Wacky Word Choice: Only Cakes Get Done
Following virtual training sessions on Write It So They Read It: Technical Writing for Non-Technical Employees or Proof It! How To Be a Better Proofreader, participants send me questions about grammar and writing and punctuation they encounter at work. I’m reaching inside the figurative mailbag to answer questions from readers. Please tag me with your pesky punctuation or confusing word choice question, and I’ll be sure to answer.
This one is my pet peeve. See if you can spot the “wacky word” in these sentences:
Kent is done with the final report.
Please have your supervisor write us when an evaluation is done, and we will reconsider your file.
If it had only been 20 hours of work, we would have done it ourselves.
Done is bad grammar. We shouldn’t be saying it, and we certainly shouldn’t be writing it. But I believe it slips into our writing because we use it so regularly in the spoken word. And if we say something enough, it bleeds into our writing without our realization.
As my momma said,
“Only cakes get done.”
We use done when we really mean:
Instead, we should write:
Kent is finished with the final report.
Please have your supervisor write us when an evaluation is completed.
If it had only been 20 hours of work, we would have tackled it ourselves.
On a fun note, during a recent virtual training class on Grammar for Grownups, a participant spoke up and said, “So tell me, Mandi, how do you order your steaks? Well accomplished?”
No, and I certainly don’t order them well done!
To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.
Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes.
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