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11 Tips For Stronger Writing

By Expert Author: Henry Perry

Communicate to motivate!
Table of Contents
The Importance of Good Writing
TIP #1: Be Active, Not Passive
TIP #2: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
TIP #3: Don't Be Verbose and Run On and On and Use More Words than You Really Need to Use to Get Your Point Across
TIP #4: Skip the Big Words. Your Reader is Not Impressed
TIP #5: Shorter is Usually Sweeter
TIP #6: Structure Your Paragraphs Logically
TIP #7: Are You Sure That's the Right Word?
TIP #8: Have a Conversation
TIP #9: Say What?
TIP #10: Avoid Qualifiers
TIP #11: Get Rid of Repetitive Redundancies
The Importance of Good Writing
Does your job require you to write? Anything at all? If not, you don't need this article. However, if you're occasionally called on to write a letter to a customer, instructions for a subordinate, details on the operation of a process, a training manual, an annual report, an article for the company newsletter, or even an email to a co-worker, you'll develop a reputation as a writer.
Will that reputation be good or bad? Will people enjoy reading your work - or cringe when they get something from you? Most of the time, that will depend on your writing style. People like to read things that are easy to understand, are written in plain English, and follow a logical progression of thought. Misspelled words, grammatical errors, and poor sentence structure are all distracting to your message. This booklet is not intended to be a primer on spelling or grammar, but you can greatly improve your writing just by following 11 simple tips.
TIP #1: Be Active, Not Passive
A common error is writing in the passive voice when active voice will sound better and make more sense. Active voice is usually preferred because it makes the sentence clearer and shorter.
Instead of this: The man was bitten by the dog.
Try this: The dog bit the man.
Instead of this: A rude noise was made by the student, and the principal was called by the teacher.
Try this: The student made a rude noise, and the teacher called the principal.
TIP #2: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
Your writing shouldn't cause your reader to scratch his head and say, "Huh?".
Instead of this: If the Internal Revenue Service finds that an individual has received a payment to which the individual was not entitled, whether or not the payment was due to the individual's fault or misrepresentation, and whether or not the payment was due to a miscalculation by the Service, or some other type of error, nevertheless, the individual shall be liable to repay to the Department of the Treasury, the total sum of the payment to which the individual was not entitled.
Try this: If the IRS overpays you, regardless of the reason, you are required to return the amount of the overpayment.
TIP #3: Don't Be Verbose and Run On and On and Use More Words Than You Really Need to Use to Get Your Point Across
Some writers seem to enjoy long sentences. The go for quantity rather than quality. In reality, it takes more talent to be concise.
Instead of this: ABC Software, Inc. today announced its early adoption and planned use and support of Microsoft's new Visual Studio for Applications (VSA) technology as a fundamental component of the platform on which ABC Software's next-generation solutions will be built. ABC Software has a strong history of providing customers with solutions adaptable to unique business needs through award winning customization tools. VSA provides important capabilities that will enable ABC Software to take customization flexibility to more advanced levels in its next generation products.
Try this: ABC Software is one of the first to adopt Microsoft's new Visual Studio Applications (VSA) technology. ABC has a history of providing customization tools that are adaptable to a wide variety of business needs. Using VSA will enable ABC to create even more advanced versions of its software.
TIP #4: Skip the Big Words. Your Reader is Not Impressed.
Some writers believe that they'll be more highly respected or appear to be smarter if they use big words. In reality, however, most people are put off by that. The writer appears to be a pompous show-off. Just say what you mean in plain English!
Instead of this - Try this:
additional - extra
advise - tell
attempt - try
commence - start
consequently - so
forward - send
individual - man or woman
initial - first
in excess of - more than
in the event of - if
numerous - many
on receipt - when we get
on request - if you ask
particulars - details
persons - people
prior to - before
regarding - about
referred to as - called
sufficient - enough
terminate - end

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