Thursday, July 9, 2009

Use a Positive Tone

Your writing will be more successful if you focus on positive wording rather than negative since words that affect your reader positively are likely to produce the response you want. A positive emphasis helps persuade the reader and creates goodwill. In contrast, negative words may generate resistance.

- Avoid judgmental words such as “you claim,” “failed to, “neglected to,” and “lack of.”

- Avoid words with negative connotations such as no, do not, refuse, and stop and words that convey unhappy or unpleasant associations such as unfortunately, unable to, cannot, mistake, problem, error, damage, loss, and failure.

In a few cases, you may want to use the negative for emphasis. There is a difference in tone between the contracted form and the two-word form--“can’t” and “cannot” or “don't” and “do not.”

Negative: In response to your question about how many units are needed to meet minimum graduation requirements, I regret to report that you are two short of the requirement.

Positive: In response to your question about how many units are need for graduation, students need 48 units to qualify for graduation. Our records show that you have earned 46 units. Two additional units will be required to for graduation. If you have any questions or want to discuss this, please contact me.

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