Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Graduate writing clearly & concisely

2,605 views

Published on

This presentation explains some revision tips that will help students write clearly and concisely. It emphasizes minimizing wordiness and writing clear, yet complex sentences. It also covers a few basics of grammar and punctuation, reviewing the most common mistakes. During the workshop, students will be encouraged to check their understanding of topics discussed. They will also receive handouts for further reference.

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Be the first to comment

Graduate writing clearly & concisely

  1. 1. Writing Clearly, Correctly, and Concisely 2
  2. 2. Writing Clearly 3 The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. —George Orwell
  3. 3. Active vs. Passive Voice Active: We have determined the target market to be adults between the ages of 30 and 45. Passive: The target market was determined to be adults between the ages of 30 and 45. Who’s doing what to whom? •Active voice identifies the actor. •Passive puts the object being acted on first. Check which style your professor prefers. 4
  4. 4. Clarity and Complexity Complex: Lincoln’s claim that the Civil War was God’s punishment of both the North and South for slavery appears in the last part of the speech. Revised: In the last part of his speech, Lincoln claims that God gave the Civil War to both the North and South as a punishment for slavery. Complex phrases and clauses, new information, and technical terms are easier to process when placed at the end of a sentence. 5
  5. 5. Complex: Questions about the ethics of withdrawing intravenous feeding are the most difficult. Revised: The most difficult questions are about the ethics of withdrawing intravenous feeding. 6 Clarity and Complexity Here is another example. The more complex phrase is easier for the reader to process when it comes at the end of the sentence.
  6. 6. Word Choice Avoid informal language if you are trying to maintain a professional/academic tone. Avoid ambiguous language to enhance clarity. Informal Thing Really Deal with Just Contractions (e.g., can’t) Even Ambiguous Numerous A lot/a little This (by itself as a subject) Very Considerable Good/bad
  7. 7. Check for Unnecessary Repetition Circle or highlight any repeated words. Replace repeated words with synonyms. *Repetition of key words can also create unity.
  8. 8. Key Words: Most difficult are questions about the ethics of withdrawing intravenous feeding. Intravenous feeding can prolong life to an indefinite extent, but it cannot always preserve its quality. Without quality, many would argue, life is worthless. Varied Word Choice: Most difficult are questions about the ethics of withdrawing intravenous feeding. Tube sustenance can prolong existence to an indefinite extent, but it cannot always preserve its quality. Without that, many would argue, living is worthless. Creating Coherence
  9. 9. Verb Tense Methods: Smith (2010) enrolled 200 participants in her study on cognitive learning. Results: Smith (2010) found that 20% of participants learned more when listening to music while studying. General Conclusions: Smith (2010) concludes that students should listen to music while studying to improve the learning process. Arguments: Smith (2010) argues that federal policy should allow public school students to listen to music while they study. *These are general guidelines. Verb tense standards might vary by field and journal.
  10. 10. 11 Writing Correctly It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly. —C. J. Cherryh
  11. 11. { } Understanding Clauses Independent clause -Can stand on its own as a sentence -Receives the most emphasis Dependent clause -Is a sentence fragment -Adds extra information Because Aggies believe in honesty and loyalty, they do not lie, cheat or steal.
  12. 12. { } Dependent Clause Indicators A clause is probably dependent if it starts with words like because, if, when, while, since, that, which, who, as, or a preposition. 13 Because I go to Texas A&M, I follow the Aggie Honor Code.
  13. 13. Subject & Verb Agreement Verb Subject Example Singular Two, singular The primary investigator or student subjects worker is going to weigh the sample. Singular Each Each of the participants knows how to score the advertisement. Plural Either/or Neither the surveys nor the Neither/nor interviews show increased understanding. Singular Sums of Three hundred dollars is the cost of the money project. Plural “Data” The data suggest an improvement.
  14. 14. Noun & Pronoun Agreement Noun Pronoun Example Singular Singular Each of the participants knows his or her role in the study. Singular Singular As the control group, the class has its own pre-test. Plural Plural As the control group, the class has their own pre-test.
  15. 15. Listing Each item in a list should have the same grammatical structure. In other words, the items should be parallel. List items should be punctuated appropriately. Semicolons separate list items that have commas in them. Also, consider whether the list should be numbered or bulleted. Nonparallel: The researcher filtered the compound, weighed the sample, and remaining material. Parallel: The researcher filtered the compound, weighed the sample, and stored the remaining material. The data for Smith’s (2010) study were collected in Bryan, TX; San Diego, CA; and Boston, MA.
