As a writer, it is important not just to consider what you say, but how it is said by you. To communicate effectively, it isn’t adequate to have well organized ideas expressed in complete and coherent sentences and paragraphs. One must also consider the style, tone and clarity of his/her writing, and adapt these elements into the reading audience. Again, analyzing an individual’s audience and purpose is key to effectiveness that is writing. The writer must consider the objective of the document, the context in which it is being written, and who will be reading it in order to choose the most effective language.
Characteristics of Effective Language
Concrete language includes descriptions which create tangible images with details your reader can visualize. Abstract language is vague and obscure, and does not bring to mind specific images that are visual. Think about the two sets of statements below. The statement at the very top is abstract, but the statements become increasingly specific and concrete toward the base.
He is a bad roommate
He is lazy and discourteous
He could be untidy and unclean
He does not tidy up his own messes
He leaves his dirty dishes on the kitchen counter
Your relationship with John is unacceptable
you may not go along well with John
both you and John have plenty of arguments
both you and John insult each other too much
You and John call one another derogatory names
Notice exactly how much more effective the statements become as the language gets to be more concrete and specific. The statements at the very top, which are more abstract, may be interpreted in many possible ways, and leave many questions answered. The statements at the bottom, that are more concrete, are less ready to accept multiple interpretations.
A hallmark of effective writers may be the capability to express the desired message in as few words that you can. Good writers, simply put, use language which is to-the-point and straightforward. Think about the examples that are following.
(1) it really is widely discussed by employees that lots of of those will likely be obligated to change jobs and take on responsibilities that are new the merger takes place amongst the two companies.
(2) before deciding about whether or not the person on trial is guilty or innocent in this case, the people in the jury should be sure to carefully think about, ponder and think on all the important and testimony that is relevant the scenario.
Notice how long-winded these sentences are, and just how easily they may be shortened and simplified. An essential part of revising and editing involves re-phrasing sentences to remove wordiness that is excessive. One way to reduce wordiness is to eliminate redundant words or phrases. Consider example one above. The phrases “to change jobs” and “take on new responsibilities” are redundant, and may be combined into one short phrase to be expressed more concisely.
Consider example two above. The phrase “. should be certain to carefully think about, ponder and think on. ” contains 3 ways of saying the thing that is same. This sentence might be improved by making use of only 1 associated with the key phrases: “. to reflect on. “
A way that is second reduce wordiness is always to eliminate “filler” words which serve no purpose into the sentence. Consider example one above. Replace the phrase “. if the merger takes place between your two companies” with “. when the two companies merge.” Consider example two above. Spot the wordiness that is excessive the following phrase: “Before making a decision about perhaps the person on trial is guilty or innocent in this instance . ” This sentence could simply read: “Before determining the defendant’s guilt or innocence. “
Familiar language is that that the readers easily recognize and understand on a regular basis because they use it. Probably the most important functions of language is always to build “homophily” or a sense of commonality with an individual’s readers. Language that is foreign and unfamiliar towards the reader has a tendency to emphasize the differences between reader and writer, and makes the message difficult to understand. Through the use of language that is familiar to your reader, the message is likely to have significantly more impact.
Think about the examples that are following.
An assignment given to a course of business students by their philosophy professor:
“The presently assigned paper necessitates an eloquently articulated analysis of the Existentialist perspective when it comes to living that is contemporary. You should adumbrate the points which represent the sine qua non of the analysis.”
A letter delivered to school that is high warning them for the risks of an unhealthy diet:
“Individuals who maintain an eating plan of high fat content are confronted with an elevated risk of developing atherosclerosis, which will be a buildup of fat deposits regarding the inner walls associated with arteries. This condition can reduce or cut the flow off of blood into the arteries serving the major organs of the body. This will probably lead to poor health.”
Both in examples above, the language that is used is unfamiliar to the readers. As a result, the message loses its impact.
Precise and Clear Language
The application of appropriate language is a tricky matter because the meaning of words is relative and situational. Quite simply, words can be interpreted in various ways by different people in different situations. With this reason, it is critical to choose language which is as precise and clear as possible. The more precise and clear one’s usage of language becomes, the fewer the amount of possible interpretations for a message. Look at the words that are following. What numerical value would you assign every single of these? If something is “probable what percentage of the time does it occur? P>
Would other folks assign the same value to these words as you did? In actuality, the range of values varies greatly because these terms are relative: they are able to mean things that are different different people in various situations. How could one become more precise in his/her utilization of these terms?
Consider the examples below. Realize that these terms may differ widely when you look at the meaning to each person. The way that is best to use such relative terms, then, is always to compare them to something concrete and “known” to your reader. For example: “Is that Acura a costly car?” is the best answered with a comparison: “Compared to that Honda, the Acura is expensive. In comparison to that Lexus, it is inexpensive.”
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Consider the following examples. Note the confusion that is potential ambiguity in these phrases.
(1) Why the student body should continue in this state of apathy is not actually understandable.
(2) Our student body is dull and slack-minded.
(3) The practice and theory of politics are studied in the classroom but habits that are political campus usually do not appear to benefit from such labor.
(4) He’s an interesting individual.
(5) It is difficult to estimate the sheer number of people afflicted with AIDS.
Each of the following are actual headlines printed in newspapers. Notice their double meaning.
(1) Include your kids when Baking Cookies
(2) Safety Experts Say School Buss Passengers should always be Belted
(3) Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board
(4) Killer Sentenced to Die for Second amount of time in Ten Years
(5) Eye Drops Off Shelf
In short, it is advisable to consider carefully regarding the selection of words and their interpretations that are potential. To communicate effectively, precise and language that is clear essential.