CLEAR WRITING

Mehwish Fatima BBA-IV-II 22nd January 2008

Pointers for Clear Writing

The Ten Commandments Construction of Clear Sentences Construction of Clear Paragraphs

The Ten Commandments
Keep sentences short Prefer the simple to the complex Use familiar words Avoid unnecessary words Put action in your verbs Write like you talk Use terms your reader can picture Tie in with your reader's experience Make full use of variety Write to express, not impress

I. Keep sentences short
 Average length of a sentence:15-20 words  Fuzzy words block clarity  Remember to vary sentence length  Short sentences pep up and clarify your text  Express only one idea in each sentence

I. Keep sentences short
 Wordy: This manual of instructions was prepared to aid our dealers in being helpful to their customers. (16) Concise: We prepared this instruction manual to help our dealers serve their customers. (12)

 Wordy: It is the responsibility of our Production Department to see that it meets the requirements of our Sales Division. (19) Concise: Our Production Department must meet our Sales Division's requirements. (9)

I. Prefer the simple to the complex
 Writing shorter sentences usually means you use shorter words  Modification  Crisis Situation  Utilization Change Crisis Use

 Huge multi-page reports just don't get read especially by top management.

I.

Use familiar words

“Big minds use little words; little minds use big words.”  Use words that are almost in everyone’s vocabulary  25 percent of all that is written and spoken in English is comprised of 10 short familiar words: The, of, and, to, a, in, that, it, is, I.

I. Avoid unnecessary words
 Slash words mercilessly  Seek shorter ways of saying things  One minute spent organizing a mass of details will save several minutes in its writing

I. Avoid unnecessary words
Original: "There were three or four people in the committee who said that the company needed to give a demonstration of how its new equipment functions." Improved: "Several committee members said the company should demonstrate its new equipment."

I.

Put action in your verbs
Lively writing contains action verbs, not passive ones

Passive Present design methods are predicated on the assumption that one-piece windshields are preferred by the public. Active At present, designers assume the public prefers onepiece windshields.

I.

Put action in your verbs
The UNIX operating system is being used more and more in the business world. All the resumes were filed in the wrong cabinet by the secretary. First, the product line was examined to determine if it met customers' needs. After just-in-time inventory procedures were introduced, our inventories were cut in half.

Examples:

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Write like you talk
Use clear, conversational language. Tone is important. You don't write the same way to top management, your peers or the public.

I.

Use terms your reader can picture
Choose concrete over abstract terms.

An engineer might say an alloy is "not fabricable.” When asked for a more specific meaning, the engineer might say "the alloy cracks when it is cold-rolled.”

I.

Use terms your reader can picture

Vague: contact Specific: call, write, visit

Vague: soon Specific: by March 15

Vague: This television set is of high quality. Specific: All components in this television set meet or exceed government specifications for use in manned satellites.

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Tie in with your reader's experience
Tailor the language to the audience. Much communication fails because writers ignore readers' beliefs. Words vary in meaning It isn't enough to write so you will be understood. You must write so you can't be misunderstood.

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Make full use of variety
Variety is a main ingredient in the art of writing. Only practice can lead to the facility that produces variety. Introduce enough variety of sentence length, structure, and vocabulary.

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Make full use of variety
We have hired staff, and they will complete their training next week. When the stores open, we will have balloons and specials in every department. We will survey customers later in the year to see whether demand warrants a third store on campus.

Examples:

I.

Write to express, not impress

"I can't understand what he is saying; he must be highly intelligent.”
Consider this press release:

"The state air control board is initiating a Strategic Enforcement Priorities Plan '94, a plan which will create a more effective enforcement program characterized by placing a heavier emphasis on strategic priorities and targeting use of resources.“
Such pretentious, abstract language hides simple ideas:

"The state air control board will follow a wider enforcement plan in 1994 that will focus on strategic goals and resource use."

Construction of Clear Sentences
 Determining emphasis in Sentence Design  Give every item its due emphasis  Short sentences emphasize contents  Longer sentences deemphasize contents

Construction of Clear Sentences
Examples:  The company lost money last year. The loss occurred in spite of record sales.  Although the company enjoyed record sales last year, it lost money.  The company enjoyed record sales last year, although it lost money.

Construction of Clear Sentences
 Giving the Sentences Unity All parts of a sentence must combine to form one clear thought.  Unrelated Ideas  Excessive Detail  Illogical Constructions

Construction of Clear Sentences
 Unrelated Ideas Mr. Ahmad is our sales manager and he has degree in biology.  Excessive Detail The 9th grade students did well on most of the 3-part test with at least 85 percent of the students at more than two-thirds of the schools passing seven of 28 test objectives.  Illogical Constructions Because our salespeople are inexperienced caused us to miss our deadline.

Construction of Clear Paragraphs
 Paragraph Design  Paragraphing shows and emphasize organization  It involves logical thinking

Construction of Clear Paragraphs
 Giving the Paragraph Unity  The contents of a paragraph should concern one topic or idea  “Everything in this paragraph belongs together because every part concerns every other part.”

Construction of Clear Paragraphs
 Making Use of Topic Sentences

Readability Statistics
 Tools       Options Spelling & Grammar

Number of words Number of characters Number of sentences Averages of characters per word Averages of words per sentence Averages of sentences per paragraph

Conclusion
Think before you write. Clear writing comes from clear thinking. If you don't fully understand the process or the problem, you can't explain it to others. Which means you must first establish your message.

Questions ? Thank You