In a world in which we communicate primarily by e-mail and text, correct spelling, grammar and mechanics are either fixed by electronic devices or are ignored completely in exchange for quick and easy communication. However, there are still many situations in life when good writing habits are necessary. Here are a 6 tips to help you improve your writing.
Use complete sentences. A sentence doesn’t have to be long to be complete. A complete sentence requires only 2 items: a noun and a verb. The following is a complete sentence: The boy runs. That’s it. That’s all it takes. When in doubt about whether you have a sentence or not, find the noun (person, place or thing) and the verb (the action word).
Use the inverted pyramid: Journalists use an inverted pyramid style of writing. The most important information is at the top and details are included in descending order. This means that you start with the most important, relevant details and move toward less important details as you go. This allows for the less important details to easily be edited out by chopping off the bottom. In terms of other documents, assume that the reader will only read the first couple of paragraphs. Include the most important information there.
Keep it short. Unless you’re writing a research document or dissertation, most everyday documents such as letters should be kept short and straight to the point. One page is sufficient most of the time. Any business letter such as a letter requesting information or a cover letter to be included with a resume should only be one page. Any more than that and you’ll lose the reader’s attention.
Check your grammar and mechanics. Look for words in which you’ve used an apostrophe. Did you use it correctly? Did you mean its (possessive) or it’s (it is)? Have you used commas? Did you use them correctly or did you just sprinkle them on the paper randomly? A good rule of thumb with commas is “when in doubt, leave it out.” That goes for semi-colons, too. Unless you know you’re using them correctly, just don’t use them.
Spelling. Letters and formal documents should not include texting abbreviations such as “ty” -thank you. Also, ensure your words are spelled correctly. No matter what you’re writing, spelling matters. While most word processing programs will fix numerous spelling problems for you, don’t count on these programs to do all the work. They won’t fix the spelling of proper names, for example.
Know your audience. Knowing your audience will give you some idea of how much background information you need to include, how much background information to provide and how much industry jargon to use or not use.
Once your piece is finished, revise it. Then, proofread it. Then, proofread it again. The more times you look it over, the better it’s going to be. These 6 tips will help improve your writing