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Chapter 12. Starting with the Sentence > Principles of Effective Style

Principles of Effective Style

You can learn to write better by putting into practice a few simple principles of effective style. You may have to break some bad habits in the process, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. Following are some basic rules:

  1. When you finish a draft of a memo or letter, reread it carefully and trim unnecessary words.

  2. Simplify your language. Don’t try to impress a reader with your vocabulary.

  3. Scan your writing for passive sentences and standard business phrases. Make passive sentences active by changing the positions of subject and verb, and remove all cliches.

  4. Proofread your memo or letter carefully and correct any errors in spelling, typing, etc.. Aim for a final draft that looks good as well as clearly communicates your message.


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