Sunday, June 30, 2013

Writing Tip 1: Give Your Reader Some Signs

When writing, give your reader some direction.
You might think that short sentences are more effective because they are easier to read. But in practice lots of short sentences can be just as difficult to follow as lots of long ones.

The best approach is to combine long and short sentences. And give your reader some signposts.

Compare these two opening paragraphs of memos:

The SACT met recently. It is planning to propose training courses on web design. The courses will be offered to all staff. The company has recently decided to enhance its internet and intranet facilities. The courses will include learning html and web design applications. They will not include programming. The committee is planning to make a budget submission. The submission will be at the end of the year. Your feedback is needed. Your feedback will help the committee in making a successful submission. Feedback is welcome any time before 15 November.

Following a recent meeting, the SACT is planning to propose training courses on web design in response to the company's recent decision to enhance its internet and intranet facilities. These courses will be offered to all staff. They will include learning html and web design applications but will not include programming. The committee is planning to make a budget submission at the end of the year and needs your feedback on the proposed training in order to make the submission as successful as possible. Your feedback is welcome any time before 15 November.

The first paragraph has eleven sentences. All of them are short and have only one clause. But is it easy to read? Is it reader-friendly?

The second paragraph has five sentences of different lengths and using different types of clauses. It has the same information, but instead of reading like a list the items are combined.

The words in green link together pieces of information. They also help to link each sentence to the one just before it. These words direct the reader through the text. They are signpost words.

The second paragraph is more effective than the first because it combines long, medium and short sentences. Sentence one has three pieces of information. Sentence two, by contrast, has only one. It is this variety in length that makes the writing more effective.

Look again at the sentences in paragraph two. It has this pattern:

LONG....SHORT.....MEDIUM......LONG......SHORT

The two short sentences give important information to the reader, but they only work in combination with the two longer sentences (giving three pieces of information each) and the medium-sized sentence (two pieces of information).

The phrase 'the proposed training' is added to link and repeat the key words of the memo - proposal and training.

Writing Tips:
* Combine long, medium and short sentences in a single paragraph.
* Try putting short sentences at the beginning, in the middle or at the end.
* Make sure the short sentences communicate important information.
* Focus on the 'signpost' words that link sentences together.
* Deadlines and key dates are effective at the end of the first paragraph of a memo.
It is helpful to know some of the basic sentence patterns in English. See this site for an outline of the main types of sentences in English.

by : here

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Author: Sendi Karlita Location: Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung

Article Writing Tip 1: Give Your Reader Some Signs, Published by Sendi Karlita on the day Sunday, June 30, 2013. Hopefully this article can add your insights. Sendi Karlita a is a writer who wants to be successful in the virtual world. Try, and keep trying. May God give consent. regards

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