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Continued: Wilbers: Adapt level of formality to your reader, subject, occasion

  • Article by: STEPHEN WILBERS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 8, 2013 - 2:00 PM

4. I really want to make my goals before I’ve got to turn in my progress report.

5. Prior to her arrival at our firm, she endeavored to diminish the astonishing disparity in remuneration between wage earners and CEOs.

To my ear, sentence 3 is in the middle range, sentences 1 and 5 are formal, and sentences 2 and 4 are informal. Sentences 1, 2, 4, and 5 recast in the middle range might look like this:

1. As we discussed, I think we need to resolve this issue expeditiously.

2. We anticipate a significant increase in fourth-quarter profits.

4. I’m committed to achieving my goals before I submit my progress report.

5. Before joining our firm, she worked to diminish the astonishing disparity in pay between wage earners and CEOs.

So have you dined yet this evening or jeet yet? Or have you had your dinner?

Stephen Wilbers offers training seminars in effective business writing. E-mail him at wilbe004@umn.edu. His website is www.wilbers.com.

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