Now that you have learnt how to structure your thoughts and put your ideas in a sequence, let’s learn how to make your writing appear more professional and crisper.
A lot of people have very interesting ideas and they even manage to put them on paper. However their readership doesn’t extend beyond a particular level, even though their writing is good and the thoughts were properly mentioned. It is because their writing lacks a proper selection of words, or maybe a proverb like “nipping it in the bud” was used, which readers may not understand.
Let’s discuss 15 things that you should keep in mind while proof-reading and revising your writing −
● Your writing must be understood at the first reading. Avoid technical jargon, unfamiliar words, or formal language.
Formal vs. Modern
● Payment has been duly noted vs. we received your check.
● Attached hereto vs. please find attached
● Words with double meaning or sentences that confuse the readers should be avoided −
● Having eaten the fish, Kiran talked to Karan. (Who had the fish?)
● In a nutshell vs. in short
● In this day and age vs. today, presently
Avoid using many words
● Prior to the event vs. before
● At this point in time vs. now
Avoid unnecessary repetition
● Absolutely essential
● Combine together
Include only relevant information
● Omit unnecessary background information.
● Keep the sentences short and simple – 17 words or less.
● Check that all the information the reader will need is included −
● Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
● Check accuracy of grammar and spelling of names of people and places).
● He done it vs. he did it.
● It’s color has faded vs. its color has faded.
Don’t Rely on Spell Check
● Typing ‘no/on’, ‘then/than’, ‘quite/quiet’, ‘lose/loose’ won’t show errors.
● Give specific details.
● Your investment plan will earn high interest.
● Your investment plan will earn 8% interest.
● Use language that is believable. Avoid exaggeration and superlatives.
● Always vs. Usually
● Never vs. Rarely
● Display good manners in your writing. Passive voice should be used when communicating bad news to avoid negative overtones.
● We can’t agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.
● Some discussion regarding the terms and conditions will need to be done.
Write with the reader in mind.
● Sexist – Chairman, businessman
● Condescension – ‘Of course’, ‘Obviously’
Using Bullet Points
● Communicates your message in an easy and clear manner
● Highlights the most important information.