Avoid These 11 Common Business Writing Mistakes
Using words correctly shows that you have at least half a brain and that you could possibly be turned loose with a multi-million dollar aircraft. In casual conversation we can usually get away with improper usage and poor grammar (did he just say "irregardless"?) without too much grief. But in business writing it's not the case. When you electronically transmit a document with mistakes there is no going back; you've gone on record as being sloppy and somewhat clueless. It's not necessary that your seventh grade English teacher reads your career manifesto because these misusages have a way of annoying the hell out of almost every reader.
The good news is that with a little practice and insight, you can come across as being bright and even professional in your business correspondence. Here is a quick list of a few mistakes in business writing that make you look stupid. Your spell checker isn't going to help you with these because they ARE spelled correctly...but your potential employer will know.
#1: Loose for lose
Incorrect: I always loose my car keys when I'm in a hurry.
Correct: I always lose my car keys when I'm in a hurry.
#2: It's for its (or the highly ridiculed, its')
Incorrect: Download the online application, along with it's instruction file.
Correct: Download the online application, along with its instruction file.
#3: They're for their for there
Incorrect: The HR staff members are in they're weekly planning meeting.
Correct: The HR staff members are in their weekly planning meeting.
Incorrect: Crewmembers must check luggage in Heathrow, and their not happy about it.
Correct: Crewmembers must check luggag
#4: Effect for affect
Incorrect: Two aircraft down for maintenance shouldn't effect pilot schedules.
Correct: Two aircraft down for maintenance shouldn't affect pilot schedules.
Correct: The outage shouldn't have any effect on users.
#5: You're for your
Incorrect: Remember to carry you're pilot license with you.
Correct: Remember to carry your pilot license with you.
Incorrect: Your trying to get an interview.
Correct: You're trying to get an interview.
#6: Different than for different from
Incorrect: This setup is different than the one on the 727.
Correct: This setup is different from the one on the 727.
Correct: This setup is better than the one on the 727.
#7: i.e. for e.g.
Incorrect: Use a career coach during the job search process (i.e., Lori Clark).
Correct: Use a career coach during the job search process (e.g., Lori Clark).
Did you know: The term i.e. means "that is"; e.g. means "for example." And a comma follows both of them.
#8 Lay for lie
Incorrect: After a long trip I just want to lay down.
Correct: After a long trip I just want to lie down.
Correct: Just lay the used trays on the jumpseat.
#9: Then for than
Incorrect: The accounting department had more problems then we did.
Correct: The accounting department had more problems than we did.
#10: Could of, would of for could have, would have
Incorrect: I could of been flying the Space Shuttle by now.
Correct: I could have been flying the Space Shuttle by now.
Incorrect: I would of sent you an interview invitation, but you can't write.
Correct: I would have sent you an interview invitation, but you can't write.
#11: Using text messaging shorthand in business communication.
It's hard to believe that grownups trying to get a job as airline pilots do this, but it does happen. Using shorthand such as: "BTW, LOL, UR, ASAP, FWIW, IMO" or anything that resembles internet shorthand will help ensure that your airline career is taken to the shed and summarily executed.
This is a short list, as there are other common grammar mistakes. Also, as a disclaimer, we at APC are airline pilots-- not grammar cops-- and just don't want any of you to hurt your chances of getting an interview.
Best of luck getting that job!
-Your friends at APC.