Writing is a skill that needs honing. You can perfect your writing by practicing, but you should also learn a bit more about different styles, tones of voice, and common mistakes. This article aims to help readers learn how to make their writing more impactful and professional.
What Is A Writing Style?
Writing style is a unique way a writer expresses their thoughts. Each author has a different style, affected by their choice of words, the degree of formality or informality, the complexity of their sentence structures, and how they narrate stories and convey ideas.
The best thing about the writing style is that writers can adjust it depending on the intent of their composition. For instance, blog writing relies on a more relaxed tone of voice and a friendly delivery of words. Business writing is more formal, and the writer must use a more professional and less personal tone.
In any case, writers can perfect their styles. So, it’s still unique and suits different writing purposes. It’s always a good idea to embrace your style so that it becomes a unique way to play music or create paintings. However, it requires work, experience, and learning from your mistakes.
Types Of Writing Style
Let’s dive into the world of writing styles, where writers showcase their unique voices. There are four primary ways of expressing one’s thoughts:
- Expository writing. This style is all about delivering knowledge and facts without weaving narratives. It’s the choice for nonfiction books, scientific documents, technical manuals, and news articles that require clear and precise communication and an explanation of facts or concepts.
- Descriptive writing. In this case, words become the tools of artists, like a brush becomes a tool in the hands of a talented painter. Think of poetry and figurative language where sensory details breathe life into the text. Poets are masters of this craft because they often use words that evoke emotions and associate with readers.
- Narrative writing. Storytelling takes center stage as the author introduces characters, plots, and settings, enabling readers to “see” these details as a mental picture. Typically, novelists and screenplay writers use this style. A few great examples include Stephen King’s “The Shining” and Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”
- Persuasive writing. This style has a self-explanatory name as writers use it to influence the reader’s perspective. Readers often find this style in academic papers, letters of recommendation, or cover letters. In this case, writers aim to inspire agreement and action in readers.
Beginners (and even professional writers) can master and perfect these styles to use them in different cases. But as mentioned at the beginning of this article, writers should learn from their mistakes (which always requires practice, even if writing only for yourself).
Common Mistakes When Writing
Style errors in writing can significantly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your message. When you decide ‘it’s time to write my paper,’ It’s crucial to be aware of these common issues to improve your writing:
- Passive voice. This is one of the most common mistakes. Avoid using passive voice (such as “was developed”), as it can make your writing seem less direct and engaging. Opt for active voice to make your message more dynamic. It’s often difficult for readers to read texts with passive voice, so it impacts their perception of the text.
- Unclear references. Ensure that pronouns and determiners (like “this,” “that,” “her,” “his,” etc.) have clear antecedents in your writing. Ambiguity can confuse your readers. For example, “Maria gave Susan her phone,” where “her” could refer to Maria’s and Susan’s phone.
- Wordiness. Lengthy sentences and unnecessary phrases can make your writing convoluted. Simplify your sentences to improve clarity.
- Inappropriate colloquialisms. Maintain a formal tone in academic or professional writing and avoid informal language. Use a writing style that matches the occasion.
- Politically correct language. Use inclusive and respectful language regarding sensitive topics.
Avoiding grammar and spelling mistakes is an obvious benefit. However, improving other aspects, such as the ones mentioned in the list, help people become professionals. The good news is that individuals can use online services and tools that detect these mistakes. Double-checking your work is always a good idea, even if you believe you’ve mastered your writing. You may still overuse passive voice, as it’s common in 67% of works.
Tips To Improve Your Writing Style
We’ve prepared a few tips for you based on the information above. These tips help improve your general style.
Use Active Voice
So, the active voice is your secret weapon for crafting compelling and engaging sentences. It’s all about keeping things clear, concise, and dynamic. Let’s just forget that the passive voice exists and add more life to your sentences.
