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Successful Writing at Work Philip C. Kolin University of Southern Mississippi The Writing Process at Work.

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Presentation on theme: "Successful Writing at Work Philip C. Kolin University of Southern Mississippi The Writing Process at Work."— Presentation transcript:

1 Successful Writing at Work Philip C. Kolin University of Southern Mississippi The Writing Process at Work

2 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–22–2 Researching  Find out about the nature of your assignment and your readers  Determine how to gather and interpret the information needed  Keep in mind research is on-going throughout the writing process

3 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–32–3 Planning  Techniques to help you develop, organize, and tailor the right information for your audience 1.Clustering 2.Brainstorming 3.Outlining You can use these techniques alone or in combination

4 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–42–4 Clustering Employee advantages Employer advantages Topic FLEX TIME Adaptable to individual lifestyle Childcare arrangements easier Easier to do business with global companies Always someone in office 7am-5pm Avoid rush hour traffic Happier employees

5 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–52–5 Brainstorming  Don’t stop to delete, rearrange, or rewrite  Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar  Keep the ideas flowing  Take a short break after 10 to 15 minutes, then make changes to your list  Expect to add some ideas or combine or rearrange others as you start to develop them in more detail

6 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–62–6 Outlining  Can go through stages of development  Jot down a few major points and identify a few subpoints  As you continue to add and delete details you will find that you are coming closer to the next stage—drafting For most writers, outlining is the easiest and most comfortable way to begin planning a report or letter

7 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–72–7 Drafting  Converts ideas from your outlines, brainstorms, or clusters into paragraphs  May require many drafts, each less rough and more acceptable than the preceding one  Gets your main points down in logical order  Helps you make decisions about –What you say –Where you say it

8 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–82–8 Guidelines for Successful Drafting  In an early draft, write the easiest part first  Get frequent outside opinions-collaboration is essential in the workplace  Consider if the use of visuals would enhance your work  As you work on a later draft, write straight through-don’t worry about grammar and mechanics  Allow time between drafts so you can evaluate your work with fresh eyes and a clear mind

9 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–92–9 Revising  Revise after you produce a draft that conveys the appropriate message for your audience  Do not be tempted to skip the revision stage  Avoid drafting and revising in one sitting  Ask a co-worker or friend familiar with your topic to comment on your work  Plan to read your revised work more than once

10 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–10 Your entire document Revision Is Rethinking Resee Rethink Reconsider Ask questions about the major issues of content, organization, and tone

11 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–11 Key Questions to Ask as You Revise Content 1.Is it accurate? Are my facts correct? 2.Is it relevant for my audience and purpose? 3.Have I included sufficient information for my readers’ purpose?

12 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–12 Key Questions to Ask as You Revise Organization 1.Is the arrangement of my information clear and straightforward? 2.Have I clearly identified my main points? 3.Is everything proportionate to my readers’ needs? 4.Is everything in the right, most effective order? 5.Have I grouped related items in the same part of my report or letter? 6.Is my work logical?

13 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–13 Key Questions to Ask as You Revise Tone 1.How do I sound to my readers? –Professional and sincere? –Arrogant and unreliable? 2.How will my readers think I perceive them? –Will they know I believe they are honest and intelligent? –Have I used words and details that seem to question their judgments, professionalism, or intelligence? What attitude do my words or expressions convey?

14 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–14 Editing  Editing is quality control. It is the last stage in the writing process –It is done only after you are completely satisfied that you have said what you want to, where and how you intended  When you edit, you will check your work for: –Sentence variation –Word choices –Punctuation –Spelling –Grammar and usage

15 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–15 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences The planning committee decided that the awards banquet should be held on May 15 at 6:30, since the other two dates (May 7 and May 22) suggested by the hospitality committee conflict with local sports events, even though one of those events could be changed to fit our needs. Too Long: Do not pile one clause on another. Instead, edit one overly long sentence into two or even three more manageable ones How would you edit this sentence for easier reading? 1.Avoid needlessly complex or lengthy sentences

16 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–16 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences The planning committee decided that the awards banquet should be held on May 15 at 6:30, since the other two dates (May 7 and May 22) suggested by the hospitality committee conflict with local sports events, even though one of those events could be changed to fit our needs. Too Long: The planning committee has decided to hold the awards banquet on May 15 at 6:30. Edited for easier reading: The other dates suggested by the hospitality committee—May 7 and May 22—conflict with two local sports events. Although the date of one of those sports events could be changed, the planning committee still believes that May 15 is our best choice. 1.Avoid needlessly complex or lengthy sentences

17 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–17 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 2.Combine short, choppy sentences Medical transcriptionists have many responsibilities. Their responsibilities are important. They must be familiar with medical terminology. They must listen to dictation. Sometimes physicians talk very fast. Then the transcriptionist must be quick to transcribe what is heard. Words could be missed. Transcriptionists must also prepare final reports. This will take a great deal of time and concentration. These reports are copied and stored properly for reference. Choppy: Effective editing blends short sentences onto longer ones to achieve variety and to reflect logical relationships How would you edit this sentence?

