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How you can avoid business F-Ups and offending clients or colleagues.

How would you react if you got this message in an e-mail or text?

I resent the F-UP. You must resign.

How you can avoid business F-UPs and offending clients or colleagues.

TV show talk

I said the F-word on a TV show today. Well, I actually said  “F-UP”.

It’s all OK ‘though –  I was making a point!

The lesson for YOU!

I was talking about the danger of abbreviations especially in business communication.

I was telling a real-life business “horror story” about someone who caused offence by writing:

 I resent the F-UP. You must resign.

What the writer meant to say was:

I re-sent the F-UP (as in follow up). You must re-sign.

What was your first reaction?  Was it the same as the writer intended?

The writer meant Follow-up – but the reader was offended by a very different meaning.

The misused words resent and resign  also caused reader fear and loathing!

The cautionary tale illustrates two important lessons:

  1. the danger of using abbreviations. You may know what YOU want it to mean – but a reader may give it another meaning.
  2. the potential confusion with Re words 

Always, always write follow-up in full – not F-UP!

The positive side of being a word nerd

I always encourage by clients to  watch their words  and to be  extra careful with abbreviations – unless the abbreviations are well known and not likely to get confused.

2. the danger of Re-  words that can get confused with other words (homographs) that  look the same (if you don’t use the comma).

The above example also shows the importance of  using a hyphen for “re” words (as in to do again) that resemble other words. (resent/re-sent and resign/re-sign). I use a hyphen for re- words even when they do not resemble other words. Then again I use the Oxford comma too – old legal writing habits!

Clients always tend to remember the lessons from the horror stories.

They make sure they insert the hyphen in re- words.

And in future they always write out in full what they mean by the abbreviation



If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect!

I blog about fun stuff as well as more serious business topics.

You can e-mail me at:

or  contact or follow on Twitter

tony biancotti



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tony biancotti

tony biancotti

Syd+Bris+Singapore-Presentation/communication trainer(talkforce) +CEO=Chief E-fan-gelism Officer – E-fan-gelist


One comment on “How you can avoid business F-Ups and offending clients or colleagues.

  1. efangelist
    June 1, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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