Poor writing doesn’t just make it difficult for readers to understand what a writer is trying to communicate. It can also cause these readers to not take the writer seriously. In both academic and professional settings, these issues can cause the writer to lose a lot.
In academic writing, what students lose are good grades on their papers. The losses with professional writing, such as copywriting, may be more subtle, but they’re there. For example, one expert found that bad professional writing costs 40% of the cost of managing business transactions.
To avoid having to deal with these losses, you must learn how to write well. To get started with this, read on to learn five writing tips.
1. Learn the Different Grammar Styles
You may have already learned how to cite sources in, say, AP Style. What you may not know, however, is that there is also a set of specific grammar rules that come with each of these styles (Chicago, AP etc.).
Which style you need to learn depends on the type of paper you’re writing. For example, literature papers usually adhere to MLA style while science papers use APA style. To get the best academic grade, it’s best to know which style you need for your paper and the rules of that style.
2. Stop Making Common Mistakes
What’s the proper way to use an Oxford comma (you can learn more about this right now? What’s the difference between there, they’re and their? How do I use affect and effect effectively?
It’s likely that you use these words and punctuation marks incorrectly all the time and don’t realize it. There’s no need to be embarrassed as these mistakes are common. However, it’s best to learn how to avoid them.
3. Add Passive Voice Sparingly
The cook cooked the meal. The meal was cooked by the cook. The first sentence is in active voice and the second sentence is in passive voice.
There are plenty of cases where the passive voice is necessary. However, if you use it too much, it can make your article less exciting. Therefore, you must only use the passive voice where it’s necessary.
4. Use Simpler Words and Shorter Sentences
The main purpose of writing is communication. Lesser-known vocabulary words and longer sentences can make others understand you less. It’s important, then, to keep your writing as simple as possible.
(Note: This may not be the case in some forms of academic writing, but it is for most other types of writing.)
5. Be Careful With Adverbs
Words like ‘actually’, ‘perfectly’, and ‘greatly’ have their place. However, they can make your writing sound less confident. Use stronger verbs instead.
For example, instead of ‘she loved him greatly’, try the phrase ‘she adored him’.
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As a final top, remember that you won’t become Wiliam Shakespeare overnight. Great writing takes a lot of time and effort. As long as you stay patient and spend lots of time in dedicated practice, your writing should improve.
Also, check out some of our other articles for more useful writing tips. We also have pieces on home, beauty, and so much more.