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9.2: Assumptions

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    Basic Assumptions and Potential Complications\(^{59}\)

    Before you begin to learn about a subject, it is natural to make assumptions about it. It is important not to act on these assumptions unless you can prove that they are correct. 

    Writing for Work vs. Writing for School

    The main assumption that most people have about writing on the job or at a workplace is that it is like writing for a class: You start with a thesis, perfect it, build structural sentences, eliminate first person viewpoint, add an intro, body, and conclusion, and so on. What isn’t taught in some schools is that writing memos, proposals, business letters, and instructions is different than writing an academic essay. When writing at work, you do not build up to your main point – you get to it immediately. Your boss isn’t grading you on how well you wrote your business memo, they’re looking for pertinent information without filler and ‘fluff’. So, here’s one reason you need the class: You need practice writing in various genres.

    However, writing something at work serves a completely different purpose. Your readers are coworkers and clientele who don’t know as much as you do about the things you are writing about and look to your writing as a guide. This is called writing for a practical purpose. Because your readers are trying to reach their own practical goals, they expect your writing to be clear, concise, and to the point. By including essential information only, you are helping your readers find out what they need without getting frustrated, bored, or overwhelmed.

    Cross-Cultural Communication

    One of the major assumptions that many people who begin writing have is that the standard for their company in their city or on their campus is the standard that should be in use all around the world. In fact, this is a huge mistake to make. Even if these assumptions are unconscious, they are still insulting. Writing things that are short and sweet may not seem professional, but keep in mind that you are writing for a select audience who is looking for familiar words and doesn’t have the patience to appreciate your grasp on the English language.

    One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing for a different audience than you’re used to is to never assume anything. If you reread something from another perspective and think, “Maybe my audience wouldn’t get this,” it’s probably true. 


    \(^{59}\)"Professional and Technical Writing/Rhetoric/Assumptions." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 2 Nov 2017, 15:49 UTC. 10 Oct 2019, 18:04 <>. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

    This page titled 9.2: Assumptions is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.