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Back to Grammar Basics

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GrammarDo you want your newsletters, emails and marketing materials to stand out? The key to telling your organization’s story in an engaging way is strong, persuasive communications. Before you can master the subject line or the catchy campaign slogan, you’ve got to get back to basics. Did you know that there are simple grammar rules you may have learned in grade school that you can still use today to make your words jump off the page and move your audience to action? Check out these three helpful strategies:

  1. Lights, Camera, ACTION
    Let’s start from square one. What are the essential elements of an (English) sentence? No, seriously! As a recap from English class, a basic sentence is composed of a subject performing an action. A great tip for making your writing stronger is to make sure that your noun (subject) and your verb (action) are as close together and as near the beginning of the sentence as possible.
    Instead of “For our clients in peak-season, our not-for-profit has greatly simplified the renewal process”
    Try this: “Our not-for-profit has simplified the renewal process for our clients during peak-season.”
  2. Trim the Fat
    Avoid using filler words/phrases like “just”, or “this” and the verb “to be”. Filler words and weak verbs make your writing more tentative and less confident (unless you wish specifically to be indirect or subtle).
    Instead of “I am just contacting you to see if you are a user of the online version of our application form. This is the most efficient method to process your payment”
    Try this: “I am contacting you to see if you use the online version of our application form, which makes payments more efficient.”
  3. Keep it Simple
    Use simple words and sentences to get straight to the point, especially if your communication is going to a broad audience. Complex and lengthy sentences can confuse people and risks the message getting lost.

Instead of: “Our clients fathom how to utilize our services to best attain their personal objectives.
Try this: “Our clients understand how to use our services to help them achieve their personal goals”

These simple tips will improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing and communications with your stakeholders, making it easier for them to grasp your message and take the action you want. Test them out on your next email today!

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