Business Writing Style: Avoid Silly Verbs Morphed from Useful Nouns

by Mary Cullen on Fri, Jun 3, 2011

business writing style no verbification resized 600Don't make the business writing error of taking a useful noun, such as mainstream, or action, and morphing it into a business-speak verb like mainstreamification, or actionize.

Words are alive, and do evolve into new use, but be careful of this. The noun, incentive, is now commonly used in verb form as incentivize. Most dictionaries accept this as a legitimate word. (I must admit, it's not my favorite word choice!)

These odd noun-to-verb morphed words often crop up when business units seek to coin a new process, but these words are incorrect, sound odd to the ear, and ring of insincerity.

Remember, in business writing, "write to express, not to impress." The rhetoric of business writing is information transfer. You want your reader to know or do something, most often to advance a specific business objective. Language clarity brings better reader understanding.

To help your audience understand and act as you wish, avoid any business-speak "verbifications" that devolve from real, valuable words.

Are there any other terms like incentivize, mainstreamification, or actionize you hear, which bother you?

FREE GUIDE How to Correct Business Grammar

Topics: Business Writing Skills

Mary Cullen

About the author

Mary Cullen

Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A in English from the University of Rhode Island, a M.A in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.

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