours friendly
etc. have become obsolete in modern business and as such are to be avoided. A formal q
letter should not end with the expression with warm regards or regards or a
related variant. A personal and informal letter may end with the expression with warm
regards or regards or related variant.
12. After signature, the name of the writer should be given within brackets so that the writer is
identified and in response from the receiver, if needed, the name can be used. Further, some
of the signatures are not decipherable and hence it is only appropriate that the name of the
writer is given within the brackets, just beneath the signature of the sender.
13. C.C. Mr. Dewan Who is Mr. Dewan? How will the reader understand the relevance of
enclosing a copy of the letter to Mr. Dewan? The designation of Mr. Dewan should be given
so that the reader is able to link the act of enclosing and most likely endorse a copy of his
response also to the same person. Further it is preferable to mention copy instead of c.c.
Lastly, there is a concept of blind copy. This is used wherever the sender does not want other
readers to know that he has endorsed a copy of the letter to the person whose name is given
against blind copy. Suppose you want to send a copy of the letter under reference to Mr.
Dewan but does not want
Mr. Paul, the receiver to know about this, you will send a blind copy to Mr. Dewan and
mention on the copy blind copy: Mr. Dewan.
Note: This letter does not contain any enclosures. In case any document is enclosed and
reference is made to the enclosure in the letter, it is preferable to list out the items enclosed
separately, under enclosure at the foot of the letter, as its last item, for ready reference and

easy verification. If the number of enclosures is more, it is advisable to number them also. The
usage of as above or a/a against enclosure is to be avoided, as we are stating the obvious.
Now that we have examined the various aspects of the letter, we could see the revised/improved
version of the same letter.
Revised version of the same letter

Killixon Engineering Limited


122, Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002
KXN/PUR/99-00/ 102
June 22, 1999
Mr. G. Paul
Manager - Marketing
105, Green Valley
New Delhi 110 006
Dear Mr. Paul,
STEEL STRIPS : DELAY IN SUPPLY
When your representative took the order in the month of April 1999, we were given assurance
that the supplies would be effected within 3 weeks. Although we had other suppliers, the order
was given to you, considering our past relationship. Further, we had planned our delivery
schedule, based on this assurance.
However, we have not received the supplies till date. You will appreciate that based on your
assurance of timely supplies, we had committed to our clients, in turn. We are slipping on our
deliveries for want of steel strips. Hence we request you to expedite despatch without any
further delay and advise shipping details over fax/e-mail.
You have always been prompt in supplies in the past and we are confident that you will be able
to make up for the lost time now also. We will appreciate your indicating immediately upon
receipt of this letter, the likely date of despatch of material. As a measure of goodwill, we
suggest that if possible, you can double the quantity against the same advance of Rs.53,000/and confirm the supply to us. You may despatch the balance quantity after 3 weeks.
Yours sincerely,
O.J. Patel
Manager (Purchases)
Copy: Mr. Dewan, General Manager Plant & Production

