Let’s get possessive: A financial writing tip

Sometimes it pays for financial writers to get possessive.

No, I’m not suggesting that you jealously hoard your office supplies or isolate your clients from other professionals. This is a writing tip.

Instead, I’m suggesting that you use the possessive case to shorten phrases.

For example, turn “The tone of the market improved by Friday” into “The market’s tone improved by Friday.”

The next time you find a sentence including “the X of Y,” see if it sounds better rephrased as “Y’s X.”

Plain English means writing sentences that flow better. It’s not only about choosing more basic words.

5 replies
  1. Greg Gocek
    Greg Gocek says:

    Possessives usefully eliminate the detritus of written bridgework (“of the”) that add little to meaning. Such crutches are as bad as speech peppered with “you knows” as pauses for inhalation or further thought. Especially for business communication, like Mies vdR said, “less is more”.

    Now if we can always apply the correct grammatical rules for all possessives (words ending in “s”, etc.), our English teachers will find us prepossessing!

  2. Candyce Edelen
    Candyce Edelen says:

    I completely agree! Business communication needs to flow, and that requires less formal language in today’s culture.

    (or… “the culture of today”)

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