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Become a Better Writer Instantly, Part 2

When you drive your car, there are laws you must follow. Well, there are also “laws” or criteria for writing effectively. Enhance your credibility and professional image instantly by paying attention to these criteria:

  • State the main point clearly, right at the beginning
  • Organize information logically
  • Leave out unnecessary information
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Eliminate unnecessary words
  • Include all necessary information
  • Use active, precise language and plain English
  • Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling

Data show that people won’t read your document if it’s not presented clearly and that you have only about fifteen seconds to get someone’s attention.

This tip was contributed by WriteItWell.com, your editing partner.

Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, at 12:03 pm


6 Comments

6 Responses to “Become a Better Writer Instantly, Part 2”

  1. Mary Gorski says:

    I have a grammer question that is being challenged. The question is regarding Proper Nouns vs. Nouns and the use of capitalization. The material is for a training manual. There are a number of critical players addressed throughout the manual. We want to ensure that the learner recognizes their importance and therefore we desire to use them as Proper Nouns vs. Nouns.

    Some examples would be when referencing Customers, Consignees and Vendors. Never in the manual will we identify them by their specific names. Therefore when we are referring to the above, we are considering them to be proper nouns. Is this an inaccurate or rule breaking approach?

    Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jane says:

      By definition a proper noun is a “specific person, place, thing, or title of a work.” The examples you gave, customers, consignees, and vendors, are not proper nouns and should not normally be capitalized. Since you wish to ensure that the learner recognizes their importance, you might use a different approach such as defining at the beginning of the manual that these terms will appear with a different colored font, in bold, or in italics, for instance. Or, you could determine when you are being specific, for example:

      Make sure you understand the customer’s needs.
      Do not assume that the needs of Customer A are the same as those of Customer B.

  2. Mary Connor says:

    What a pity that such good advice should also contain a spelling mistake. When describing a building one should spell the different levels as either one storey or two storey. A story is a tale told to children to help them sleep!

    • Jane says:

      “Story” is the correct spelling in American English and “storey” is the correct spelling in British English. Our blog emphasizes American English.

  3. Narime says:

    i have a problem in this statement ‘ i wonder what he is doing’ here what should i put at the end of the sentence? : a full stop , question mark or exclamation mark .

    thanks alot for all

    • Jane says:

      I wonder what he is doing is a statement, not a question. Therefore, do not use a question mark. If the statement is shouted or spoken forcefully with strong feeling, an exclamation point can be used. If not, just use a period.

      I wonder what he is doing.

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