How have you been this week?
Imagine it is five years from now, and you are
in the career you’re hoping to have after
completing your certificate.
Write a letter back to this class telling them
how you are now using the things you learned
in this class.
Be more specific
eg. naming the intersection on which to add a stop
giving information about how many people at the
event, start & end times, etc.
Always give contact information clearly at the end
Offer more information where it may be necessary
Avoid excess words (eg. “It is due to the fact that...”)
Writing clear sentences
Limit sentence content.
“Some authorities in human resources object to expanding
normal salary ranges to include a trainee rate because they
fear that through oversight or prejudice, probationers may be
kept at the minimum rate longer than is warranted and
because they fear that it would encourage the spread from
the minimum to maximum rate range.”
“Some authorities in human resources object to expanding
the normal salary range to include a training rate, for two
reasons. First, they fear that through oversight or
prejudice, probationers may be kept at the minimum rate
longer than is warranted. Second, they fear that expansion
would increase the spread between the minimum and the
maximum rate range.”
Cluttering phrases (pg 80)
• Cluttering Shorter substitutes:
• At the present time
• During the time
• For the purpose of
• For the reason that
• In the amount of
• In the meantime
• In the near future
• In very few cases
• Contains Surplus
Words Eliminates Surplus Words
• There are four rules that should Four rules should be observed.
The machines damaged by the
• The machines that were fire were repaired.
damaged by the fire were
repaired. By examining production records,
they found the error.
• By the examining of production
records, they found the error. The president believes the tax
• The president is of the opinion was paid.
that the tax was paid.
The income must be used to
• It is essential that the income retire the debt.
be used to retire the debt.
Avoid needless repetition
• Needless Repetition Please endorse this check.
• Please endorse your name
on the back of this check. We must assemble at 10:30
• We must assemble together a.m.
at 10:30 a.m. in the
One should know the
• One should know the basic
fundamentals of clear
writing. fundamentals of clear writing.
• The consensus of opinion is
that the tax is unfair. The consensus is that the tax
Commas save lives!
Lets eat Grandma! or Let’s eat, Grandma!
cooks her family
and her dog!
Determine emphasis in
Three options, different emphasis:
“The company lost money last year. The
loss occurred in spite of record sales.”
“Although the company enjoyed record
sales last year, it lost money.”
“Although the company lost money last
year, it enjoyed record sales.”
Give the sentences unity
If unrelated ideas are together in a sentence, they need a
reason for being together. eg. “Mr. Jordan is our sales
manager, and he has a degree in law.”
To give unity to a sentence:
put the ideas in separate sentences
“Mr. Jordan is our sales manager. He has a law
make one idea subordinate to another
“Mr. Jordan, our sales manager, has a law degree.”
add words that show the relation between the ideas.
“Although Mr. Jordan pursued a law degree in college,
he enjoys sales and became our sales manager.”
Avoid the trap of
“too much information”
Avoid excessive detail
“Our New York offices, considered plush in the
1990s but now badly in need of renovation, as
is the case with most offices that have not
been maintained, have been abandoned.”
“Considered plush in the 1990s, our New York
offices have not been maintained properly.
Because the repairs would have been too costly,
we have abandoned them.”
• Mixed Construction First we found less
• First we found less expensive material, and then
expensive material, and then we developed a more
a more economical means of economical means of
production was developed. production.
• The consumer should read
the nutrition label, but you
Consumers should read
often don’t take the time to nutrition labels, but they
do it. often don’t take the time to
• My education was completed
in 2008, and then I began
I completed my education in
work as a manager for Home
Depot. 2008 and then began work
as a manager for Home
“She was so happy with the retirement party we
she was so happy... that what? (remove so, or
complete the construction)
“As far as time management, he is a master of
either “As far as time management goes...” or
“As for time management, he is a master...”
He liked to play basketball and riding horses.
She spent the day visiting all the tourist shops
and watched the children on the beach, and
then she went back to the hotel for a late
• “They show their community spirit through
yearly donations to the United Way, giving free
materials to Habitat for Humanity, and their
employees volunteer at local schools.”
“They show their community spirit by donating
yearly to the United Way, giving free materials to
Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering at local
Writing clear paragraphs
“Paragraphs show where the topics begin and
end, thus helping the reader mentally organize
What is a paragraph?
It is a group of sentences that introduces,
presents and develops one main idea bout the
It can be divided into three major parts: the
topic sentence, the supporting details, and the
The Topic Sentence
It is normally the first sentence of the
It conveys the overall point of the paragraph.
It helps the writer focus on the idea written
It helps the reader know about what the
paragraph is all about.
The supporting details
They are sentences used to support the main idea stated in
the topic sentence.
