© Nani, 2013



Getting your style right and writing well are two different things. You can follow all the mechanical rules and still produce a text that's vague, difficult to understand, and bland to read. Good style engages readers, making their job easier by expressing your meaning with ease and clarity.

Here's an analogy to consider. A truly stellar stereo system has several parts that all work together to reproduce something meaningful, almost magical. Its experience is greater than the sum of its parts, transporting listeners to another time and place, the moment where the music was first created. But the image it's creating isn't real. The stereo manufactures a sense of reality and meaning, and the best ones are invisible to the listener. Listeners should never be thinking about the stereo as such. They should just be listening to the music and transported by its message. That's the stereo everyone wants to have, right? Sit right there. I'll get the paperwork.

Writing is no different. You're the artist, and the reader's the listener. Your argument or theme is the music, and the style you employ are the components of the stereo system that reproduce for your reader the force and good sense of your argument. Just like the sounds coming out of your stereo, your style should be so good, so effective and consistent, they transcend the process of reading and engage your audience in their meaning.

But, just like the stereo I just sold you, your writing is only as good as its weakest link. On my web pages here I'll direct you to several common barriers obstructing effective communication in writing. I've divided it into two parts with one goal: to get the components, the stereo, out of your listener's way and let your meaning flow freely.

Part 1: Clarity of Expression

31. When Do I Use Commas?

32. Should That Be Singular or Plural?

33. Am I Being Consistent?

34. Is This The Clause Which I Want?

35. Who's The Boss?

Part 2: Clarity of Thought

36. Can The Subject Do The Verb?

37. Was It Then, And Is It Still?

38. Might This Sound A Bit Pretentious?

39. Is My Metaphor Like A Sultry Summer Day?

40. Should The Passive Be Avoided?



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