Business Writing Tip #52—A Bit More About Who You Are Writing For

Increasingly English is being used by non-native speakers, particularly in business. What does this mean when you are writing Business English?

It’s really important to remember that not everyone understands everything. When we write for non-native speakers we have to be careful about any idioms we use, and think twice about using long, overly-complex, sentences.

Fiona Talbot, co-author of the excellent book Improve Your Global Business English:The Essential Toolkit for Writing and Communicating across Borders, offers some useful advice. Fiona's book

  • Work out what your main message is before you start to write. If you aren’t clear about what you are trying to say, there’s a chance your reader won’t understand you.
  • Cut out the jargon that people may not understand.
  • Check your word choice to avoid confusion because some terms may not be taught in some countries. For example, use “two weeks” rather than “a fortnight”.
  • Break down chunks of text into bite-sized portions and use captions to help readers find their way through your documents.
  • Double-check your spelling and grammar every time. Mistakes that a native speaker might gloss over quickly and easily can cause frustration for a non-native speaker and prevent you from communicating your message.



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