Your writing can be made increasingly effective if you attempt to construct meaningful paragraphs. Every paragraphto be worthy of the namemust contain at least two sentences. Furthermore, they should deal with one idea summarized in a topic sentence found somewhere in the paragraph. If you use active summaries and previews, you will compose understandable paragraphs. Unless clear sentences summarize entire paragraphs, their focus will be unclear.Using Precise Words
Good writing requires using words properly. The following topics involve the essentials of language use.
Avoiding Jargon. One way to assure using precise words is to avoid jargon. Jargon is specialized language that excludes others from understanding what is said. Every field has its own specialized language and unique terms. After time, this specialized language can become bewildering. Motorola Corporation had to publish a thick directory of acronyms to permit employees to understand the abbreviations that had become part of their specialized language. You should not be afraid to use the specific language of a field, but you should use terms that are direct and, whenever possible, rely on language that the greatest number of intelligent people can understand. Einstein expressed this concern best: "Ideas should be stated as simply as possible, but no simpler." This requirement does not mean that you should avoid topics that are technicalquite the contrary! But, your writing should use only those specialized terms that are essential. Table 1 shares a guide to jargon and bureaucratic verbiage that should be avoided. In your writing not only should jargon be avoided, but if abbreviations cannot be eliminated completely, they should be minimized.
Jargon and Bureaucratic Phrases to Avoid
Words often are composed of verbal fog that confuses rather than helps. Scan your own research writing to see if you use jargon that should be replaced with crisp alternatives.
Phrase to Avoid Phrase of Word to Substitute
|study in depth||study *|
|consensus of opinion||consensus *|
|at the present time||now * **|
|until such time as||until *|
|in the area of||about *|
|in connection with||about|
|in the event of||if *|
|for the purpose of||to *|
|in order to||to *|
|take action||act *|
|equally as||equally *|
|most importantly||most important|
|it has come to my attention||I understand|
|in view of||because *|
|due to the fact that||because|
|based on the fact that||because **|
|due to||since; because|
|period of time||time **|
|the reason is because||the reason is; (or) because [not both] **|
|the reason why||the reason is; (or) because [not both]|
|a total of 68 subjects||68 subjects **|
|four different groups saw||four groups saw **|
|in the field of||in|
|in many instances||often; frequently|
|high-level management||top management|
|college level courses||college courses|
|near disaster||nearly disastrous|
|near perfect||nearly perfect|
|off of||from; (or) off|
|there were several students who completed||several students completed|
*From Roman & Raphaelson (1981, pp. 15-16)
**From Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (1994, p. 27)
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.).
(1994). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Roman, K., & Raphaelson, J. (1981). Writing that works. New York: Harper