Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide – Second Canadian Edition
  • Publication Date: May 13, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814725 / 1554814723
  • 432 pages; 6¾" x 9"

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Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide – Second Canadian Edition

  • Publication Date: May 13, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814725 / 1554814723
  • 432 pages; 6¾" x 9"

Straightforward, practical, and focused on realistic examples, Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide is an introduction to the fundamentals of professional writing. The book emphasizes clarity, conciseness, and plain language. Guidelines and templates for business correspondence, formal and informal reports, brochures and press releases, and oral presentations are included.

Exercises guide readers through the process of creating and revising each genre, and helpful tips, reminders, and suggested resources beyond the book are provided throughout. The second edition includes new sections on information security and ethics in business writing. New formal proposal examples have been added, and the text has been updated throughout.

Please note that this edition is particularly well suited to the needs of Canadian students; for American courses, please see Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide – Second Edition.


Praise for the First Edition

“Paul MacRae’s Business and Professional Writing is an excellent entry in the field of writing textbooks. MacRae clearly has years of experience teaching writing: he knows what students need, and he knows how to convey that information in an accessible, almost conversational way. This is a practical, no-nonsense approach to professional writing. What the reader will find here is everything he or she needs to know to be an effective communicator, from a foundation in grammar and basic precepts, including the importance of document design, to how to write in specific professional genres, including persuasive letters, résumés, and reports. Rather than being relegated to an appendix, grammar is foregrounded, along with the ‘seven Cs of good professional communication.’ The coverage is thorough yet concise, and even experienced writers will find the text to be a valuable resource.” — Michael Fox, Western University

“Paul MacRae’s Business and Professional Writing delivers on its promise to provide a basic bread-and- butter guide to workplace writing. Whereas other books combine practical writing instruction with communication theory, MacRae’s background as a journalist comes through in his concise approach: he hones in on the core genres and skills that all professional writers must develop as part of their writing repertoires. This book practices what it teaches. Concepts are explained and illustrated clearly and efficiently. The strong section on grammar clearly explains the basics that need to be in every professional writer’s toolkit. The book’s brevity, conciseness, and to-the-point approach make it a practical, accessible textbook that would be a great resource for any student.” — Kelly Belanger, Virginia Tech

Introduction to Business and Professional Writing


Chapter 1 Plain Language

  • Business Communication versus Academic Writing
  • Plain Language
  • Exercises

Chapter 2 The Seven Cs of Good Professional Communication

  • Introduction
  • 1. Clear
  • 2. Concise
  • 3. Concrete and Specific
  • 4. Complete
  • 5. Courteous
  • 6. Coherent
  • Exercise: Identifying Transitions
  • 7. Constructive
  • Conclusion
  • Quiz on the Seven Cs

Chapter 3 The Eighth C: Learning Grammar Language

  • Introduction
  • Grammar Language
  • Parts of Speech
  • Sentences and Clauses
  • Conjunctions
  • Quiz on Sentences
  • Clauses and Conjunctions Determine Punctuation
  • Punctuation
  • Review of Commas, Semicolons, and Colons
  • Quiz on Punctuation
  • Grammar Odds and Ends
  • Quick Quiz
  • Conclusion
  • Quiz #1 on Grammar
  • Quiz #2 on Grammar
  • Quiz #3 on Clauses

Chapter 4 Copy-Editing

  • Introduction: What Is Copy-Editing?
  • Using Spellcheck
  • Other Copy-Editing Tasks
  • Copy-Editing Symbols
  • Using a Word Processor for Copy-Editing
  • Conclusion
  • Copy-Editing Exercise


Chapter 5 Basic Document Design

  • Introduction: The Importance of Good Document Design
  • Modular Design
  • Lists
  • List Review
  • Exercise on Lists
  • Headings
  • Headings Review
  • Graphics
  • Graphics Review
  • Summing Up

Chapter 6 Formatting for Correspondence

  • Introduction
  • Memos and Emails
  • Memo Exercise
  • Letters
  • Letter Exercise
  • Correspondence Review


Chapter 7 Emails and Memos

  • Introduction
  • Emails and Memos
  • Emails
  • Memos
  • Faxes and Scans

Chapter 8 Letters: Good News, Neutral, and Bad News

  • Introduction
  • Good-News and Neutral Letters
  • Good-News and Neutral Letter Review
  • Bad-News Letters
  • Bad-News Letter Review
  • Bad-News Letter Exercises

Chapter 9 Persuasive Letters

  • Introduction
  • Three Rhetorical Techniques
  • AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)
  • Persuasive Communication Ethics
  • Persuasive Letter Review
  • Exercise


Chapter 10 Cover Letters

  • Introduction
  • The Cover Letter
  • Conclusion
  • Exercise

Chapter 11 Résumés

  • Introduction
  • Reverse Chronological Résumé
  • Functional Résumé
  • Combined Chronological and Functional Résumé
  • Electronic or Scannable Résumé
  • Conclusion
  • Exercises


Chapter 12 News Releases

  • Introduction
  • News Releases
  • Exercise
  • Follow-Up Questions and Exercises

Chapter 13 Brochures

  • Introduction
  • Brochures Are AIDA Documents
  • Conclusion
  • Exercises

Chapter 14 Promotion on the Web

  • Introduction
  • Creating a Website
  • Social Media
  • Exercise


Chapter 15 Individual Oral Presentations

  • Introduction
  • Individual Presentations
  • Individual Presentation Checklist
  • Exercises

Chapter 16 Group Presentations

  • Introduction
  • Preparation
  • Content
  • Delivery
  • Group Presentation Checklist
  • Exercise


Chapter 17 Informal Reports

  • Introduction
  • Progress Reports
  • Problem-Solving Reports
  • Incident Reports
  • Proposal Reports
  • Conclusion
  • Discussion Questions
  • Exercises

Chapter 18 Formal Reports

  • Introduction
  • Formal Report Design
  • Formal Report Formatting
  • Formal Proposals
  • Surveys
  • Exercises on Surveys and Graphs
  • Minutes
  • Conclusion
  • Formal Report Checklist
  • Discussion Questions
  • Exercise 1: A Formal Proposal Report
  • Exercise 2: An Analytical Report

Chapter 19 Formal Proposal Report Example

Chapter 20 Formal Report Example

Appendix Answers to Exercises

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 12

Permissions Acknowledgements

Paul MacRae is an instructor of business and professional writing at the University of Victoria.

  • — Very concise—points are made as briefly and directly as possible
  • — Tone is friendly and encouraging rather than formal or academic
  • — Strong coverage of marketing and promotional writing: brochures, social media, and news releases are covered along with other kinds of workplace writing
  • — Readable layout, with many concrete examples, instructive images, and helpful tips throughout

The Business and Professional Writing instructor site resources include PowerPoint lectures, suggested assignments, grading rubrics, and lesson plans, and suggested lecture notes. An access code to the website is included with all examination copies