Category Archives: Languages
What Not to Say in the Workplace
Don’t say: “That’s not my job.”
Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.
Instead say: “I’m not sure that should be my priority right now.” Then have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities.
Don’t say: “This might sound stupid, but…”
Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy language.
Instead say: What’s on your mind. It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.
Don’t say: “I don’t have time to talk to you.”
Why: It’s plain rude, in person or on the phone.
Instead say: “I’m just finishing something up right now. Can I come by when I’m done?” Graciously explain why you can’t talk now, and suggest catching up at an appointed time later. Let phone calls go to voice mail until you can give callers your undivided attention.
Expert: Suzanne Bates, president and chief executive officer of Bates Communications, an executive-training firm in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of Speak Like a CEO (McGraw-Hill, $22, amazon.com).
- Building Your Brand in a New Leadership Role (personalbrandingblog.com)
- 10 Secrets of Successful Leaders (narcisacirstea.wordpress.com)
- What You Need to Know to Be a Successful Leader Today (prsa.org)
What Not to Say to a Single (or Newly Single) Person
Don’t say: “You were too good for him.”
Why: You are basically saying she has bad taste. And you’ll be embarrassed if they ever patch it up.
Instead say: “His loss!” It gets the same point across without disparaging her judgment.
Don’t say: “I’m glad you got rid of him. I never liked him anyway.”
Why: She’ll wonder about your fake adoration for him while they were together.
Instead say: “I’m confident you’ll find someone who will give you exactly what you want.” It focuses on what’s to come, not on the dud you’re glad she’s done with.
Don’t say: “How could someone as perfect as you still be single?”
Why: A statement like this comes off as a backhanded compliment. What she hears is “What’s wrong with you?”
Instead say: “Seeing anyone?” If she’s tight-lipped about her love life, move on to other topics.
Expert: Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills and the author of Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $23, amazon.com).
- How to Say ‘No’ to Gifts (buffalobrides.wordpress.com)
What Not to Say About Pregnancy and Babies
Don’t say: “Are you pregnant?”
Why: You ask, she’s not, and you feel totally embarrassed for essentially pointing out that she’s overweight.
Instead say: “Hello” or “Great to see you” or “You look great.” Anything besides “Are you pregnant?” or “What’s the due date?” will do. Save yourself the humiliation and never ask.
Don’t say: “Do you plan on breast-feeding?”
Why: The issue can be controversial, and she may not want to discuss her decision publicly.
Instead say: Nothing. Unless you’re very close, don’t ask. If you slip, make up for the blunder by adding, “And do you feel comfortable telling me?”
Don’t say: “Were your twins natural?” or “It must have been hard for your child’s birth parent to give him up.”
Why: You’re suggesting that natural conception is better than in vitro fertilization (IVF) or adoption.
Instead say: To a parent of multiples, try a light “Wow, you have your hands full!” To an adoptive parent, say the same stuff you would to any other parent: “She’s adorable!” or “How old is he?”
Some things should never be said―like these phrases. Here, what to say instead.
What Not to Say About Someone’s Appearance
Don’t say: “You look tired.”
Why: It implies she doesn’t look good.
Instead say: “Is everything OK?” We often blurt the “tired” comment when we get the sense that the other person feels out of sorts. So just ask.
Don’t say: “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!”
Why: To a newly trim person, it might give the impression that she used to look unattractive.
Instead say: “You look fantastic.” And leave it at that. If you’re curious about how she got so svelte, add, “What’s your secret?”
Don’t say: “You look good for your age.”
Why: Anything with a caveat like this is rude. It’s saying, “You look great―compared with other old people. It’s amazing you have all your own teeth.”
Instead say: “You look great.”
Don’t say: “I could never wear that.”
Why: It can be misunderstood as a criticism. (“I could never wear that because it’s so ugly.”)
Instead say: “You look so good in skinny jeans.” If you slip, say something like “I could never wear that…because I wasn’t blessed with your long legs.”
- EXCLUSIVE ‘What Not to Wear’ Preview: Meet Tron’s Hooker (VIDEO) (aoltv.com)
- What phrases should I avoid on my CV? (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
- Top 12 Words / Phrases We Need To Put To Rest (spirittsthinkboxer.wordpress.com)
- ‘Thank you’ – a phrase falling out of fashion (waynegordon.wordpress.com)
What Not to Say During a Job Interview
Don’t say: “My current boss is horrendous.”
Why: It’s unprofessional. Your interviewer might wonder when you’d start bad-mouthing her. For all you know, she and your current boss are old pals.
Instead say: “I’m ready for a new challenge” or a similarly positive remark.
Don’t say: “Do you think I’d fit in here?”
Why: You’re the interviewee, not the interviewer.
