Business English for Success
Scott McLean, Arizona Western College
Copyright Year: 2011
ISBN 13: 9781453320181
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
Business English for Success is comprehensive in its coverage of writing fundamentals, the writing process, and principles of good writing. The lessons are clear, concise and relevant to student-level writers in a variety of writing situations.... read more
Business English for Success is comprehensive in its coverage of writing fundamentals, the writing process, and principles of good writing. The lessons are clear, concise and relevant to student-level writers in a variety of writing situations. However, the book may not be sufficient as a primary text in a business writing class due to limited content specific to the principles, purposes, conventions and assumptions of workplace writing. The text correctly highlights how its lessons may be generally applied to business writing but eight of the fourteen chapters are geared for more general writing instruction. Just one chapter — “Business Writing in Action” – provides direct instruction on the major types of business documents and formats. There is no substantive instruction on the underlying principles of business writing or specific strategies for business writing situations.
The content is consistent with standard English instruction and in keeping with established business writing principles.
The text provides useful instruction on the best ways to use the most typical modes of electronic business communication – email and text – but does not substantively address any other electronic media or platforms. Given fast and continual advances in technology, this will keep the text from becoming quickly obsolete. However, a section addressing business communication via established social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter would have been a nice inclusion.
The text is written in clear, accessible language. Technical terms are clearly explained and elaborated upon with relevant examples as necessary. The semi-formal/informal tone is particularly well suited for undergraduate students.
Strong organizational cohesion provides for great consistency in presentation throughout the book. Students will be able work within the structure of concise, well-defined lessons and exercises with growing familiarity and comfort.
The book is structured for cumulative effect yet its suitability of its individual chapters and sections for use as standalone lessons of its primary strengths. The grammar and punctuation lessons and exercises can be referenced for students needing remedial help in introductory and advanced college-level courses. The business-writing sections can also be assigned out of sequence to align with existing business writing curricula either as a primary text or supplemental material.
The proportion of remedial English instruction to content that is specific to busines writing notwithstanding, the overall content logically builds upon itself, making it easy for students to clarify understandings by working backwards. Learning objectives are clearly stated and exercises are offered at appropriate intervals. As the initial chapter devoted to business writing, however, Ch. 9 seems to restart the process by addressing written communication and principles of good writing in general (material that might be better presented in earlier chapters) rather than introducing business writing as a discrete area of composition and drawing a distinction between it and other forms of written communication.
The web version is easy to navigate although text on the flowcharts is very small and requires the reader to zoom in to read properly. These charts would be difficult to view on a smartphone, as some students do. It would also be helpful to have a search function.
The text and accompanying graphics are grammatically accurate and virtually error-free.
The text does not reflect any specific effort to be broadly representative of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds, etc., but it also does not contain any material that might be construed as insensitive or offensive with regard to culture, race, gender, socio-economic status or other demographic.
Of the textbook's 14 chapters, only five (9-13) are specific to business writing. Hence, it acts as a limited survey. The first eight chapters, reproduced from Mclean's Writing for Success, seem more pertinent to a remedial writing course with... read more
Of the textbook's 14 chapters, only five (9-13) are specific to business writing. Hence, it acts as a limited survey. The first eight chapters, reproduced from Mclean's Writing for Success, seem more pertinent to a remedial writing course with topics such as grammar, punctuation, writing paragraphs, and so on. (Undoubtedly some of these topics are reviewed within a 100 level business writing class, but to a lesser extent.) With that said, both the online and PDF formats have table of contents, but no index or glossary for terms--even though many terms are underlined or boldfaced.
Overall, the content is accurate and error-free. If there is a bias, the content leans toward a rhetorician's background.
As mentioned in other reviews, the content is fairly up-to-date, but some of the examples (i.e. Twilight, Tony Hawk, etc.) will age quickly. More importantly, it is obvious when the textbook's audience changes from a student of business writing to one of composition. This creates a general disconnect that the instructor must navigate.
Though the text utilizes plain language and defines technical terms, it is sometimes either too fragmented (beginning chapters) or too dense (later chapters). This might cause some accessibility issues.
Overall, the textbook utilizes a strong framework per chapter: learning objectives, definition and explanation, examples, exercises, and takeaways.
Each chapter contains several sections: anywhere from three to nine. Later chapters contain sections that can easily support individual lesson plans.
