8 “A collection of good sentences resembles a string of pearls.” ― Chinese proverb Writing Style
After completing the chapter, you will be able to: • Define the terms writing style and tone. • Select appropriate words to convey a meaning while reflecting sensitivity to the audience. • Create structured sentences to achieve variety and clarity in writing style. • Develop paragraphs that convey ideas through appropriate logic, length, and use of transitions.
Writing Style and Tone • Writing style—way in which a writer uses language to convey an idea • Standard English—word choice, sentence structure, paragraphs, and the layout or format of communication follow standard, accepted conventions used by those who speak English • used in business • do not use “texting” language • Tone—impression of the overall content of the message
1. What is a writing style? 2. Describe why “texting” language is not acceptable in business writing.
Choosing the Right Words • Use • precise language • sensitive language • Select bias-free words which are neutral, neither positive nor negative. • euphemisms • words that expresses unpleasant ideas in more pleasant terms • personal pronouns such as I, me, my, you, your, he, she, it, we, they. • positive or neutral words • Do not be condescending
Choosing the Right Words • Precise language FPO
Choosing the Right Words • Choice of words Negative Neutral/Positive unable to affordable/less expensive malfunctioning responsibility unaware forget apologize incorrect • cannot • cheap • defective • fault • misinformed • neglect • regret • wrong
Choosing the Right Words • Be aware of shades of meaning • Context is the words or paragraphs surrounding a word that can explain the meaning. • Connotation is when the real meaning of some words resides in the mind of the user or the listener, not in the word itself or in its dictionary definition.
Choosing the Right Words Words can have shades of meaning throughout the world or even the country.
Choosing the Right Words • Four C’s—clear, concise, courteous, correct • Avoid redundancies. A redundancy is repeating a message or saying the same thing more than once. • Avoid clichés. Clichés are overused, commonplace, or trite phrases. • Avoid trendy words. Trendy words are those that may go out of fashion quickly. • Use familiar words.
Choosing the Right Words • Choice of words Long/Unfamiliar Familiar • utilize • terminate • endeavor • demonstrate • ascertain • query • initiate • procure • peruse • use • end • try • show • find out • ask • begin • get • review/read
1. Why is it good to use precise language? 2. What are bias-free words? 3. List three ways to achieve the four C’s of communication.
Structuring Clear and Concise Sentences • Structure sentences that are clear and concise. • Balance sentence length. • Choose active or passive voice. • active voice, the subject (the noun) is doing the action He explained the policy. • passive voice, the subject receives the action The policy was explained. • Write concise sentences—get to the point. • Avoid a series of short sentences as they sound choppy.
Structuring Clear and Concise Sentences • Paragraphs have three main parts: • introduction or topic sentence • developmental sentences • closing or summarizing sentence • Good paragraphs: • use general statements to introduce/summarize main ideas • provide specific statements that support the main idea • identify each new main idea and supporting ideas so that the reader can follow the logic of the message • break up text copy to make the communication appear more inviting to the reader
1. Why should you avoid a series of short sentences? In which voice is the subject doing the action? 3. What role do frills play in business writing?
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Paragraphs consist of introduction or topic sentence, developmental sentences, and closing or summarizing sentence • Apply logic • Does the first paragraph introduce the topic? • Are the points made in a logical sequence? • Does each paragraph build on the previous one?
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Control paragraph length • Paragraph length will vary according to subject matter and sentence construction. • A paragraph may consist of only one sentence, although these are generally avoided. • Keep the reader in mind as you write. Generally, as with sentences, business readers want paragraphs to be short and clear.
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Use transitions—words, phrases, and sentences that connect ideas and clarify the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. • Transitions prepare the reader for what is coming and move the reader from one idea or set of ideas to another. • Transitional words and phrases add balance to sentence length when used to connect two short sentences.
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Direct approach • topic sentence is followed by descriptive details • very readable format • most often used in business writing • Indirect approach • details precede the main idea of the paragraph • useful when you must give the reader bad news • allows you to present reasons before directly stating the bad news
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Useful transitions FPO
1. List the three parts of a paragraph. 2. When ideas are presented so they make sense to the reader, what is the writing said to be? 3. What determines paragraph length? (continued)
4. Describe the purpose of transitions. 5. What are the two approaches that can be used to present the topic in a paragraph?
Writing style refers to the way in which a writer uses language to convey an idea. Precise language adds clarity to the message. Short, simple sentences are more understandable than long, complex ones. Effective paragraphs have logical development, are short in length, and use transitions to connect ideas.