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13.1: Style Chapter Overview

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    • Rachel Bell, Jim Bowsher, Eric Brenner, Serena Chu-Mraz, Liza Erpelo, Kathleen Feinblum, Nina Floro, Gwen Fuller, Chris Gibson, Katharine Harer, Cheryl Hertig, Lucia Lachmayr, Eve Lerman, Nancy Kaplan-Beigel, Nathan Jones, Garry Nicol, Janice Sapigao, Leigh Anne Shaw, Paula Silva, Jessica Silver-Sharp, Mine Suer, Mike Urquidez, Rob Williams, Karen Wong, Susan Zoughbie, Leigh Anne Shaw, Paula Silva, Jessica Silver-Sharp, Mine Suer, Mike Urquidez, Rob Williams, Karen Wong, and Susan Zoughbie
    • Skyline College

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    Simplicity: Simplicity does not mean writing simple sentences. A series of short simple sentences can sound too simple and unsophisticated in academic writing. Simplicity in writing is trimming the fat which is eliminating the wordiness and saying what you want to say clearly and directly. A reader cannot be convinced of your point if they get lost in the sentences.

    Point of View: Point of view refers to the position from which a writer “speaks” to their audience. Writers must be careful and maintain a consistent point of view. Academic writing should primarily rely on third person point of view to appear objective with minimal instances of first person point of view.

    Word Choice: You want to choose the best, most effective words to form clear and convincing sentences. So what makes the best word choices? When writing academic essays, you want to use concrete and specific words that directly engage the senses and give precise meaning. Concrete words refer to objects that we can hear, see, feel, touch, and/or smell.

    Sentence Crafting: You want to consciously create clear and focused sentences by using energetic verbs (replace the bland verb “to be” when you can), preferring the active voice (rather than passive voice), and choosing clear noun references (don’t use vague pronouns that don’t have a clear referent).

    Sentence Combining: Trying to achieve simplicity in your writing does not mean writing only in short sentences. If your essays are filled with short sentences, they will read as choppy and the relationships between the sentences will not be as clear. Combining or joining sentences can convey your ideas more fluidly and logically. However, you also want rhythm in your writing which can be created through varied sentence length and structure. Include short sentences for impact.

    Parallelism: Parallelism is giving two or more parts of a sentence a similar form so as to give the passage a definite pattern and to give the ideas the same level of importance and a balance.

    Commonly Misused and Misspelled Words: As English teachers who read a lot of essays, we see some words that are regularly used incorrectly, and we see some words that are commonly misspelled. Consult the lists provided to avoid common errors.

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