7 Writing Style
Section 7.1 Style and Tone
Objectives • Explain how to create an appropriate style and tone when writing. • Describe how to select words that convey meaning and adjust to the needs of the audience.
Key Terms writing style tone formal language informal language slang connotation euphemism condescending bias-free words situation jargon cliché
ssential uestion How can writing style and tone impact the success of a message?
Creating Writing Style and Tone • Writing style refers to the way in which a writer uses language to convey an idea • Reflects decisions made by the writer • Creates tone • Tone is an impression of the overall content of the message • Judge writing based on the four Cs of communication • Helps writing show respect and sensitivity • Leaves the reader with positive impression
Creating Writing Style and Tone (continued) • Use formal language • Formal language is language that is used in a workplace environment • Used in professional communication • Standard English is the norm • Informal language is language used in a casual situation without applying the rules of grammar • Used with friends and family • Texting language • Slang words and phrases
Creating Writing Style and Tone (continued) • Consider meaning • Meaning can vary according to context • Connotation is meaning apart from what the word explicitly names or describes • Euphemisms express unpleasant ideas in pleasant terms • Condescending language assumes an attitude of superiority
Creating Writing Style and Tone (continued) • Choose positive or neutral language • Easier to get results with a positive tone • Many words automatically cause negative reactions • Maintain integrity when writing a negative message with a positive tone
Creating Writing Style and Tone (continued) • Apply sensitive language • Bias-free words are neutral words imparting neither a positive nor negative message • Gender, ethnicity, and age should not be inferred from language • Do not use offensive, outdated terms
Choosing Words • When choosing words, be precise • Readers can better understand the message • Makes writing more interesting • Simple, everyday words attract and hold attention
Choosing Words (continued) • Select familiar words • Check whether words quickly and clearly convey the message • Aim to create a document that is easy to read and understand
Choosing Words (continued) • Use jargon sparingly • Adapt language to fit the situation, or all of the facts and events that affect the message • Jargon is language specific to a line of work area or expertise • Technical terminology or vocabulary • May not be understood outside of the field • May speed up communication if the reader knows it • Can create barriers if the reader does not know it
Choosing Words (continued) • Avoid buzzwords and clichés • Do not try too hard to impress readers • Popular words may not be current nor appropriate for the audience • Do not use clichés which are overused, commonplace, trite language • easy as pie • Dear Valued Customer: • Find new ways to express old ideas
Choosing Words (continued) • Adjust to the needs of the audience • Tone may be formal or informal depending on the audience • If the audience is well-known, it is acceptable to use personal pronouns • Use of personal pronouns may be inappropriate when representing a business or organization
Section 7.1 Review 1. Why is it important to judge your writing on the four Cs of communication? Doing so will help your writing show respect and sensitivity, leaving the reader with a positive impression. 2. Give an example of connotation. An example of connotation is the word foreign. In spite of its basic meaning of referring to something outside one’s own country, the word may also have a negative connotation. The word foreign can be associated with the idea of other, meaning not one of us or not like us. Thus, in the business world, you will find the word international is most often used in place of the word foreign.
Section 7.1 Review 3. Explain why bias-free language should be used in the workplace. When writing for professional purposes, it is important to use language free of biases related to gender, age, race, culture, disabilities, or other groups. A bias is a tendency to believe that some ideas or people are better than others, which often results in acting unfairly. Bias-free words are neutral words imparting neither a positive nor negative message. For example, gender, ethnicity, and age cannot be inferred from bias-free words.
Section 7.1 Review 4. What is the advantage of using simple, precise words in your messages? When precise language is used, the readers will be better able to understand the message and respond in the desired way. Simple, everyday words will help attract and hold the reader’s attention. Long words look difficult to the reader and may actually be difficult to read. In contrast, short, familiar words have more force and clarity. They also contribute to easier readability of sentences.
Section 7.1 Review 5. Explain when it is appropriate to use a formal tone and when it is appropriate to use an informal tone. A formal tone may be appropriate for a message that is being conveyed to management or clients. An informal tone is better suited for communication with coworkers or for a marketing piece.
Section 7.2 Sentence Style
Objectives • Describe ways to structure sentences that are clear and concise. • Explain how to compose effective paragraphs.
Key Terms redundancy transition
ssential uestion How does sentence style contribute to effective paragraphs?
Structuring Clear and Concise Sentences • Balance sentence length • Short, simple sentences are more understandable than long, complex ones • Too many short sentences can be boring • Aim to make sentences short and clear without being choppy • Join clauses • Add phrases • Read aloud to gain a different perspective
Structuring Clear and Concise Sentences (continued) • Choose active or passive voice • Active voice comes across stronger in tone and is best used when the message is direct • Passive voice should be used with thought
Structuring Clear and Concise Sentences (continued) • Write concise sentences • Good business writing has no frills • Every word and sentence should contribute to the message in a meaningful way • Concise writing does not waste time of the writer or the reader
Writing Effective Paragraphs • Effective paragraphs • are a series of well-written, coherent sentences arranged in a meaningful order • have three main parts: • Topic sentence introduces and summarizes main ideas to be presented • Developmental sentences include important information about the main idea • Closing or summarizing sentence provides a summary of the main idea
Writing Effective Paragraphs (continued) • When writing paragraphs, apply logic • Present and connect ideas so they make sense to the reader • Determine if writing is logical by asking: • Does the first paragraph introduce the topic? • Are the points made in a logical sequence? • Does each paragraph build on the previous one? • Follow the writing process to establish a logical flow
Writing Effective Paragraphs (continued) • Control paragraph length • Paragraph length varies according to subject and construction • Keep the audience in mind • Readers want short, clear paragraphs • Long paragraphs can usually be broken • Avoid redundancies • Redundancy is repeating a message • Confusing and irritating for the reader
Writing Effective Paragraphs (continued) • Transitions are words, phrases, and sentences that connect ideas. They • connect thoughts between sentences and paragraphs • prepare the reader for what is coming • move the reader from one idea to another • aid in the understanding of the message • add balance to sentence length
Writing Effective Paragraphs (continued) • Choose direct or indirect approach • Direct approach is most often used in business writing • Indirect approach prepares the reader for bad news
Section 7.2 Review 1. How can a writer balance sentence length? To judge the best length of a sentence, identify if the reader can immediately recognize the main idea without having to wade through unnecessary words. Aim to make sentences short enough to be clear, but avoid writing a series of short sentences that make the text sound choppy. Joining clauses and adding phrases will make sentences flow smoothly and add variety to your writing. 2. How does using active voice affect a message? When you use the active voice in writing, the message comes across in a stronger tone. Active voice emphasizes immediacy and adds vitality to your writing.
Section 7.2 Review 3. Why is it important to be concise when writing for business? Every sentence and every word within the sentence should contribute to the overall message in a meaningful way. When your writing is concise, you do not waste time explaining every detail of the situation. Subsequently, the reader does not waste time either. 4. Explain why paragraph length is important to the reader. Generally, business readers want paragraphs to be short and clear. Shorter paragraphs help readers to skim and scan.
Section 7.2 Review 5. How do transitions in a sentence influence a reader? Transitions prepare the reader for what is coming and move the reader from one idea or set of ideas to another. This aids the reader’s understanding of the message. Transitional words and phrases also add balance to sentence length when used to connect two short sentences.