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Choosing a Style Writing Tip

Choosing a Style Good writing is a result of regular practice, training and persistence. Once a famous novelist admitted that writing is about 90 per cent perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration. Do not be discouraged by the severe statistics. Look at it from the other perspective: if you persist, if you practice and work hard, your writing will become better with every effort you make.

To improve your writing follows these 10 tips:

1. Write in the active voice:

Every sound sentence is based on the strong active verb. However in some cases passives are relevant:

  • To put emphasis on the action rather than the doer of the action. • To sound considerate by not naming the doer of the action.
  • To illustrate a condition in which the actor is unknown or unimportant.
  • To sound authoritatively.

 

2. Cut wordy phrases:

Use concise and simple words instead of long phrases:

Meaning: Use
Explaining smith. because, since, why
indicating contradiction although, even, though
showing condition if
Showing necessity, obligation must, should
Showing capacity can
Indicating probability, possibility may, might, can, could
Showing precedence before

3. Trim off the unnecessary prepositional phrases:

Reduce the usage of prepositional phrases, especially for denoting the idea of possession (Use apostrophe +s). Do not stuff your sentence with too many prepositional phrases; they divert focus from the main subject and the action of a sentence.

4. Avoid expletive patterns such as: It is……; there is / are.

These constructions divert the reader’s attention from the main subject and action of the sentence.

Instead of: It was his generous attitude that impressed me most.

Write: His generous attitude impressed me most.

5. Do not use many vague nouns (especially in prepositional phrase). These nouns result in wordiness and do not add up to a better communication of the idea.

factor
aspect
area
situation
consideration
degree
case

Instead of: Strong writing skills are a crucial factor in students' academic success. Write: Students' academic success depends on strong writing skills.

6. Do not pretend to have a learned air:

Do not cram inflated phrases into your writing to put on airs. Choose a simpler phrase that conveys the same meaning.

7. Avoid noun chains:

Unless the audience is acquainted with a jargon you use, do not use phrases with too many consecutive nouns.

Instead of: Our company has developed an employee performance enhancement program. Write: Our Company has developed a program for enhancing the employee’s performance.

8. Link ideas and paragraphs with transitions:

They help your reader follow the logic of your writing. Before you use a particular transition in your paper, make sure it matches the logic of the text.

Meanings of transitions Examples
Adding a new idea Furthermore, moreover, too, also, in the second place, again, in addition, even more, next, further, last, lastly, finally, besides, and, or, nor, first second, secondly, etc.
Expressing time While, immediately, never, After, later, earlier, always, When, soon, whenever, Meanwhile, sometimes, in the meantime, during, afterwards, now, until now, next, following, then, at length, simultaneously, so far, this time, subsequently,
Indicating place Here, beyond, adjacent to, there, wherever, neighboring on, nearby, opposite to, above, below
Giving examples to illustrate, as an illustration, to demonstrate, e.g., (for example)specifically, for example, for instance
Comparing in the same way, in like manner by the same token, likewise similarly, in similar fashion
Showing contrast Yet, on the contrary, but, and yet, in contrast, however, nevertheless, notwithstanding, though, nonetheless on the other hand, otherwise, after all, at the same time
Explaining that is to say, to clarify, in other words, to rephrase it, to explain, to put it another way, i.e., (that is)
Showing reason Because, on account of, since, for that reason, Therefore, thus, consequently, hence, accordingly, as a result
Implying purpose in order that, to that end, to this end, so that, for this purpose
Emphasizing Indeed, undoubtedly, to repeat, in fact, certainly, by all means, surely, without doubt, of course
Making conclusions To summarize, in short, in brief in sum, in summary, to sum up, in conclusion, to conclude, finally.

9. Control the length of your sentences:

The optimal sentence length comprises 15 -20 words. However, it does not imply you have to produce every sentence according to this standard. It is far better to vary the length and the rhythm of the sentences. Combine long sentences with shorter or even elliptical constructions.

10. be careful with abbreviations and acronyms:

The universal recommendation for the usage of abbreviations is to write their full form when they are used first in the text. You do not have to provide the explanation for abbreviation if it is well-known. However, don’t use abbreviations that are commonly known as one term and you intend to alter their meaning? Use no more than two or three shortened forms in any writing regardless its overall size.

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