Error-free writing is essential to effective business communication. Here are three common grammar mistakes in business emails that you can avoid easily by keeping some simple tips in mind.
This one of the most common errors you see in business emails. To avoid this mistake, remember that “it’s” is a contraction or “it is” or “it has” as in “It’s been a pleasure” or “It’s important to keep in mind that you are a guest.”
“Its,” on the other hand, is the possessive form of “it,” and as other possessive pronouns (such as “his” or “hers”) it doesn’t take an apostrophe. For example: “The restaurant offered the same menu in all its locations.”
This common mistake can be avoided easily; it just takes some attention and the right pointers. Here’s what you need to know.
“Then” is an adverb that means “soon after that,” “at that time,” or “as a consequence.” For example: “He looked at me and then said something,” “She was working in insurance then,” “If you are hungry, then let’s have lunch.”
“Than” is a conjunction used to make comparisons as in “She is taller than me,” or “My stopwatch is more accurate than yours.”
Now here’s the trick: if the words that come before imply a comparison (for example, taller, shorter, more beautiful, more interesting), use “than”. If not, then you have to use “then” (like we just did).
Whereas in the previous cases the confusion arises due to the similarities between two terms, here we have three words that are used erroneously because they sound the same. Use these simple tips to decide which word to use.
Their. Possessive pronoun. Use it to indicate possession. “Their car is very fast,” “Their house is down the street.”
There. Adverb. Use it to indicate location. “Se was waiting there already,” “I will see you there tomorrow.”
They’re. Contraction of they + are. “They’re best friends,” “They’re the contractors I work with.” However, in this case it’s worth keeping in mind that contractions are often avoided in business correspondence, so use them sparingly.