Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writing Styles and the Basics of Effective Writing

I did not major in writing or in English while in College. As a matter of fact, I only received a grade of only 85% in my high school English class. Compared to my 90% and 95% grades in History, Mathematics and Science, I could definitely recall that English was not my favorite subject in high school or in college. However, while in Graduate School, I took a class on effective and technical writing. What I learned from that class, I have applied in writing and are currently using that knowledge in my blogging activities.

Let me start with the three common styles of writing: technical, business and conversational.

Technical style is the writing style used for technical documents. It requires the use of especially clear and concise language. The style encourages short sentences and the absence of unnecessary words. The purpose is to ensure that technical information is easy to understand. The use of slang and double negatives must be avoided.

Business style is very similar to technical style, except that longer sentences are acceptable.

Conversational Style is identified by the use of personal pronouns, contractions and colloquialisms. Sometimes slang words are use to avoid monotony

There is no right and wrong writing style but what you use should be appropriate for a particular setting and audience. In other words know your audience and write for your audience.

Lastly, let me discussed briefly the three basics elements of style.

There are many elements in writing that contribute to an author’s style, but three of the most important are word choice, sentence fluency, and voice.

Word Choice: Good writers are concise and precise, weeding out unnecessary words and choosing the exact word to convey meaning. Precise words — active verbs, concrete nouns, specific adjectives — help the reader visualize the sentence. Good writers use adjectives sparingly and adverbs rarely, letting their nouns and verbs do the work.

Sentence fluency: Sentence fluency is the flow and rhythm of phrases and sentences. Good writers use a variety of sentences with different lengths and rhythms to achieve different effects. They use parallel structures within sentences and paragraphs to reflect parallel ideas, but also know how to avoid monotony by varying their sentence structures.

Voice: Voice is difficult to measure reliably. It is often left out of scoring formulas for writing tests. Yet voice is an essential element of style that reveals the writer’s personality. A writer’s voice can be impersonal or chatty, authoritative or reflective, objective or passionate, serious or funny.

Lastly to be an effective writer one must be direct, simple and forceful in your writings. Your writings must be clear with good grammar and no misspellings. If at all possible it must be in the active voice ( not passive) and could be easily understood by a 6th grader. Your writing is not effective if you write so that only a college graduate could easily understand it.

So my dear readers the above are a few of the basic things I learned on how to be an effective writer or blogger.

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