Instead say: “What do you enjoy about working here?” By all means ask questions, but prepare ones that demonstrate your genuine interest in the company.
Don’t say: “What are the hours like?” or “What’s the vacation policy?”
Why: You want to be seen as someone who focuses on getting the job done.
Instead say: “What’s the day-to-day like here?” Then, if you’ve really jumped through every hoop and time off still hasn’t been mentioned, say, “Can you tell me about the compensation and benefits package?”
- Job Interview Answer Videos (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
- Job Interview Mistakes (michaelgaither.wordpress.com)
- Completely Honest Job Interview (futuretwit.com)
- What should I wear to my job interview? (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
- Top 5 Job Interview Tips (career-advice.monster.co.uk)
- Eight Posts to Help You Prepare for Job Interviews (news.dice.com)
- Hacker cuffed in job interview sting with hotel he blackmailed (go.theregister.com)
- How To Take Control of Your Next Job Interview [TIPS] (haseebakmal.wordpress.com)
Many brilliant people have some communication weak spots. Unfortunately, the reality is that written communication is a big part of business, and how you write reflects on you. Poor spelling and grammar can destroy a professional image in an instant.
Even if your job doesn’t require much business writing, you’ll still have emails to send and notes to write. And if you’re looking for a job, your cover letters and resumes will likely mean the difference between getting the interview or not.
Bad grammar and spelling make a bad impression. Don’t let yourself lose an opportunity over a simple spelling or grammar mistake.
Here are seven simple grammatical errors that I see consistently in emails, cover letters and resumes.
Tip: Make yourself a little card cheat sheet and keep it in your wallet for easy reference.
You’re / Your
The apostrophe means it’s a contraction of two words; “you’re” is the short version of “you are” (the “a” is dropped), so if your sentence makes sense if you say “you are,” then you’re good to use you’re. “Your” means it belongs to you, it’s yours.
- You’re = if you mean “you are” then use the apostrophe
- Your = belonging to you
You’re going to love your new job!
It’s / Its
This one is confusing, because generally, in addition to being used in contractions, an apostrophe indicates ownership, as in “Dad’s new car.” But, “it’s” is actually the short version of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” with no apostrophe means belonging to it.
- It’s = it is
- Its = belonging to it
It’s important to remember to bring your telephone and its extra battery.
They’re / Their / There
“They’re” is a contraction of “they are.” “Their” means belonging to them. “There” refers to a place (notice that the word “here” is part of it, which is also a place – so if it says here and there, it’s a place). There = a place
- They’re = they are
- Their = belonging to them
They’re going to miss their teachers when they leave there.
Loose / Lose
These spellings really don’t make much sense, so you just have to remember them. “Loose” is the opposite of tight, and rhymes with goose. “Lose” is the opposite of win, and rhymes with booze. (To show how unpredictable English is, compare another pair of words, “choose” and “chose,” which are spelled the same except the initial sound, but pronounced differently. No wonder so many people get it wrong!)
- Loose = it’s not tight, it’s loosey goosey
- Lose= “don’t lose the hose for the rose” is a way to remember the same spelling but a different pronunciation
I never thought I could lose so much weight; now my pants are all loose!
Lead / Led
Another common but glaring error. “Lead” means you’re doing it in the present, and rhymes with deed. “Led” is the past tense of lead, and rhymes with sled. So you can “lead” your current organization, but you “led” the people in your previous job.
- Lead = present tense, rhymes with deed
- Led = past tense, rhymes with sled
My goal is to lead this team to success, just as I led my past teams into winning award after award.
A lot / Alot / Allot
First the bad news: there is no such word as “alot.” “A lot” refers to quantity, and “allot” means to distribute or parcel out.
There is a lot of confusion about this one, so I’m going to allot ten minutes to review these rules of grammar.
Between you and I
This one is widely misused, even by TV news anchors who should know better.
In English, we use a different pronoun depending on whether it’s the subject or the object of the sentence: I/me, she/her, he/him, they/them. This becomes second nature for us and we rarely make mistakes with the glaring exception of when we have to choose between “you and I” or “you and me.”
Grammar Girl does a far better job of explaining this than I, but suffice to say that “between you and I” is never correct, and although it is becoming more common, it’s kind of like saying “him did a great job.” It is glaringly incorrect.
The easy rule of thumb is to replace the “you and I” or “you and me” with either “we” or “us” and you’ll quickly see which form is right. If “us” works, then use “you and me” and if “we” works, then use “you and I.”
Between you and me (us), here are the secrets to how you and I (we) can learn to write better.
Master these common errors and you’ll remove some of the mistakes and red flags that make you look like you have no idea how to speak.
Date of Origin 16th c.