Business Writing Tip #61—Avoid Stuffy, Outdated Expressions

Today’s tip is a short one.

Unless you want to sound very stuffy and old-fashioned, avoid using words and phrases that are never used in conversation. Or, in other words, if you wouldn’t say it, don’t write it! conversation

Here are some examples of expressions to avoid:

  • Attached herewith…
  • This is to advise you…
  • As per your request…

There are simple, elegant, plain English alternatives which are perfectly polite.

  • I have attached (or enclosed)…
  • I’m writing to let you know… (in some cases you don’t even need this.)
  • As requested…

I think my favourite of all time was when I received a letter which finished with the words

“I remain, Sir, your obedient servant.”

I seriously had to wonder which century I was living in…and why the author addressed me as a man.

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