The textbook builds upon itself from basic concepts universal to any writing situation (i.e. grammar) to more complex and subject specific concepts (i.e. the principles of good business writing). Though the hierarchical structure can be questioned, the logical flow is fairly coherent and is rather strong for chapters 10-12 ("Writing Preparation," "Writing," and "Revising and Presenting Your Writing"). Unlike many textbooks that touch upon the writing process and move on to the next topic, Mclean uses three separate chapters to integrate and contextualize the writing process specific to business writing. To me, this is the strength of this textbook.
The PDF version has a stronger interface than the online version; even though its table of contents is hidden within the bookmarks button. The online version has accessibility issues (i.e. font size, broken hyperlinks, pseudo-hyperlinks, unreadable diagrams, etc.) and footnote issues: the full reference appears in-text.
Besides a few typos, there are no grammar errors observed.
Neutral. One chapter is dedicated to English Language Learners.
First, Saylor Academy published this textbook along with Mclean's other textbooks. Hence, it has a gatekeeper. Second, it is robust and could easily be used for both remediation and a 100 level college course (think co-requisite model). Third, Mclean tries to limit prescriptive advice. Hence, practical advice is limited. Fourth, this textbook cannot stand alone--at least not for a 100 level college business writing course. If adopted, instructors will need to add a considerable amount of supplemental material.
The book does not contain an index or a glossary. It does contain well-defined chapter sections which are helpful. I couldn’t find a way to search the text in the Saylor online reader which was frustrating. I had to download the text as a PDF... read more
The book does not contain an index or a glossary. It does contain well-defined chapter sections which are helpful. I couldn’t find a way to search the text in the Saylor online reader which was frustrating. I had to download the text as a PDF and search by pulling it up in Adobe Acrobat. The text contains many of the subjects covered in our Business English course that includes spelling, punctuation, grammar, and proofreading. It includes only sparse information on noun plurals and possessives. It does not include rules for numbers, money, numbers in dates, related numbers in a sentence, numbers used with nouns and abbreviations, weights & measure, or percentages. It does not contain an extensive list of spelling words, but it does include 19 confused words, 10 confusing homonyms, and tips for improving spelling. On the more positive side, it does include a section on how to determine whether to use a text message, email message, fax, memo, letter, report, or proposal in business. This is a very valuable section that I have not seen in other similar textbooks.
The text is written in a clear, straight-forward style that is accurate and easy to understand. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules that we teach in our Business Editing class are accurately stated here.
The text is up-to-date in its examples, resources, and references. However, a few of the additional resources that provide web addresses are already out of date (I got a website not found or other error when I clicked on the link). References to current books, movies, and world events should continue to be relevant in the near future, but may need to be updated periodically. This does not include the rules of grammar, punctuation, etc. that do not change frequently, but rather the stories and examples that flesh out the rules. Some references are timeless such as references to the Wizard of OZ and, I suspect, Harry Potter; but references to the Twilight movies and 9/11 may become outdated. There is also a section on slang and idioms that will need to be updated over time. The book is written in easy to manage sections which would allow rules and examples to be added, updated, or deleted. It would be a little more time consuming to review all the “secondary text” of stories and examples to see what had become dated and needed to be updated. There are separate sections for additional resources that should be reviewed regularly to check for updated websites – and to add more up-to-date sources.
The text is written in prose that is easy to understand. Sometimes, however, I found that it was a little sparse, and I would have liked a beefed up explanation or additional example. This could clearly be supplemented through in-class teaching or additional online materials. For example, I use proofreading marks extensively in my class; and while the text refers to using these marks in proofreading and even asks students to use them in an assignment in the text, it does not include a list of them within the proofreading section or in an appendix at the end of the book.
The text does a good job of using consistent terminology and layout. It would be easy for students to follow the format/framework of the text from section to section and chapter to chapter.
I compared the book’s layout/sections to the topics I teach in my course outline and list of grammar rules, and it would be easy to break the book down into sections to use with the way I have presented the class in the past. (I teach with a separate reference book, HOW, and it looked like the combination of the two would work well – and the two would actually complement each other.) It looked like I could easily even eliminate sections I don’t teach in my course and re-organize it a bit to better fit the order I teach topics. Adding missing topics such as punctuation in numbers seemed to be straight forward since the layout & framework was consistent and easy to build on.
Overall, the book’s organization/structure/flow seemed logical. That said – I had to piece together the words I would use for spelling from several places – one section on confused words & another section on confusing homonyms. I also teach a lesson on using reference materials, and I found references to using dictionaries and other reference materials scattered throughout the text.
The interface did not have any image distortion or other significant issues. As stated earlier, it did lack an easy way to look up information on a specific topic since it did not have a Search option, index or glossary.
