Evaluate Your Writing: Writing

Posted on: July 4, 2009

Bad writing can ruin any type of document, no matter how good the planning, organization of the document, or content. It is difficult to write words that work.

Successful written communication depends on how well something is said. For example, a writer can help and support the users of your company’s products, or stop them in their tracks. One remedy for bad writing is to insist on finding a professional business and technical writer for your projects, and to be sure that the writer you select knows or is able to learn the subject matter.

When evaluating your own or someone else’s writing, here are a few things that indicate a problem:

Readers cannot understand what the writer is trying to say, due to deficiencies in language usage. Bad grammar, incorrect spelling, and misuse of punctuation are common culprits.

Readers are confused, because the writer refers to one thing in many different ways. Remember to be consistent in use of terms, references, and so on.

Readers get tangled in long, convoluted sentences and overcomplicated expressions. Analyze your language for wordiness, clichés, and mangled syntax. Get to the point. Keep your paragraphs, sentences and words short and simple.

Readers cannot understand made-up verbs and phrases. You cannot just turn nouns into verbs, or tack “-ize” on to perfectly nice nouns and verbs. Check your dictionary. Also, avoid gobbledygook and excessive use of jargon. Use language to communicate, not hide.

When you spot these and similar issues in a document, resist the temptation to decide they don’t matter all that much. Do not foist a badly written document on your audience. They and your company deserve better.

Do the right thing, and revise.


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