Awards Given for The Worst Business Writing of The Year

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Since writing letters, memos and reports is a lost art, The Communication Workshop now gives awards for examples of the poorest writing in business, industry and government

Although business leaders agree that writing skills are often critical to success, business writing skills have slumped worse than the Economy.

Now there's an annual award for the most confusing and misguided business writing.

The "Cappie Awards" (named for that stodgy standby "above captioned claim") are given to awkward, confusing, and laughable sentences taken from actual business letters, memos, and reports. Says Gary Blake, director of The Communication Workshop and originator of the Cappies, "These award-winning sentences will give you a laugh and should be shared with colleagues. Their purpose is not to embarrass anyone but to underline the fact that writing is difficult, needs constant improvement, and is troublesome for business people all around the world."

Among the categories for this year's Cappies include: "Pretty Wordy," "Wish I Hadn't Said That," and "Run That By Me Again. "There were seven Cappies awarded this year and they were drawn from more than 942 examples of business writing.

The "Say What?? Cappie" goes to:

"According to the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, the best home security system should be customized to suit your schedule and that of your children, pets, and valuables."

The "Needless Suffering" award goes to the following sentence: "Our investigation has revealed that a furnace suffered mechanical failure."

The "Run That by Me Again" Cappie Award goes to the following sentence: "This is to confirm that ABC Insurance company has received your notice of loss regarding the theft of your tools, and our conversation of December 29, 2008." [Hey, give that conversation back, OK?]

For your free copy of the winners of the 2009 Cappies, and for information about Dr. Blake's business and technical writingwebinars and on-site writing seminars, call (516) 767-9590. Web site: Write to: garyblake (at)


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