2 business writing tips from Hemingway

There is nothing like a good old-fashioned feud between classic authors. This example can help add oomph to your writing.

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William Faulkner once said about his contemporary, “[Ernest Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Hemingway scoffed: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”


Hemingway was known for writing in short declarative sentences. What can we glean from Papa when it comes to the next organizational announcement or weekly report that has to go out?

Business writing, like literature, doesn’t have to be dry. It doesn’t have to full of long, compound sentences in order to be effective or businesslike. Nor does it have to be emotionless.

Business writing is about convincing, as much as it’s about conveying.

Emotion, captured the right way, can be a great ally. Adding just the right amount of emotion—subtly—can give your next report or update to your client more wallop.

At work, I write every day. I’m no Hemingway, but here are two ways to add a little more oomph to your next communication:

1. Dramatic opening. A short declarative sentence.

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