In academic writing or business writing, people sometimes feel the need to write complicated sentences with the most formal words they can think of. (This isn’t just non-native English speakers either!) These tangled, overly-complex sentences can be confusing for your reader, and can have the opposite effect you want.
Here are a few tips for when you’re writing essays or research papers in school, or when communicating for business:
It’s fine to start with basic [subject]+[verb]+[object] sentences for your first draft.
You can add transitions and maybe even swap out overused or less effective words for better ones in a later draft.
Clear and simple sentences are easier for your readers to understand, and that’s our goal with all writing, whether it’s academic writing, business writing, or even informal writing on social media or through email.
2. Don’t forget the reader
Speaking of your readers…don’t forget about them!
Imagine a real, actual human that you know reading your words.
Maybe it’s your best friend, a parent or sibling, or a fellow classmate, or your instructor – but it’s important to write with someone in mind, regardless of whether or not that person will actually read your writing.
Writing with a real person in mind can improve your writing’s flow, tone, voice, and clarity.
3. Just ask
Are you writing for a class and you aren’t sure if it’s ok to use “I” in your paper?
Still unclear if your conclusion is “up to snuff” (translation: good enough)?
Confused about citations?
Trust me: Teachers love it when students ask questions. It shows you’re engaged and that you want to do well! Plus, there’s a big chance someone else has that question, too, so you’ll be helping out your classmates.