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Writing clear prose is imperative to a successful career in any writing field. As journalists, we must write clear, concise sentences that convey information quickly. Even if you are writing a human interest piece and are painting a picture for the reader, that picture better get painted quick. My favorite book to use when finishing a piece for a paper is Fiske's To the Point: A Dictionary of Concise Writing.
Only two people out of ten will read beyond the title of your piece, no matter where they are reading it. That is a terrible odd. Help your work get read by using these tips to clean up your writing:
Using ambiguous pronouns can lead to confusion and draw the reader away from your main points. Consider the following sentences:
Passive Voice Constructions
This type of construction often leads to wordy and awkward sentences. Consider the following paragraph:
It is said that passive voice constructions are used too often by authors. As a result, wordy and awkward sentences may be created in an essay. These types of sentences are frequently made when imprecise language and terms are used by a writer. The audience may be confused when it is not made clear what the point of a sentence is. Mistakes in grammar can also be made. When these are made, interest in the paper may be lessened. Although many strong ideas may be contained in the paper, the audience’s interest is affected by the way that these ideas are presented. However, passive voice constructions and grammatical errors can be eliminated when time for proofreading is taken.
Passive voice constructions are easy to recognize because most of them follow a pattern:
“to be” verb + _____ed + preposition
“to be” verb Preposition
For example: The report was prepared by a researcher.
Rewrite the sentence as, "The researcher prepared the report." It sounds clearer and as a rule, aim for Subject-Verb coordination in your sentences.
“To Be” Verbs: is, am, are, was, were, has, have, had, be, being, and been
Common Prepositions in Passive Voice Constructions: in, with, and by
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when writing. I will deliver more writing tips next week.
As a part of my job working as a copywriter, I am required to write product descriptions (only during the holiday season, thank goodness). This season, I am working for Overstock, and if anybody else has written for Overstock before, then you know maintaining a diverse set of adjectives (that are appropriate and offer a benefit to the consumer nonetheless) is vital to your job stability.
Well this week I am writing about comforters. Comforters in blue. Comforters in gray. Comforters in a bag. And the thing I am coming up against is the adjective SOFT.
Yes, a comforter is soft. But how can I make the comforter more than soft? And how can I use the term soft not only to describe the touch of the fabric, but the element of softness the comforter creates in the room?
To avoid boilerplating and sheer boredom, here is the list of words that I have developed in lieu of the word SOFT:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.