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Good writing isn't always correct writing

Posted on July 13, 2006 by Sarah Eaton.

Quick, which sounds better when you read it?

There are a lot of challenges our solution can help with.

There are a lot of challenges with which our solution can help.

One, according to your seventh grade English teacher, could get you thrown in the slammer by the grammar police, but...in some situations it might work better because it sounds less stilted.

Check out this entry on the Big Bad Book Blog.

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July 13, 2006 in audio publication, award winning blog, award winning magazine, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business editorial, business magazine, Business publications, company blog, company newsletter, company newsletter sample, Corporate Blogging, corporate magazine, create a newsletter | Permalink


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I don't mean to be unkind, but neither of them is correct. Both are poorly-written.

Also, when you use the word 'actionable' be aware that in legal terms it means that something is bad enough to be sued for. For example, beating one's grandmother over the head for beer money is 'actionable'.

Using actionable this way is very bad marketing-ese.(Like 'growing' a business. That's also rotten). I'd use a word that conveys the idea of 'motivating'. I don't think you intended to convey the idea that your sales text would serve as the express-lane to a court appearance. The clientele to whom you're addressing your sales pitch may actually be literate, in which case, you're losing yourself some business.

Posted by: ahem | Jul 20, 2006 12:45:36 PM

You're absolutely right--both of those sentences are conversational and casual, and not the kind of sentence that one would necessarily like to see in, say, a proposal.

But that's also the point that I think Erin was trying to make in her blog post on Big Bad Book Blog: that sometimes formality isn't the right avenue to connect with prospects and customers.

As for "actionable" and "grow your business," you're right yet again. But language is ever-changing, and business language is particularly notorious for adopting words for other purposes, or making up words to fit new ideas.

Thanks for your comment!

Posted by: Sarah Eaton | Jul 21, 2006 10:49:23 AM

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