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Clear Sentences

Perhaps your basic skills are fundamentally sound. You can spell most words, know how to punctuate and make few grammatical mistakes. If this is the case, the next step in building a better writing style is to concentrate on improving your sentences. A good English sentence is economical, simple, and clear. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words. It should consist of simple, familiar words. The business writer’s main enemies are passive sentences, too many words, overuse of big words, and cliches. In this section you will practice changing weak passive sentences to ones that are active. You will trim unneeded words from sentences and learn to substitute familiar words for jargon and abstractions. You will translate pompous, complex, and hard to read prose into plain English. You will also learn to avoid some common business writing cliches such as “enclosed please find.” Finally, you will do a simple proofreading exercise which will remind you to watch out for careless errors.


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