I did not find any grammatical errors in this text as would be expected in a text about grammar, punctuation, etc.
The book incorporates a wide variety of diverse names and examples that were inclusive of races, gender, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The examples of business situations, documents, etc. were up-to-date and inclusive.
The exercises throughout the book instructed students to “copy each sentence onto your own piece of paper” or “Copy onto notebook paper”. This just won’t work in a classroom in 2018! Students, and teachers, expect assignments like this to be electronic through a fillable form or some other vehicle that would facilitate students’ completing the exercises online or on a computer. The book did not come with any answer keys or ancillary resources within the text itself on the Saylor website. I did try to contact the author, but I have not heard back about this.
Business English for Success covers topics from punctuation to complete sentences, from the writing process to effective business writing, and everything in between. It is a great fit for basic college writing course or business communications... read more
Business English for Success covers topics from punctuation to complete sentences, from the writing process to effective business writing, and everything in between. It is a great fit for basic college writing course or business communications course.
Content is accurate and error-free.
English rules and writing principles presented in this text align with the academic and business world and are relevant in today’s classrooms and workplaces as well as those of tomorrow.
Text is written in an unassuming voice and provides clarity through introductions, definitions, explanations, and examples.
Consistent framework throughout.
Each chapter is broken down into multiple sub-topics. Instructors can easily pick and choose specific chapters or topics to cover.
Each chapter/topic begins with an objective followed by definitions and explanations, excellent examples, tips, exercises, and takeaways. Consistent flow throughout book.
PDF and Online versions available. The PDF allows students to download the text directly to their computer to access anytime and allows for electronic highlighting. The online version provides additional navigation features allowing the reader to move swiftly from chapter to chapter and back to table of contents.
Employs the proper English and grammar it teaches; error-free.
Chapter 4, Help for English Language Learners, is a worthwhile section in this textbook providing non-native speaking/writing students additional help when learning to use standard, formal English.
Overall, Business English for Success is a text that would work well as stand alone textbook or as support material in a college writing or business writing/communications course. Today’s business-world requires top-notch business communication for effectiveness and efficiency. Lessons taught in this text can be used to improve the skillset of those pursuing a future in the business world.
Business English for Success is a very comprehensive textbook for the expansive content that it covers and the logical sequence that it follows. Beginning chapters deal with constructing sentences and paragraphs - basic units of any piece of... read more
Business English for Success is a very comprehensive textbook for the expansive content that it covers and the logical sequence that it follows. Beginning chapters deal with constructing sentences and paragraphs - basic units of any piece of writing such as essays and business documents. Other subjects covered include punctuation, grammar, and using words correctly - basic components of clear and accurate writing. Subsequent chapters build on these basic elements of writing. Students are offered many strategies and techniques to make their writing more effective. These include variation of style and syntax and parallelism. Activities and exercises throughout the chapters are designed to translate theory into practice. They are very student-centered, giving students the opportunity to be active participants in their own learning. Moreover, each chapter has a "Writing at Work" section that connects the content of the chapter to issues of written communication in the workplace. The chapter on Writing as a Process is very useful to students of all writing levels. Approaching writing not just as a product but as a process underscores the connection between critical thinking and writing. Stages such as outlining, drafting, revising, and editing teach students valuable strategies for producing an effective piece of writing. Also, the chapter on English Language Learners illustrates the usefulness of the text to diverse learners and their needs. A strength of this textbook is the chapter dealing with effective business writing - from its features and qualities to its documents and formats. The text presents a very concrete overview - including strategies, skills, and tips for becoming an effective business writer. The chapter on research strategies (including documentation and formatting) is very useful and relevant in connection with workplace documents such as proposals and reports. Business English for Success is well-suited to a Business Writing course or a Professional Writing course. It can accommodate the needs of different writing levels, from students who need basic instruction to those who are good writers; and aspire to be even more effective. .
The instructional content of this textbook is very concrete and accurate. Grammar, punctuation, and word choice presentations conform to rules and practices of standard English. Content presented on communication strategies and skills in business are very reflective of those found in the workplace.
The content of this text is very relevant to the type of knowledge and set of strategies and techniques needed to be a successful business writer in today's workplace. The text is designed and arranged in such a way that any updates could be easily implemented. For example, this might be the case with issues of technology such as computer-supported collaboration and various electronic communication in the workplace.
This textbook is written in a very clear manner. Learning objectives are presented in each chapter, giving direction to the subjects being covered. The language used is contemporary, easy to understand, and accessible. It is definitely directed toward the needs and understanding of its student audience.
