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Chapter 4 Style and Tone-- continued Nine Ways to Make Your Writing Easier to Read Revise your draft in the following ways to make your writing easier.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 Style and Tone-- continued Nine Ways to Make Your Writing Easier to Read Revise your draft in the following ways to make your writing easier."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4 Style and Tone-- continued Nine Ways to Make Your Writing Easier to Read Revise your draft in the following ways to make your writing easier to read. When you revise, remember that very little specific advice about style applies to all situations. Keep using a technique only if it improves your writing.

2 1. Tighten your writing. 2. Vary sentence length and sentence structure. 3. Use technical jargon sparingly; eliminate business jargon. 4.Use active verbs most of the time. 5. Use verbs — not nouns — to carry the weight of your sentence.

3 6. Use parallel structure (平 行结构) pp Begin most paragraphs with topic sentences. 8. Use specific, vivid language. 9.Put your readers in your sentences.

4 Tighten Your Writing Writing is wordy if the same idea could be expressed in fewer words. Unnecessary words increase typing time; they bore your reader; and they make your meaning more difficult to follow. Good writing is tight. Tight writing may be long because it is packed with ideas. In the above chapters, we saw that revisions to create you-

5 You-attitude and positive emphasis And to develop reader benefits were frequently longer than the originals because the revision added information not in the original. You may be able to look at a draft and see immediately how to tighten it. When wordiness isn ’ t obvious, try the following strategies for tightening your writing. A. Eliminate words that are clear from the context or that tell the reader nothing.

6 B. Use gerunds and infinitives to make Sentences shorter and smoother. C. Combine sentences to eliminate unnecessary words. D. Reword sentences to cut the number of words. The purpose of eliminating unnecessary words is to save the reader ’ s time, not simply to see how few words you can use.

7 You are not writing a telegram So keep the little words which make sentences complete. Examples : A. Eliminate words that are clear from the context or that tell the reader nothing. Cut words that are already clear from other words in the sentence. Substitute single words for wordy phrases. Wordy: Keep this information on file for future reference.

8 Better: Keep this information for reference. Phrases beginning of, which,and that can often be shortened. Wordy: the question of most importance Better: the most important question Wordy: the estimate which is enclosed Better: the enclosed estimate Sentences beginning with There are or It is Can often be tighter.

9 Example: Wordy: There are three reasons for the success of the program. Better: Three reasons explain the program ’ s success. Wordy: It is the case that college graduates promote more quickly in the company. Better: College graduates promote more quickly in the company.

10 b. Use Gerunds and Infinitives to make sentences shorter and smoother. A gerund is the – ing form of a verb; grammatically, it is a verb used as a noun. In the sentence “ Running is my favorite activity, ” running is the subject of the sentence. An infinitive is the form of the verb which is preceded by “ to ” : to run is the infinitive. In the revision below, a gerund(purchasing)

11 And an infinitive(to transmit) tighten the revision. Wordy: A plant suggestion has been made where they would purchase a QWIP machine for the purpose of transmitting test reports between plants. Better: The plant suggests purchasing a QWIP machine to transmit test reports between plants. (Even when gerunds and infinitives do not greatly affect length,they often make sentences smoother and more conversational.)

12 c.Reword sentences to cut the number of words. If none of the first two methods work, reword the sentence. Think about what you mean and try saying the same thing in several different ways. Choose the tightest one. Wordy: The reason we are recommending the computerization of this process is because it will reduce the time required to obtain data and will give us more accurate data.

13 Better: We are recommending the Computerization of this process because it will save time and give us more accurate data. Tight: Computerizing the process will give us more accurate data more quickly. Vary sentence length and sentence structure. Readable prose mixes sentence lengths and varies sentence structure.

14 . Use these guidelines for sentence length and structure: Always edit sentences for tightness. Even a 17-word sentence can be wordy. Use long sentences: to show how ideas are linked to each other; to avoid a series of short, choppy sentences; to reduce repetition.

15 (Cont.) When you use a long sentence, keep the subject and verb close together. Use Active Verbs. Use active verbs most of the time. A verb is active if the grammatical subject of the sentence does the action the verb describes. A verb is passive if the subject is acted upon.

