Changing the rules of formal and informal writing in business communication

Historically, writing has been more formal and speech informal. However, the gap between these two styles has been narrowing down in modern times.

Lately, the English language used in business communications is becoming less formal. For instance, the use of personal pronouns that were once considered inappropriate in formal writing is now considered perfectly acceptable. Here is a look at some features that are slowly but steadily making their entry into formal business communications:

Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns I and we are now quite acceptable in business communications. It is noticed that businesses are actively promoting this trend to personalize the message. The use of I in personal letters is an indication that the writer is willing to take responsibility. We, on the other hand, is used to refer to the company.

For example:

I will personally oversee the project.

We would like to collaborate with you on our next project.

Split infinitives

A split infinitive is an expression where an adverb is placed between to and the verb. Some people still avoid them, but they are also gaining acceptance.

For example: We would like you to quickly address the issue

Beginning a sentence with “and” or “but”

In the earlier days, beginning a sentence with a and, but, or, yet, or other conjunctions was frowned upon; but with changing times now they have become more acceptable. Beginning a sentence with conjunction adds a dramatic emphasis in contrast introduced by the conjunction.

For example:

-The app looks impressive. And it’s quite intuitive.

-Many people find it difficult to follow English grammar rules. But it’s not as difficult as it seems.

-We can go with a black background. Or, we can pick a hot pink background!

-John wasn’t feeling well. Yet, he still attended the meeting.


A contraction is a shortened form of a word (or group of words) that omits certain letters or sounds. In most contractions, an apostrophe (‘) represents the missing letters. Contractions should be avoided in academic writing. However, they are perfectly acceptable in emails and personal business correspondence.

For example: They are = They’re, We have = We’ve, I am = I’m, You would = You’d, We cannot = We can’t, I will = I’ll, etc.

We hope these tips will help you loosen up your communications to make them more personal.

Handling formal business communication while working from home in an informal setting over the last several months, many of you pet parents must have had the opportunity to see more of your pets in action. Those who couldn’t, here’s a short video of cats and dogs doing being funny!

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Meenakshi Harpanahalli

Meenakshi Harpanahalli

Works at Niyo

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