This text is internally consistent in terms of how chapters and subchapters are arranged. Content is presented in a very coherent way. The text also contains several consistent patterns in each chapter. Consistent patterns of various mechanical devices and boldface typography contribute to the readability and emphasis of the chapters. Each chapter also has sections on Learning Objectives, Exercises, and Key Takeaways. These appear consistently in each chapter.
Each chapter of this textbook is divided into numbered and labeled subheadings. The content of the subheadings is divided into several reading sections. Each subheading is followed by Learning Objectives which give meaning and direction to the content of the chapter. Each chapter also contains Exercises which are designed to engage students in various activities and projects related to the material of the chapter. The smaller reading sections of the chapters could be assigned at different points within the course. The Exercises could constitute various homework assignments, or a project over time.
The topics in this textbook are presented in a logical sequence - starting with the writing basics and moving to information, strategies, and skills necessary for essay writing and effective business writing. Each section of the text has a logical connection to the next, and ideas flow smoothly. The consistent structure of each chapter adds to the textbook's clarity.
The textbook is easy to navigate - both within chapters and from one chapter to another. Tables and Figures are used in chapters. They enhance key points in a visually appealing way (color, design) and add to overall meaning. Variation of typography and mechanical devices are used effectively for clarity and emphasis.
Grammatical errors were not found in the textbook.
The textbook uses a variety of examples and scenarios throughout the chapters and exercises. They are culturally sensitive and relevant.
Business English for Success is a very effective textbook. Its content contains topics designed to meet the writing needs of its users. Teachers will find the logically sequenced content very adaptable to meeting class objectives and student needs. Students will find the text easy to read, the tips very useful, and the exercises very interesting. The variety of exercises and their connection to the workplace and real world communication issues is very relevant. In many of these exercises, students can collaborate with their peers. The skills and strategies learned in regard to writing can be easily transferred to the workplace. In this sense, this textbook is very relevant.
Table of contents is easy to follows and logically organized. read more
Table of contents is easy to follows and logically organized.
Book is accurate, error free, and unbiased.
Content is up to date on grammar and composition as well as workplace writing including a brief section on e-mail writing, but would like more technical information on workplace writing.
Jargon and technical terminology are applied in a clear and concise manner, without pretentious tone. Impressed with the level of student-friendly language, which is a fresh approach considering the dense verbal information of most academic textbooks.
The book uses consistent terminology for grammar and phrases throughout.
This book could easily be used for four or five writing courses. The sections are easily broken into grammar, composition, and technical communication in the workplace.
Information is presented logically, starting with simple grammar instruction that progresses to composition and workplace writing.
The book has tables that demonstrate grammatical issues but does not distract from the interface.
No grammar errors.
The text did not seem offensive in any way, however, it is clearly written from an American standpoint with the issues of grammar and workplace writing.
This book would be good for developmental English or as a supplement to a lower level of English composition. I would be interested in using this book for a level 100 intro to technical communication course that covers grammar and building workplace communication like letters, emails, and memos. Don't let the title Business English fool you, this book is a comprehensive guide to English both in and out of the workplace.
Business English for Success is a comprehensive beginning college or upper division high-school level book which delves deeply into not only writing basics, but also how to write in a business context. This book would be suitable for... read more
Business English for Success is a comprehensive beginning college or upper division high-school level book which delves deeply into not only writing basics, but also how to write in a business context. This book would be suitable for beginning-level writers who need to develop understanding of how good writing skills apply to business writing. There are 14 chapters; the first nine chapters are about basic writing topics--sentence structure, commonly misused words, grammar, verb tense--and include excellent exercises to reinforce the topics, as well as writing prompts (there is also an excellent and useful chapter specifically for Language Learners). Additionally, each of these chapters have a brief section that relates to business writing, so the student builds up a deep sense of how basic writing skills are related to clear, concise business writing. Chapters 10-14 focus on Business writing, including sections on research, ethics, texting, formatting and plagiarism. The final chapters progress from planning to write, research, how to write a thesis to finally, proper use of APA and MLA citations Each chapter has examples and writing prompts that aid understanding the topics. Additionally, there are excellent lists of helpful websites for each section; for example, links showing various formats for business proposals, reviews of "netiquette" and proofreading website help. The chapters in this textbook are easy to follow and similarly formatted throughout. Business English teachers would find the examples and prompts especially useful.
