Spelling Squad on the beat.

There is no problem with using “Hello” or “Hi” in writing your business email. Business writing is about writing as you would speak. Effective business writing is about building rapport. Hello and Hi are natural and friendly words to greet your readers in a manner that is less formal than the Dear _____, salutation you use for traditional letters. If the circumstances and the audience are appropriate, go ahead and use them.

Of course, this greeting is best used for readers you can call by their first names. Drop the formal titles of Mr., Mrs., and Ms.

The problem we normally encounter with using such greetings is the way we punctuate them.

Some people write it this way:

Hi Dennis,

They think that since this is as a substitute for Dear ___, we should follow the punctuation. Insert loud and irritating buzzer sound here to indicate it’s wrong.

The proper way to punctuate this salutation is this:

Hi, Dennis.

This follows the punctuation rule of enclosing in commas the name of the person you’re writing to. For example:

Yes, Sammy, we will meet on Saturday.

No, Carol.

So, my dear readers, hello and goodbye for now. I hope to be back here soon.

I am alive. I am still fighting the good fight. I have infiltrated a den of grammar bandits involved in everything from minor punctuation misdemeanors to gruesome language murders. Some crimes are truly heinous.

Yes, I'm back to teaching sophomores. There are not enough doughnuts in the world to make grammar pulis's job easier.

I will be back. Please be patient with me.

To write persuasively, you must establish your credibility. Acknowledging your expertise, without sounding pompous and boastful, would help. Talking about your information sources and the amount of research you’ve done, without boring your readers with the methods and research minutiae, would also go a long way. The content, the tone, and the writing style also matter.

Here are four things you can do to write credibly and persuasively:

SPECIFY – Avoid sweeping declarations or vague assertions that people call motherhood statements. Do you really think people would believe you when you say you are striving for world peace? How about talking about how you are serving as a peacemaker by being a mediator in your barangay meetings? Be specific. Paint as precise a picture as possible so that your readers can visualize something real, something tangible.

TESTIFY – Submit testimony. Yours and others’. Always establish that the testimony is borne out of personal experience. Give specific names and dates. Use quotation marks, and make sure you have the testifier’s permission. There is nothing wrong with editing the testimony for syntax and conciseness, but make sure you don’t tamper with the quotes so much that veracity is sacrificed.

AMPLIFY – Bring the focus closer by giving examples to illustrate your point. When you say your resort has 5-star amenities, then enumerate what those facilities are. Better yet, focus on the benefits they will get by patronizing your establishment.

QUANTIFY – Hard data is almost always better than words. Use the language of numbers. Using superlatives like best, most, highest, biggest can ring false; your reader might doubt you or ignore your claims as exaggerations. But saying you have been voted Retailer of the Year for 3 consecutive years since 2007 or that you are the number 1 reseller of XYZ laptops outselling your closest competitor by 207% would better catch their attention and aid their retention.

Remember: In writing persuasively, remember the STAQ formula: Specify, Testify, Amplify, Quantify.

I know, I know. I've been absent for some time now. I took a break from the computer and went to the farthest place I could go to. Here:

I have to admit that I would die a mini-death if PowerPoint were to be taken away from me. As a trainer, I have come to rely on PowerPoint as a convenient, portable, teaching aid. It also enables the sharing of other media like videos and even interactive games.

Maybe I exaggerate when I say that I consider PowerPoint an art form. I enjoy designing attractive and effective slides. Sadly, not every presenter puts the same effort.

This clip is one of my favorite YouTube videos. It is funny. And it resonates with me, reminding me of some really horrid PowerPoint viewing experiences. Enjoy it and learn from it.

If the video link does not work, copy and paste this URL:

You ask: Which is the correct answer for: Who wants to go? I OR ME?.

Grammar Pulis Answers: The correct answer is: I.

I won't go through the rules of subject and object nouns this time. Some people hear the word rule, and they run away.

The simple and quick way to know the right answer is to answer in a complete sentence.

I want to go.
Me want to go.

If there's anyone who thinks it's the latter, then you're on the right blog site. Welcome! I'm here to help you figure out this confusing world of grammar. Read on, learn, and enjoy. :)

So the correct pronoun is I. But you're going to sound strange saying, "I!" I is just not a loner word. It needs company.

If you want to be a stickler, then you may say the whole sentence:
I want to go.

Or more briefly:
I do.

But, here's my little secret. If speed is an issue, and you need to shout out your answer forcefully, for example somebody says, "Who wants to go to with George Clooney to an all-expense-paid trip to Maldives?" By all means, shout, "Me! Me! Me!" Flail your arms around and jump up and down so that you are noticed. Now is not the time to bother with grammar.


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