16 Active: I recommend this method. Passive: This method is recommended by me. Passive verbs have at least three disadvantages: 1. If all the information in the original sentence is retained, passive verbs make the sentence longer. Passives take more time to understand. 2. If the agent is omitted, it ’ s not clear who is responsible for action.

17 3. When many passive verbs are used, the writing can be boring and pompous. Passive verbs are desirable in these situations: 1. Use passives to emphasize the object receiving the action, not the agent. Your order was shipped November 15. (The customer ’ s order, not the shipping clerk, is important.) 2. Use passives to provide coherence within a Paragraph.

18 A sentence is easier to read if “ old ” information comes At the beginning of a sentence.When you have been discussing a topic, use the word again as your subject even if that requires a passive verb. Example: When your order arrived, orange shirts were temporarily out of stock. Your order was filled on Sept. 23. Using order as the subject of the second sentence provides a link between the two sentences, making the paragraph as a whole easier to read.

19 3. Use passives to avoid assigning blame. Example: The order was damaged during shipment. An active verb would require the writer to specify who damage the order.The passive here is more tactful. If none of these cases applies, use active verbs. They make your writing more interesting and easier to read.

20 Use strong verbs. Put the weight of your sentence in the verb. Strong verbs make sentences more forceful and up to 25% easier to read. Weak: The financial advantage of owning this equipment instead of leasing it is 10% after taxes. Better: Owning this equipment rather than leasing it will save us 10% after taxes.

21 (Cont.) Use verbs to present the information more forcefully. Weak: We will perform an investigation of the problem. Better: We will investigate the problem. Weak: Selection of a program should be based on the client ’ s needs. Better: Select the program that best fits the client ’ s needs

22 Use parallel structure.(see page 30.) Use topic sentences. A good paragraph has unity; that is, it is about only one idea, or topic. The topic sentence introduces or summarizes that main idea. Grammatically, the topic sentence may be either stated or implied; that is, as long as the paragraph Is about only one topic, it does not need to have an explicit topic sentence.

23 (Cont.) Grammatically, the topic sentence may come anywhere in the paragraph: at the beginning, middle,or end. Your writing will be easier to read, however, if you make the topic sentence explicit and put it at the beginning of the paragraph. Plan B also has economic advantages.(Prepares the reader for a discussion of B ’ s economic advantages.)

24 We had several personnel changes in June. (Prepares the reader for a list of the month ’ s terminations and hires.) When the first sentence of a paragraph is not the topic sentence, readers who skim may miss the main point. Move the topic sentence to the beginning of the paragraph.In some cases you may need to write a topic sentence. If you can ’ t think of a single sentence which serves as an “ umbrella ” to cover every sentence, the paragraph lacks unity.

25 To solve the problem, either split The paragraph into two or eliminate the sentence which is off the main point. Use specific, vivid words. Specific, vivid word choice show that your mind is at work; they surprise your reader;they perk up your writing.Even a routine informative report can benefit from an occasional vivid image. Persuasive messages need specifics to be convincing.

26 The following sentence illustrate effective specifics: Computers do not like the food that humans eat. So be careful that no crumbs,sauces, soups,or oils get into the machinery if you ’ re eating nearby. Put your readers in your sentences. Use second-person pronouns(you) rather than third-person(he,she,one,they) to give your writing more impact. You is both singular and plural;it can refer to a single person or to every member of your organization.

27 Use you only when it refers to your reader. Otherwise, you ’ ll come up with confusing sentences like the following: Incorrect: My visit with the outside sales rep showed me that your schedule can change quickly. Correct: My visit with the outside sales rep showed me that schedules can change quickly.

28 Building a good style of your own Two basic ways to build a good business style: read widely and write a great deal. To get a sense of the informality needed for business writing, read magazine articles and the copy in newspaper and magazine ads. Read this book. Experiment with different styles, recognizing that anything that ’ s new to you will feel strange for a while. Writing well takes practice.

29 Do some free-writing at least three times a week A week: write for 15 minutes(set a timer) without stopping to think, revise,or edit.Read what you ’ ve written out loud to another person. If you ’ d never talk like that,try rephrasing your idea in words that are more conversational.Building a good style takes energy and effort,but it ’ s well worth the work. Good style can make every document you write more effective; good style will help make you the good writer so valuable to every organization.

30 Do Practice 3


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