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Writing Paragraph By Paragraph

Document Design – Editing for the Small Points


Now that you have gathered your information, organized the information the way you want it, have gotten over your writer’s block, it is finally time to sit down and begin to write your paper, When you write the first task you want to perform is Editing For The Main Points.  The next task is to re-edit the document looking for the small things that can make or break your paper.


Micro Issues in editing have to do with sentences and words. 


  1. Avoid Wordiness

This means going through you document with the eyes of an editor looking for run on sentences on run on phrases etc.  Anywhere you can decrease the word load do it.


Example: Change “you need to be made aware of the fact that” to a better sentence of “you should know”.  With one small change you have saved your reader five words and a lot of time.


a.      Do not overuse linking verbs


Wordy Sentence: Tim was very successful in terms of writing this paper

Improved Sentence: Tim writes well


b.      Do not overuse impersonal opening


Wordy Sentence: It was unclear to the store clerk why

Improved Sentence: The store clerk didn’t know why


c.      Do not overuse prepositions


Central to our understanding of the understating of writing is to structure the paper in such a way to make a difference of what is right and wrong in the process of writing a good paper


The organization problem of a term paper is centered on the idea of writing in Macro and Micro issues.


d.      Avoid compound prepositions


I am writing this in order to show you how in regard to other things writing can be easy


I am writing about writing to show the potential problems that arise so you can correct them before the reader sees them


e.      Avoid elongated verbs with prepositions


I plan to give consideration to another writing course


I plan to consider doing another writing course



2.      Avoid Overlong Sentences

This is very self-explanatory.  Do not write sentences that go on and on and on.  Try to break them up into more meaningful smaller sentences.  If the sentence is a list of some type or instructions break it down into a bulleted segment in your document.   Do what you have to do just don’t make your sentences run on.


3.      Active or Passive?

Know when to use the active and passive voice.  The sentence Tim wrote is active: the active agent Tim comes first and the active verb wrote comes second. 


The sentence: The page was written by Tim is passive: the passive verb was written comes first and the active agent Tim comes second.


Some rules of thumb for using the active voice

a.      As in the example above use the active voice to avoid wordiness.


b.      Use the active voice to avoid getting to formal in your sentence structure



Active: An MBA gives you an unfair advantage in the job market


Passive: There is an evident bias in the job market concerning a person with an MBA


c.      Use the active to assign responsibility


Active: Richard decided to complain about the workload


Passive: It has been decided that someone would complain about the workload.


d.      Use the active voice to save your reader time


Active: Jennifer states her marriage is not on the rocks


Passive: It is stated somewhere that her marriage is not on the rocks.


Some rules of thumb for using the passive voice

a.      Use the passive voice to take the emphasis away from the writer


     Active: I high recommend reading my book


     Passive: It is highly recommended that you read this book.


b.      Use the passive voice to avoid assigning responsibility to only one person or agent


           Active: Places blame on one agent: The machine was set up                wrongly.

           Passive: There was error made.


c.      Use the passive voice sparingly for transition from on sentence to another or from one paragraph to another. 


We will be putting on sale the following three items. These items were chosen at random.




Jargon is all that technical stuff that people like to add to their paper or presentations in order to appear more knowledgeable on the topic.   Jargon should be used only when you are writing to someone in your field or to someone who will understand it.


Otherwise do not use too much jargon unless you plan to explain it to your audience.