18 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–18 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 2.Combine short, choppy sentences Medical transcriptionists have many responsibilities. Their responsibilities are important. They must be familiar with medical terminology. They must listen to dictation. Sometimes physicians talk very fast. Then the transcriptionist must be quick to transcribe what is heard. Words could be missed. Transcriptionists must also prepare final reports. This will take a great deal of time and concentration. These reports are copied and stored properly for reference. Choppy: Medical transcriptionists have many important responsibilities. Edited: These include transcribing physicians’ orders using correct medical terminology. When physicians talk rapidly, transcriptionists have to keyboard accurately so that no words are omitted. Among the most demanding of their duties are preparing final transcriptions and then making and storing those copies properly for future reference.

19 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–19 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 3.Edit sentences to tell who does what to whom or what –Identify the subject—the person, place, or concept that controls the main action –Select an action-packed verb that shows what the subject does –Specify the object that is acted upon by the real subject through the verb An assessment of the market helped our company design its new food blender. Unclear: The main action is designing. Who did it? How would you edit this sentence?

20 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–20 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 3.Edit sentences to tell who does what to whom or what An assessment of the market helped our company design its new food blender. Unclear: Our company designed its new food blender by assessing the market. Edited: The control of the ceiling limits of glycidyl ethers on the part of the employers for the optimum safety of workers in the workplace is necessary. Unclear: Edited: For the workers’ safety, employers must control the ceiling limits of glycidyl ethers.

21 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–21 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 4. Use strong, active verbs rather than verb phrases with verbs disguised as nouns The officer made an assessment of the damages the storm had caused. Weak: How would you edit this sentence to make it stronger? Verb phrases are created by adding a suffix (-ation, - ance, -ment, -ence) to a direct verb (assess) to make a noun (assessment) and then coupling the new noun with make, provide, or work

22 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–22 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 4. Use strong, active verbs rather than verb phrases with verbs disguised as nouns The officer made an assessment of the damages the storm had caused. Weak: The officer assessed the damage the storm had caused. Strong: The city provided the employment of two work crews to assist the strengthening of the dam. Weak: The city employed two work crews to strengthen the dam. Strong:

23 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–23 To avoid this problem, edit the sentence to place some of the modifiers in prepositional phrases before and after the nouns they modify Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 5. Avoid piling modifiers in front of a noun The ordinance contract number vehicle identification plate had to be checked against inventory numbers. Crowded: How would you edit this sentence to make it more readable? Modifiers are subordinate units (see appendix, pp. 758-775) that clarify and qualify a noun. Putting too many of them in the reader’s path to the noun will confuse the reader

24 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–24 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 5. Avoid piling modifiers in front of a noun The ordinance contract number vehicle identification plate had to be checked against inventory numbers. Crowded: The ordinance contract number on the vehicle identification plate had to be checked against the inventory numbers. Readable: The vibration noise control heat pump condenser quieter can make your customer happier. Crowded: The quieter on the condenser for the heat pump will make your customer happier by controlling noise and vibrations. Readable:

25 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–25 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 6. Replace a wordy phrase or clause with a one- or two-word synonym The college has parking zones for different areas for people living on campus as well as for those who do not live on campus and who commute to school. Wordy: The college has different parking zones for residents and commuter students. Edited: Twenty words of the original sentence—everything after “areas for”—have been reduced to four words: “resident and commuter students”

26 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–26 Editing Guidelines for Writing Lean and Clear Sentences 7. Combine sentences beginning with the same subject or ending with an object that becomes the subject of the next sentence I asked the inspector if she was going to visit the plant this afternoon. I also asked her if she would come alone. Wordy: I asked the inspector if she was going to visit the plant alone this afternoon. Edited:

27 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–27 Editing Guidelines to Eliminate Sexist Language  Sexist language offers a distorted view of our society and discriminates in favor of one sex at the expense of another, usually women  Sexist language can: –Offend and demean female readers by depriving them of their equal rights –Brand you as sexist and biased –Decrease the effectiveness and persuasiveness of any points you are trying to make –Cost your company business –Ignore needs of international audience

28 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–28 Ways to Avoid Sexist Language 1.Replace sexist words with neutral ones 2.Watch masculine pronouns 3.International readers may find pronoun guidelines confusing since many languages follow grammatical gender. For example, in French all doctors grammatically speaking are “he.” 4.Eliminate sexist salutations 5.Never single out a person’s physical appearance

29 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.2–29 Avoiding Other Types of Stereotypical Language  Do not single out an individual because of race or national origin  Avoid words or phrases that discriminate against an individual because of age  Respect individuals who may have a disability by not using derogatory words such as crippled, handicapped, (physical) slow or retarded (mental)


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