- To make the shift from passive to active, here’s a simple roadmap:
- Identify the true subject. First, pinpoint the real star of your sentence. Who’s the one taking action or performing the task?
- Reorder your sentence. Now, use the traditional “Subject + Verb + Object” structure. It’s as easy as pie, and it reanimates your writing.
Here are some examples:
- Incorrect: The speech was given by the mayor.
- Correct: The mayor gave the speech.
In the incorrect version, the mayor’s action seems distant and passive. But in the correct version, the mayor steps into the spotlight, and it’s even easier on your eyes.
Now, let’s apply this to another example:
- Incorrect: The cake was baked by Susan.
- Correct: Susan baked the cake.
With active voice, your writing lets subjects take the lead rather than stay passive.
Choose Words Wisely
Opting for simplicity over complexity can be a game-changer because it makes your writing more approachable and relatable to a broader audience. It’s all about selecting the right words that resonate effortlessly with your readers.
Have you ever seen “Friends”? If you have, there’s a perfect example for you: Joey used a Thesaurus on every word in his letter to sound more sophisticated. Naturally, it backfired and didn’t have the intended effect. Thus, the conclusion here is to use simpler words.
Always choose the simpler of two words. Instead of reaching for lofty, intricate vocabulary from the depths of the English language, go for familiar, everyday words. Why? Because simple words are like clear signposts on a well-marked trail – they guide your readers directly to your message.
- Instead of: “Utilize”
- Use: “Use”
- Instead of: “Ascertain”
- Use: “Find out”
- Instead of: “Make sure”
- Use: “Ensure”
You’ll improve your writing and make it more enjoyable and accessible to readers.
Be More Direct And Clear
Good writing is all about clarity. You can keep your sentences light and impactful without being wordy. Good writing is like a well-edited movie with no room for filler scenes. Trim the excess (adverbs, prepositional phrases) as they’re the extra baggage your sentence doesn’t need. For instance, instead of saying, “She ran quickly,” simply state, “She sprinted.”
Don’t beat around the bush, and state thinks clearly. Say exactly what you mean in the simplest, most straightforward manner. Rather than “The weather conditions are such that we may have to cancel the event,” say, “We might need to cancel the event due to the weather.”
Keep It Simple
A reader-friendly style is all about keeping it short and simple, so let’s explore the magic of concise writing:
- Short sentences exude power. They help your narrative without the drag of wordiness. Instead of a lengthy sentence like “The sun was setting, casting a warm orange glow over the horizon,” you can simply say, “The sun has set, painting the horizon in warm orange hues.” The sentence still helps create a mental image, but it isn’t overloaded.
- Readers prefer clarity. Short sentences are easy to grasp, ensuring your message is crystal clear. Rather than jumbling ideas into one sentence, separate them. Instead of “The vacation was relaxing, and we enjoyed the beach,” opt for “The vacation was relaxing. We enjoyed the beach.”
Remember, the beauty of writing lies in its simplicity. It respects your readers’ time and attention.
Trim Your Paragraphs
Short paragraphs are often the way to go. If you want to master a positive and friendly approach to writing, your paragraphs should be the point. Short paragraphs mean your ideas stand out. Each paragraph focuses on one concept, making it crystal clear to your readers.
For instance, instead of packing multiple ideas into one paragraph, create separate ones for each. For instance, discuss “The importance of exercise” in one paragraph and “Balanced nutrition” in another.
Moreover, short paragraphs break up the text and provide a more inviting, visually appealing layout on the page. In academic writing, you might find lengthy paragraphs. However, shorter paragraphs are the norm in everyday writing, making content easier to consume.
Practice is key, but you may also research this topic further. Learn more about the four mentioned writing styles to discover potential techniques and methods that help embrace these styles. Find a few online tools that help you spot mistakes. Thus, when you practice, you can quickly see what’s incorrect about your writing. Use our tips and keep writing, even if it’s just for yourself. Who knows, you might become a successful bestselling author!