Writing is a form of communication, so if you aren’t communicating, you aren’t writing well! There is no need to use a big word when a small one will do. There is no need to craft (??) a long sentence when a short one will do.
Here are some tips for writing effectively (if you are writing a novel, some of these may not apply!):
1. Short words usually have more punch than long words.
2. Words have more punch when placed at the end of a sentence, so you might try rearranging your sentence to put the important word at the end if you can.
3. A good way to proofread your writing is to read it aloud to yourself.
4. When writing an e-mail, always proof it before you hit Send. There are two reasons for this: First, you want to make sure you have proofread it, and it is correct. Second, you want to make sure you want to send it; in fact, some suggest that you leave out the TO line until you are sure it is appropriate to send. Emails sent in a moment of emotion are never good things!
5. Use the active voice most of the time. (In the active voice the subject is the Doer.) For example: She drove the car (active) rather than The car was driven by her (passive).
6. Short sentences are often stronger and more effective than longer ones. However, it is best to mix short and long sentences. Sentences that are all the same length will make your writing seem choppy and grade-schoolish, and we don’t want to go to the other extreme.
7. Generally, sentences should be between about 15 and 23 words.
8. Start about two-thirds of your sentences with the subject, rather than with an introductory phrase or clause.
9. Remember that spell check doesn’t catch everything (for example, a word that is actually a word, but not the right word for the sentence).
10.If you use “this” or “it,” make sure your reader is clear on what you are referring to.
Next time: Ten things NOT to do in your writing!