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engbites1English Bites! are practical, bite-sized tips to help you improve your English for work. Published twice a week, the articles include useful advice covering different aspects of business English including grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking as well as fun topics. It'll take just a few minutes to read each tip. You can subscribe to English Bites! from the Newsletters link above. After that, you'll receive notifications of all new tips by email.

Problem Words and Phrases in Business Writing

22 Jul 2021

writingAvoid problems created by these words or phrases in your business documents. You can always replace them with more up-to-date, clearer alternatives.

Due to the fact that

Using this phrase is a sure sign that your sentence is in trouble. Did you mean because? Due to is acceptable after a linking verb (The team's failure was due to illness among the stars.); otherwise, avoid it.

Each and every

Use one or the other, but not both.

Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc.

Number things with first, second, third, etc. and not with these adverbial forms.


Many writers regard got as an ugly word, and they have a point. If you can avoid it in business writing, do so. (I have got to must begin my report right away. I have got the disks you need.)

Kind of
or Sort of

These are OK in informal situations, but in business writing, substitute rather or slightly. (We were kind of pleased with the results. = We were rather pleased with the results.)

or lots of

In business writing, avoid these colloquialisms when you can use many or much. Remember, when you do use these words, that lots of something countable are plural. Remember, too, that a lot of requires three words: He spent a lot of money (not alot of).

On account of

Use because instead.

Per / As Per

Use according to instead. Instead of writing, ‘We did it per your instructions’; write ‘We did it according to your instructions.’

So as to

Usually, a simple to will do. Instead of writing, ‘I worked late so as to finish my report’; write ‘I worked late to finish my report.’

Try and

Don't try and do something. Try to do something.


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Questions to Dr English 7

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Appreciate vs Would Appreciate

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Spelling Differences Between US and UK English

Report Writing: Prepositional Phrases to Describe Change

Overused Words

Questions to Dr English 6

Which vs That

Idioms of Time

Ending a Conversation Politely: Functional Language

While vs During

Test your Business Grammar 1

English Around the World: Hong Kong

Questions to Dr English 5

Avoid Weak Starts to Sentences

Language for Handling Requests