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TOPIC: Give Bad News Before Good News to Emphasise the Good News

Give Bad News Before Good News to Emphasise the Good News #630

  • Dr_English
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Hi

When you want to emphasize something, put it at the end of the sentence. To be positive, a sentence containing both good and bad news should present the bad news first, followed by the good news. For example:

Although we don't have a position for you, I'm sending your resume to someone who has a job opening in your field.

Often the bad- and good-news portions of the sentence or paragraph are separated by but or however.

Version 1.0 of the software is still selling briskly and getting rave reviews, but version 2.0 won't be ready for another six months.

Version 2.0 of the software won't be ready for another six months, but version 1.0 is still selling briskly and getting rave reviews. (BETTER)

We can have the brochures ready in time for the Business Expo. But because of the client's slowness in reviewing the copy, we won't be able to meet the original publication date.

Because of the client's slowness in reviewing the copy, we won't be able to meet the original publication date. However, we can still have the brochures ready in time for the Business Expo. (BETTER)

I'd be happy to donate the door prizes for Education Day; however, I don't have time to serve on the committee.

I don't have time to serve on the Education Day Committee; however, I'd be happy to donate all the door prizes. (BETTER)

Notice the difference between the two versions in the last example. In the first version, the writer ruins any positive impression donating door prizes might have made by adding a negative comment about not having time to participate more fully, and the overall message ends up being negative. The writer of the second version comes across as being kind and generous: Even though she cannot be involved in the event, she cares enough to help out with a generous donation.
Dr English
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