The AMA Handbook of Business Letters

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

APPENDIX I

Words to Watch

The words and phrases listed in this appendix are often used incorrectly in correspondence.

acknowledge with thanks or acknowledge receipt of Using the words "thank you" is a more direct way of expressing gratitude after receiving something.

affect versus effect When used as verbs, "affect" means "to influence"; "effect" means "to accomplish." Both words can also be used as nouns. "Affect," as a noun, is usually used only in a psychological context. When the construction calls for a noun, and you are not using the word in a psychological sense, you will almost always use "effect."

aforesaid Write "named" or "mentioned earlier."

after the conclusion of Write "after."

along these lines Another trite expression to avoid.

allude versus elude You allude to a piece of literature. You elude someone who is chasing you.

a lot Always written as two words. (Avoid the common mistake italicized in the epigraph to Part III.)

alternative Means the choice between two possibilities. In constructions such as "no other alternative," the word "other" is unnecessary.

amounting to or in the amount of Write "for" or "of" or "totalling."

and/or Avoid the use of "and/or" unless it is absolutely necessary as a legal term. It destroys the flow of a sentence and causes confusion or ambiguity.

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