Troy University Troy, AL 36082 Trio - Student Support Services 1. To review the content of the educational video entitled “Effective Writing Skills.” 2. To help students distinguish between “writing” and “good writing.” 3. To define the three (3) categories of Rules -Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics -- as they relate to “structurally sound” writing. 4. To present eleven (11) principles that impact writing Style Writing – definition: “a means of communicating with others” Good writing – “a valuable skill that will benefit you in any profession” Three Categories of Rules that make Writing Structurally Sound . . . • Grammar • Usage • Mechanics GRAMMAR -- (Rules that structure language) – The English language has many rules that you must follow to communicate in Standard American English (SAE). USAGE – The rules that designate how language should be presented in writing / Formal or literary English with clearly constructed sentences, that require the following: ◦ No slang or contractions ◦ Complete sentences (no fragments) – An Independent clause is required. ◦ No use of subordinating conjunctions such as “So” or “And” to start sentences MECHANICS—The rules that establish how words should appear on paper. ◦ The first word in a sentence is capitalized. ◦ Correct punctuation marks should be used to denote type of sentence. Indent paragraphs. . . . that Impact Writing Style: Active Voice vs. Passive Voice Parallel Construction Sentence Patterns Positive Statements Word Selection Connotation vs. Denotation Modifiers Relation of Ideas Metaphors and Similes Clichés Content Active voice (write in this voice because it makes sentences more powerful and assertive). Put the agent of the action first in the sentence. Example: Julie drove the car. Passive voice (uses a form of “to be” and distances the subject from the action or identifies the agent of an action at the end of a sentence. Example: The car was driven by Julie. Parallel structure or Construction – Adds clarity to sentences and helps reduce awkwardness of sentences. It requires pairing similar grammatical forms. Useful when comparing/contrasting ideas because it adds balance to sentences. Uses correlative conjunctions such as either or, but also, and also may require repeating certain words in a sentence to add clarity. Examples: 1) 2) Riding a jet ski is more exciting than hiking in the mountains. Charlamagne was not only wise, but ambitious and courageous. Sentence Patterns -- Use a variety of sentence patterns to add interest to sentence and develop writing styles. Positive Statements -- Couch words in the affirmative phrasing when possible. Word Selection (Word Choice) – Use the most appropriate word that suits tone, fits the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, genre, etc.) and appeals to readers senses (create imagery) Connotation versus Denotation (meaning) – Connotations (the underlying implied meaning); Denotation (definition of a word) Use of Modifiers -- use modifiers as needed, but not to excess. All word do not need a modifier. Use verbs that evoke sensory details and that are precise. Do not engage in wordiness. Relation of Ideas (Cohesion/Coherence/Logic) -- Use transitions (connectives) to help readers follow your writing. Also, punctuation can help support reading logic. Metaphors and Similes (figures of speech/figurative language) -- Appeal to the imagination and help readers visualize. Similes use like or as to creative a comparison relationship between different elements. Metaphor does not use like or as, but directly compares two unlike elements Cliches (Overused Expressions and colloquialisms) -- An expression so overused it is worn out and trite. They lack originality. Examples: (1) That’s easier said than done. (2)She was older, but wiser. (3) To make a long story short, she was green with envy. Content (Substance) – Try not to be redundant/empty in your writing. Add substance. Avoid deadwood in writing. Stay focused on your theme. Be straightforward and succinct (to the point). Once you understand basic rules of grammar, usage and mechanics, you can concentrate on style. Principles of Style (principles of good writing) -- Generalizations about what good writers do, but not necessarily about rules Educational Video Network, Inc. 2005 www.evndirect.com SSS hopes this presentation has given you some useful information. Feel free to suggest any other topics that you would like to see presented. Stop in the Office located in 109 Shackelford Hall Annex or Phone: 334-670-5985. Have a great learning experience here at Troy University.