Guide 3 Write in an Efficient, ActionOriented Style Definitions Writing in an efficient style means saying everything that needs to be said and nothing more. Writing in an action-oriented style means writing in a strong, lively style that gives a sense of movement or emphasizes action. BUT—being too blunt or gruf often is interpreted as being rude. Condense Written Copy Use a direct style: present information in a logical, straightforward manner. Eliminate repetitive material: Information should be repeated only when it is necessary for emphasis Avoid Hidden Verbs: Avoid hiding verbs in a noun form. Examples: (Hidden verb)Please call if I can be of assistance to you. (Active verb) Please call if I can assist you. (Hidden verb) We must make a decision on this issue today. (Active verb) We must decide this issue today. (must be an action verb—assist, decide, something you can do) Examples (Hidden Verb)Please take all alternatives into consideration. (Active Verb) Please consider all alternatives. (Hidden Verb) Please make the announcement that lunch will be served at noon. (Active Verb) Please announce that lunch will be served at noon. Replace Wordy Phrases Phrases are often used when one word would convey the message adequately. For example: At the present time = now Replace Wordy Phrases Examples: In the amount of = o for In the near future = o soon During the time that = o while Use Only Necessary Modifiers Repeat again = again Maximum possible = maximum New innovation = innovation Merge together = merge Cooperate together = cooperate (The first set of words mean the same thing so only use one of them.) Use Only Necessary Descriptive Words In some cases descriptive words are necessary—in other cases they simply occupy space. We must say either New York City or New York State (to clarify which place) We don’t need to say the City of Chicago (there’s only one Chicago) Examples of Descriptive Words The box was square in shape. (better) The box was square (everyone knows a square is a shape) The dog weighed 50 pounds in weight (better) The dog weighed 50 pounds The report was 20 pages in length. (better) The report was 20 pages. Use Only Necessary Alternatives Thank you for your kindness and hospitality. (better) Thank you for your hospitality. (use one or the other, but not both) Call if you have questions or concerns (better) Call if you have questions. Let me know if you need my help or assistance. (better) Let me know if you need help. Use Active Voice in Most Situations Active verbs are used when the subject does the action that is described by the verb. Terri was presented with the award by the President. (passive) The President presented the award to Terri. (active) Use Active Verbs The dog was saved by Tom. (passive) Tom saved the dog. (active) The announcement of the winner will be made by the mayor. (passive) The mayor will announce the winner. (active) Your check was mailed on May 10 (passive) The accountant mailed your check on May 10.(active) Use Active Voice Sentences using passive voice are difficult to correct. However, when you are using MS Word, the spell check fixes these for you. If the sentence is underlined in green, click on the section underlined. The computer will say “use of Passive Voice” and give a suggestion. Have the computer change to the suggested correction, and you will usually be correct.