Note:
1. When you use an acronym or an abbreviated form of a pronoun like Mr, Mrs or Ms, you do
not have to put a full stop after the abbreviated word, as the first and the last alphabets
indicate respectively the first and the last alphabets in the full form. In other cases like
Professor or February, the abbreviated forms are Prof. and Feb. respectively and hence it is
essential that after the abbreviated forms, the full stop be put.
2. The block format is being increasingly used in modern business. The above letter has been
written in this format. Some of the features of block format are as follows:
No indentation for a new paragraph;
No punctuation marks after the salutation and complimentary close;
All non-essential punctuation marks are dropped in the block format;
Date is next to reference on the left
The word reference does not prefix the reference number and
All lines are aligned to the left margin.
3. If we read the third paragraph, we find that we are appreciative of the past service given by
the supplier. Herein, we tickle the ego of the receiver despite strong cause for complaint.
This only shows the need for empathising and adopting You viewpoint instead of We
viewpoint. For all we know, the delay may be for the very first time and blowing our top
will prove to be counter-productive, especially in a market situation where the demand is
more than supply.
4. If You viewpoint is important even when We viewpoint could have been accepted by the
reader/receiver, the need for this viewpoint is all the more critical in letters in which we
market or try to persuade the receiver/responder to accept the writers stand.
5. This letter conforms to all the buzzwords given earlier in the course material, namely
WORM and KISS.
Written communication exercises
1. A chemical plant in Roha, Maharashtra writes to a supplier of automation system, for
handling their fluids to and from the factory. In the past, they had tried one or two systems
supplied by manufacturers in Bombay, but the system was not leakage-proof. The company
has written a letter to the prospective supplier. This letter has been reproduced and is being
circulated among the participants. It does not conform to modern business correspondence
etiquette. You are required to rewrite the letter, making the necessary corrections. (Page nos.
62/63).
2. You are writing a thanks giving letter to a company to whom you paid a visit, consequent
to enquiry about your product. You are supplying corrugated boxes of different gauges. The
letter has been reproduced and is being circulated among the participants. It requires
correction/modification. You are required to rewrite the letter, making the necessary
corrections. (Page nos. 66-72).

3. You are heading the finance and accounts department in your company. You have a serious
problem with bills submitted to you for re-imbursement or settlement of advance money
given by your department. You are desirous of writing a memo to all the departmental heads
in this behalf. The memo has been reproduced and is being circulated among the
participants. The memo requires correction. You are required to rewrite the memo. (page nos.
87).
4. Your company deals in fast moving consumer goods. You are the general manager
(marketing). You have three distributors in Delhi. Your regional office in Delhi recommends
appointment of a 4th distributor in Delhi. You feel that there is no need for it. You write a
memo in which you strongly question the wisdom of appointing the 4th distributor. The
memo is perceived as ego bashing. You are given the memo for redoing it. (Page nos. 9193).
5. You are running a cable network for TV Satellite Channels. You want to increase the
monthly rent from your customers. You are taking out a circular to your customers. The
circular letter is reproduced. It requires correction. You are required to correct it. (Page nos.
100-102).
6. You are the manager in a reputed hotel in charge of customer service. A customer who has
stayed with you has left a suggestion card complaining about the food in one of the famous
restaurants in the hotel. You are writing to the customer. The letter requires modification. It
is reproduced here. You are required to correct it. (Page nos. 122/123).
7. You are the training manager in your company. Recently a training programme was
concluded on performance management by ABC Corporate Consultants and Training
House. You are writing a letter thanking them for the wonderful training. A cryptic version of
the letter is enclosed. You are required to rewrite the letter bringing in all the positive aspects
of the training programme. (Page nos. 136,137)
8. You are a purchase manager in the company. You are unhappy with the recent consignment
of strapping wires supplied by a manufacturer. You write a letter to them. The letter is very
humiliating to the receiver. On second thoughts, you want to revise it. How will you revise
it?
(Page nos. 141 and 143)
9. You are automobile dealer in two wheelers. You have received a complaint regarding a two
wheeler sold by you. The customer is slightly bitter about it. How do you respond to the
customers letter? Your brand is otherwise a reputed brand. (Page Nos. 154 and 155). The
letter requires correction. Please carry out the corrections.
10. You have recently joined a company as executive. The company encourages suggestions
from one and all. You have completed one year and have observed 4/5 areas in which the
company can improve. You write a memorandum to the Senior Manager about this. The
memo requires correction. (Bala has to create)
Your business letter: Ten checkpoints
1. Structure Is it logical?
2. Orientation Is it reader-oriented? Does it project You viewpoint or We viewpoint?

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Is it longer than one page? Is it too brief?


Is the communication complete?
Is the style appropriate for the occasion?
Is the tone courteous and friendly?
How is the language? Is it simple and grammatically correct?
Does the letter look attractive? this includes all the non-verbal aspects of communication
like paper, format, margin, space at the top and space at the bottom etc.
9. Is the letter written in a worn out manner or is it lively?
10. Is it effective? Suppose you were to be the receiver, would you be happy with the letter?