When I help my clients develop their professional communication skills, our main focus is often how to present your message; factors like speaking clearly, with an engaging, dynamic voice, and strong bod language can go a very long way towards improving your professional credibility and success. However, what you say can also play a significant role in how you’re perceived in the workplace. Over the past several weeks, we’ve talked about spoken and written errors that can undermine your professionalism and damage your credibility. Today we wrap up our series with three more common grammar and vocabulary errors you may not know you’re making!
i.e. vs. e.g. Both i.e. and e.g. typically show up in parenthesis to clarify an idea. However, they clarify in two different ways. E.g. is used to provide examples, and i.e. is used to say something another way. When deciding which one to use, try to replace the letters with “for example” (e.g.) or “in other words” (i.e.). Check out the next items on our list to see these two in action!
its vs. it’s This rule can be a little tricky since it defies the typical apostrophe rule; usually, apostrophes are used for both contractions (e.g., can’t, won’t, shouldn’t) and possessives (e.g., Jayne’s car, my brother’s house). “It” is an exception. For “it”, an apostrophe is only used with the contraction form of it (i.e., “it is” → “it’s”), not the possessive.
Example 1: When is the meeting? It’s on Tuesday.
Example 2: I don’t like that conference room. Its table is too small.
who vs. whom In short, “who” is used for the person doing something (i.e., the subject) and “whom” is used for the person having something done to them (i.e., the object). If you have trouble telling the difference between the subject and the object, a great way to remember which word to use is to answer your own question with he or him. If the answer is he, use “who”. If the answer is him, use “whom.” For example, in the sentence, “Larry tapped Bob on the shoulder,” Larry is the subject and Bob is the object. We would ask, “Who tapped Bob on the shoulder?” (He tapped Bob,) or “Whom did Larry tap on the shoulder?” (Larry tapped him).
If you have questions or are interested in improving your communication skills, give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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