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Back Away From the Pronouns!

While pronouns have their place in the work world, writers want to maintain precision with their e-mails and memos to avoid confusion. So while I will concur that using pronouns can avoid verboseness, here are two pronouns to use sparingly and the reasons why.

1. Be precise rather than use “it.”

If your memo reads, “I need to have a meeting at 10am; it’s important” readers are left wondering what exactly is so crucial.

Instead, be precise and explain what the meeting is about, so attendees can be prepared to discuss the subject at hand.

Revised: “I need to have a meeting at 10am to discuss the restrictions being placed on travel.” Once you explain what the meeting is about, people will understand the urgency.

Furthermore, avoiding “it” avoids redundancy.

Repetitive: “I enjoy discussing finance reform-I find it fascinating!”

Concise: “I find discussing finance reform fascinating!” Your enjoyment is already implied, and you have been judicious with your words-nice work!

2. Explain who is the illusive “they.”

Often, co-workers refer to an unknown “they.” For example, “they want us to avoid photos on the cubicles” or “they demand that we always wear shirts and ties to work.”

Pinpointing exactly who the “they” is can allow individuals to see lines of command clearly and possibly work towards change.

“Margaret, the office manager, prefers no photos on the cubicles.”

“The top-tier managers for our support team insist that we wear shirts and ties to work each day.”

Now you know who to talk to when requesting the dog picture on your wall or a more casual Friday dress code!

Note: If you like my use of vocabulary words like verboseness, concur, judicious, or illusive, check out my blog VocabGal.com to find out how I teach vocabulary and what awesome authors think about erudite lexicon!

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Dave Hebert

It’s the little things, Sarah;-) Not only can “they” be illusive, it can be elusive, too. And “they” often want it that way!