They give more information about the main idea through
They say in details what the topic sentence says in general.
They should be clear evidence that what the topic sentence
says is trustworthy.
They should be strong convincing points on which the topic
sentence can rely upon.
It is a reflection of the main idea pronounced in the topic
It sums up what the topic sentence and the supporting details
It is the closing sentence that reminds the readers of what they
have to value.
It is compulsory for the completion of the paragraph unity.
It eventually indicates the end of a paragraph.
It prepares the reader for a smooth transition to the next
paragraph if there is one.
Identify the parts of the
• There are three reasons why I prefer jogging to other
sports. One reason is that jogging is a cheap sport. I
can practise it anywhere at any time with no need for
a ball or any other other equipment. Another reason
is that it is friendly to my heart. I don’t have to
exhaust myself or do excessive efforts while jogging.
Finally, I prefer this sport because it is safe. It isn’t as
risky as other sports like gymnastics, racing or
horseback riding. For all these reasons, I consider
jogging the best sport of all.
Writing Clear Paragraphs
Give paragraphs unity (eg. if a sentence does
not support the goal of paragraph, it shouldn’t
Keep paragraphs short (eg. for longer papers,
an average length of 8 lines)
Make good use of topic sentences (see pg 87
Writing clear paragraphs
Leave out unnecessary detail
Make paragraphs coherent
repetition of key words to connect successive
use of pronouns to refer to words previously
transitional words (eg. in addition, besides, in
spite of, in contrast, however, likewise, thus,
therefore, for example, also)
Write a paragraph on one of the following
Your favourite food (and why)
Where you like to go for vacation (and why)
How you can tell if someone is being a
What do you think is the best way to
communicate a message for which you anticipate
a positive outcome?
How might your style change for a negative
Writing good news
Assess your reader’s probable reaction to what
you have to say.
If you anticipate a positive reaction, a direct
message is probably preferable.
For a negative reaction, an indirect message may
be in order.
Begin with your objective.
If you’re seeking information, start by asking for it.
If you’re giving information, start by giving it.
Whatever your key point is, lead with it.
If necessary, you may need to start with an
explanatory sentence or two.
After the main objective is clearly communicated,
add additional information or questions.
End with adapted goodwill.
A more positive reaction results from an individually
tailored expression that fits the message.
Two types of beginnings:
Begin with a specific question, or
Open with a general request, supported by
specific questions if necessary.
Informing & explaining - be as specific as you need to
be, without too much excess
Structuring the questions:
make sure they stand out, if your goal is to get
answers (bullets, bold, etc.)
order or rank them with numbers, if appropriate
phrase them in question form (ie. “What are your
building requirements?” instead of “We need to
know your building requirements.”)
avoid questions with a simple yes or no, unless
that’s all you want
(note: pg 101/102 for contrasts & 104/105)
Made to Stick
(book by Chip & Dan Heath)
Much of what you write will be for the purpose of
seeking change, even if it is very slight change.
Sometimes, the only change you seek is an
improved opinion of yourself or your company.
The more you can get ideas to stick, the longer your
impact will be.
In a small group, come up with an idea for a non-
profit organization, community group, or special
project you want to promote.
Brainstorm ideas for a script of a public service
announcement that might “stick”.
Active vs. Passive
“There are over 300 customers served by our help
desk each day. The help desk personnel’s main tasks
are to answer questions, solve problems, and
educate the callers about the software. Without their
expert work, our customer satisfaction ratings would
be much lower than the are.”
“Our help desk personnel serve over 300 customers
each day. They answer questions, solve problems,
and educate the users about the software. Without
their expert work, our customer satisfaction ratings
would drop significantly.”
• Passive Active
• The results were We reported the results in
reported in our July 9 our July 9 letter.
Our union supported the
• This policy has been
supported by our union.
Mr. Hall will inspect the
• The office will be
inspected by Mr. Hall. office.
• Hardware sales were The latest promotion
increased 30 percent by increased hardware sales
the latest promotion. by 30 percent.
Are these sentences
active or passive?
The lunch room was inspected by the health
A tornado destroyed my home town.
A total of 15 complaints have been received by the
complaint department this week.
The desired colour was not specified in your order.
The executive director called a meeting yesterday to
discuss next year’s plans.
Assignment - active/passive
Write two versions of a paragraph explaining to the staff
that the management team has recently agreed upon a
new policy that restricts the use of the internet on
company time. It has come to your attention that people
have been abusing their privileges and surfing the internet
for personal reasons, as well as downloading possibly
corrupted files. Your new policy restricts internet use to
strictly company-related purposes.
One version of the paragraph will be in active voice and
another will be in passive voice.