Even if you’re not a journalist or a novelist, your writing style is part of your professional image. Luckily, with these simple lessons, some perseverance, and a little help from technology, improving your writing is easier than ever.
Less Is More
When it comes to written communication, journalism is considered the greatest example of clarity.
Reporters are taught right from the beginning that less is more and are encouraged to follow these rules
- Never use two words when one would suffice.
- Never include an adjective unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- When you write something, make sure to cover the for W’s: who, what, when, and where.
- Use active voice instead of passive voice (for example, avoid sentences like “The business was started by him.” Write instead “He started the business.”)
You can use these same principles to make your writing more clear and concise.
Instead of trying to impress with your vocabulary, aim for simplicity. Writing well is easier than you think: Just imagine that you are talking to a friend you appreciate and respect.
Avoid Common Mistakes
Let’s face it, everyone makes a typo now and then. The problem is that too many typos reflect poorly on your professional image. And if a client or colleague detects that you make a typo consistently, they may think that your grasp of grammar isn’t that great. Avoiding these common mistakes will turn you automatically into an above-average writer.
- They’re vs. Their vs. There. “They’re” means “they are. “Their” indicates property, while “there” indicates place.
- You’re vs. Your. “You’re” is “you are”, while “Your” indicates property as in “That’s your book.”
- It’s vs. Its. “It’s” is the contraction of “It is” or “It has”; “Its” indicates possession as in “I love California and its sunny beaches.”
- To vs. Too vs. Two. To is a preposition that indicates direction toward something as in “I’m going to the store”; “Too” indicates a great quantity; “Two” is a number.
- Then vs. Than. “Then” is to indicate consequence or to signal that a thing happens after something else as in “We drove to the beach and then had lunch” “Than” is for comparisons only, as in “He is taller than me.”
Use Apps to Make Writing Easier
Nowadays we use apps for everything, so why not improve your writing with an app?
Using an app to write better doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It’s more like having a virtual editor that helps you catch typos and makes helpful suggestions to make your writing easier to understand.
In the world of writing apps, Grammarly is the big dog on the block. This app helps you avoid common mistakes and even provides suggestions to improve your writing. And if you install the desktop version, the tips will appear wherever you write online!
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