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
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.