Writing for Media

  Elements of Style
Active Language
• Instead of writing:

• "Kate will always remember her first trip to
  New York"

• We write:

• "Kate's ...
Active language
• "Kate's first visit to Africa will always be
  remembered."

• The problem with this sentence is that it...
Economy of language
• Omit needless words. 'That', 'which',
  'the question as to whether', 'in order
  that', 'the reason...
Economy of language
• Use definite, specific, concrete language.
• For example, don't say: "She displayed an
  aggrieved a...
Economy of language
• Avoid the use of qualifiers.

• Words such as 'very', 'little', 'really',
  'quite', 'almost' etc ar...
Economy of language
• Avoid excessive use of adverbs and
  adjectives.

• Well-chosen nouns and verbs should
  do most of ...
Economy of language
• Put statements in a positive form.

• 'She was not very often there at the
  right time' can be cond...
Economy of language
• Avoid jargon, technical terms and
  euphemisms.

• Prefer ‘heart attack’ to ‘cardiac arrest’
Economy of language
• Avoid cliches.
               .

D no turn e ry f i re i nto a
 o t         ve
 ‘ra i ng i nf e ’ o ...
Economy of language
• Strive for clarity.

• Clarity should be your foremost goal. Remove
  all unintentional ambiguities ...
Economy of language
• Don't be tempted by fancy words
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Writing for Media, Catharine Lumby

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Writing for Media, Catharine Lumby

  1. 1. Writing for Media Elements of Style
  2. 2. Active Language • Instead of writing: • "Kate will always remember her first trip to New York" • We write: • "Kate's first visit to Africa will always be remembered by her.”
  3. 3. Active language • "Kate's first visit to Africa will always be remembered." • The problem with this sentence is that it is now indefinite: who is it that remembers Kate's visit : Kate or the whole of Africa?
  4. 4. Economy of language • Omit needless words. 'That', 'which', 'the question as to whether', 'in order that', 'the reason why is that', 'owing to the fact that' are good examples of needless words.
  5. 5. Economy of language • Use definite, specific, concrete language. • For example, don't say: "She displayed an aggrieved air as a result of her traumatic marital circumstances." Say: "She was furious when she discovered her husband's affair."
  6. 6. Economy of language • Avoid the use of qualifiers. • Words such as 'very', 'little', 'really', 'quite', 'almost' etc are better replaced with a more concise word. For instance, 'furious' is better than 'very angry'
  7. 7. Economy of language • Avoid excessive use of adverbs and adjectives. • Well-chosen nouns and verbs should do most of the work. For example, don't write 'he ran quickly', write 'he raced'.
  8. 8. Economy of language • Put statements in a positive form. • 'She was not very often there at the right time' can be condensed to 'She was usually late'
  9. 9. Economy of language • Avoid jargon, technical terms and euphemisms. • Prefer ‘heart attack’ to ‘cardiac arrest’
  10. 10. Economy of language • Avoid cliches. . D no turn e ry f i re i nto a o t ve ‘ra i ng i nf e ’ o p no g rno r ro unce e ry e p ‘l ucky’. ve sca e
  11. 11. Economy of language • Strive for clarity. • Clarity should be your foremost goal. Remove all unintentional ambiguities from your sentences. When you find yourself fighting your way through syntax - don't try to fix it. Start again and break the sentence into simple thoughts.
  12. 12. Economy of language • Don't be tempted by fancy words

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