Business English for Success is up-to-date and relevant for today's business students. One problem was found: throughout the book, there are short paragraphs where specific aspects are highlighted, and according to the text, these sections are "underlined". However, the text does not show underlining at all, so occasionally, the text is hard to follow, particularly in the section about topic sentences. Except this omission, the book is error-free.
The textbook relates directly to today's business students, particularly in the sections about formatting, analyzing validity of web sources, the importance of texting and "netiquette". In addition, the textbook gives timeless and straightforward tips and explanation of basic good writing.
Business Writing for Success is easy to read, and would be easy to teach from.
Business Writing for Success follows a similar format throughout its 600 pages, including exercises for each section, writing prompts, connection to Business writing as well as a summary "Key Takeaways" for each chapter. This would make an easy and accessible study guide for students.
Most of the textbook could be assigned at different points within a course, although some chapters are written without too many subheadings. This doesn't mean that the text is hard to read.
Business English for Success is easy to follow and delves deep into many topics important to students of writing.
Some example texts are difficult to read (the font size is light colored) and some charts are set too small. These problems are few.
No grammatical errors found.
Business English for Success employes excellent, varied and culturally sensitive examples.
Business English for Success is deeply comprehensive--covering a wide range of topics, such as writers block, thinking about reading, and common mistakes in writing, and so is interesting and useful beyond the standard business writing textbook. Business English for Success covers the A-Z of how to write, and would be an asset to most writing teachers, or specifically to Business Writing teachers.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Writing Basics: What Makes a Good Sentence?
- Chapter 2: Punctuation
- Chapter 3: Working with Words: Which Word Is Right?
- Chapter 4: Help for English Language Learners
- Chapter 5: Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content
- Chapter 6: Refining Your Writing: How Do I Improve My Writing Technique?
- Chapter 7: The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?
- Chapter 8: Writing Essays: From Start to Finish
- Chapter 9: Effective Business Writing
- Chapter 10: Writing Preparation
- Chapter 11: Writing
- Chapter 12: Revising and Presenting Your Writing
- Chapter 13: Business Writing in Action
- Chapter 14: APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting
About the Book
Business English for Success is a creative solution to a common challenge across Business Communication courses: Business English or Business Presentations? Some classes place an equal emphasis on oral and written communication. If that's the case for you check out our text Business Communication for Success. If, however, your class places the emphasis squarely on written communication and writing proficiency, then Business English for Success is for you.
Business English for Success provides instruction in steps, builds writing, reading, and critical thinking, and combines comprehensive grammar review with an introduction to paragraph writing and composition. This step-by-step approach provides a clear path to student-centered learning. A wide range of writing levels and abilities are addressed, helping each student prepare for the next writing or university course.
The text opens with a discussion on the sentence and then breaks it down into its elemental components, before reconstructing them into effective sentences, paragraphs, and larger assignments. Then, starting in Chapter 9: Effective Business Writing, the discussion applies lessons learned from the previous foundational chapters into common business issues and applications. From paraphrasing and plagiarism to style to the research process, the expectations increase as several common business documents are presented, including text messages and e-mail, memorandums and letters, the business proposal, business report, resume, and the sales message.
This textbook has been used in classes at:Arizona Western College, Hostos Community College, Virginia State University, Truckee Meadows Community College, San Jose State University, Concordia University - Irvine, University New Brunswick - Fredericton, Cerritos College, University of Houston - Downtown, Flat World Knowledge University, A-C Central High School, University of The People, Truckee Meadows Community College, Danville Community High School
About the Contributors
Scott McLean is an Associate Professor of Communication, including Journalism and English, at Arizona Western College in a combined campus partnership with the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University-Yuma. He also served as the 2007-2011 Shadle-EdgeCombe Endowed Faculty Chair.
Scott is the author of “The Basics of Speech Communication” and “The Basics of Interpersonal Communication,” both currently published by Allyn & Bacon. He is also the author of “Business Communication for Success,” “Writing for Success” and “Business English for Success” with Flat World Knowledge, and has published in peer-reviewed journals, classic car magazines, and newspapers.
From his experience working with students at the community college and undergraduate level, including English 95 (development), 100 (college prep), 101 (composition and argumentation), 102 (literature and analysis), and 350 (business communication), he has learned the importance of clear, concise learning resources with scaffolding, frequent opportunities for engagement and demonstration of skill mastery, and the importance of the first English course on overall academic success for many students. He has taught at AWC/San Luis on the US/Mexican Border, for Central Oregon Community College’s Branch Campus on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and for Universidad San Sebastian in Concepcion, Chile.
Scott studied at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, and at Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff’s Department of English in the area of Professional Writing.