Many people have very interesting ideas and even manage to put them on paper. Unfortunately, their readership does not extend beyond a particular stage. This is because, though their writing is good and the thoughts were properly mentioned, there may not have been a proper selection of words, or maybe a proverb like − “nipping it in the bud” was used, which readers may not understand.
Let us discuss 15 things to remember 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 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 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’ will not 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. Use passive voice when communicating bad news to avoid negative overtones. For example,
● We cannot agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.
● Some discussions regarding the terms and conditions 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.