The AMA Handbook of Business Letters

By Jeffrey L. Seglin; Edward Coleman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

Grammar

People who have difficulty writing are often so frightened about making a mistake they freeze. Grammar just might be the most frightening element of writing.

You can combat this fear. Relax and try to write as naturally as possible. You'll usually find any grammatical errors when you do a careful proofreading. When I asked one professional how she managed to write such good letters, she replied: "Simple. I have a good secretary." Her secretary filled the role of proofreader. Most people can correct their own errors, however, once they get something down on paper.

Relax. That's the key. If you find you have a real problem with grammar, there are many good, easy-to-understand grammar books that should help you avoid any mistakes you might be making. You'll find a list of these books in the Bibliography of this book.

In Appendix IV, you'll also find a Grammar Hotline Directory, which includes the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of many colleges and universities around the country that offer free grammar advice. Some of these hotlines also have Web sites that provide useful information as well.

Most word-processing programs also feature a grammar check function. While these can be useful, it's still best to know the basic rules of grammar when writing. This chapter gives you the grammar basics you need to create a well-written letter.


Grammar

The rules of grammar define how to speak and write clearly. Most of these rules are logical. Some may not seem as logical as others, but, on the whole,

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