  16. 16. Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers A misplaced modifier is too far away from the word it’s trying to describe. Ex: As survey distributors, it was vital that the teachers remained impartial.  As survey distributors, the teachers needed to remain impartial. A dangling modifier describes a word that isn’t in the sentence. Ex: Once stored in a controlled temperature, the researcher waited three days.  Once stored in a controlled temperature, the sample remained there for three days.
  17. 17. Restrictive & Nonrestrictive Clauses Nonrestrictive clauses • Can be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence • Take “which” or “who” • Are set off with commas Restrictive clauses • Cannot be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence • Take “that” or “who” • Are not set off with commas Nonrestrictive: The study, which was done in 2011, modeled risk communication. Restrictive: Her study that modeled risk communication was done in 2011.
  18. 18. Punctuation Check for . . . Commas Semi-colons Colons Apostrophes 19
  19. 19. Commas The participants were given ten minutes to fill out the survey, but the interviews were not under the same time constraint. Commas separate two complete sentences (or independent clauses) joined by a coordinating conjunction: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So 20
  20. 20. Commas separate introductory material Commas on both sides of interrupting words or phrases According to Smith’s (2010) typology, the data should fit into five categories. The null hypothesis, however, was rejected. The data, in fact, support that a significant improvement occurred after the treatment. 21 Commas
  21. 21. Semicolons & Colons Semicolons Set apart a complete sentence from an example or list Ex. The researcher conducted two studies: a content analysis and a case study. Separate two complete sentences (second sentence NOT capitalized) Used in lists where there are commas within the items of the list Colons {;} {:}
  22. 22. It’s (it is) Thomas’ (2003) book Thomas’s (2003) book Each participant’s score (singular) The participants’ scores (plural) Apostrophes _’_ Do not use apostrophes with time eras (the 1970s), plural last names (the Smiths), or possessive pronouns (its, his, hers, etc). 23
  23. 23. Writing Concisely This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. —Winston Churchill
  24. 24. Wordiness Check for . . . Excess Words Repeated Words Ambiguous Words Negatives Active/Passive Voice 25
  25. 25. Delete doubles Delete redundancies full and complete tried and true each and every true facts free gift in a wise manner red in color seven in number come to an agreement long in duration Remove Excess Words
  26. 26. not different  similar not the same  different not allow  prevent not notice  overlook not many  few not often  rarely not stop  continue not include  omit Change Negatives to Affirmatives From Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams
  27. 27. A sentence sprawls when there are many clauses after the verb. Reduce sprawl by cutting or revising who/that/which clauses. Ex: Teachers should remember that students are vulnerable and uncertain about those everyday, ego- bruising moments that adults ignore, and that they do not understand that one day… Ex: Teachers should remember students are vulnerable and uncertain about those everyday, ego-bruising moments adults ignore, and they do not understand that one day… Remove Sentence Sprawl
  28. 28. Paramedic Method 1. Circle the prepositions. 2. Circle the “is” forms. 3. Find the action. 4. Put this action in a simple (not compound) active verb. 5. Start fast—no slow windups. 6. Read the passage aloud with emphasis and feeling. 7. Mark off sentence’s basic rhythmic units. 8. Mark sentence lengths. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/032 1441699/ref=dp_image_text_0?ie=UTF8&n=2831 55&s=books
  29. 29. The Official Style 30 The National Research Council Space Studies Board, in cooperation with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, is in the process of organizing a decadal survey to establish priorities and provide recommendations for life and physical sciences research in microgravity and partial gravity for the 2010- 2020 decade. Source: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DEPS/ASEB/index.htm)
  30. 30. Find the prepositions and “to be” verbs. The National Research Council Space Studies Board, cooperation the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the process a decadal survey and co life and physical sciences research microgravity and partial gravity the 2010-2020 decade. Paramedic Method Find the action and simplify: Start fast—no slow wind-ups. in in with of to for in for is organizing establish priorities provide recommendations • is in the process of organizing  is organizing • establish priorities  prioritize • provide recommendations  recommend in cooperation with  and
  31. 31. The National Research Council Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board are organizing a 2010-2020 survey to prioritize concerns and recommend life and physical sciences research in microgravity and partial gravity. Revision
  32. 32. The Lard Factor Divide the difference between the number of words in the original and the number in the revised version by the number in the original. Original (46) minus Revision (34) = 12 12÷ 46 = .26 or 26%
  33. 33. For More Help… Visit our website or call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you write clearly and concisely.

×