Three things you should never say

rogersgeorge on May 8th, 2012

Maybe not absolutely never, but hardly ever. (What’s that line in The Mikado? “What never? No, never. What never? Well, hardly ever!”)

I was a sales trainer in another life. For the United States Chamber of Commerce, no less.  One of the things I taught my trainees never to say in a presentation was these two phrases:  “I want” and “let me.” By the way, did you notice that I wrote “was these two phrases?” That’s a singular verb, and “two phrases” is a plural. What gives? Re-read the sentence, and you will realize that the subject is the first word in the sentence, a singular. The two phrases were a single lesson. I admit the sentence is somewhat awkward, having the subject and verb so far apart, but it’s a good example of being alert about subject-verb agreement.

I want to show you our new product. Let me show you how wonderful it is.

Nothing will brand you as a pushy salesperson more quickly than those two pairs of words.

Now the third thing you should never say: “I’d like.”

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog.

Don’t say that you’re going to say something, just say it!

Thank you for reading The Writing Rag. Knowing that you spend your valuable time here strongly motivates me to produce the best material I can.

Cleaner, crisper, more direct, more sincere, less work for your reader, and you’re doing something, not merely promising to do it. Don’t say you’d like to do something unless something is preventing you from doing it.

Here’s an example of someone using “I’d like” correctly:

My thanks to John Hambrock, who writes The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee.

I’d like to post a link to the comic, but I’m not sure it works.

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