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Improving Your Writing Style Conciseness Cohesion and Coherence Designed by Duke University s Writing Studio University Writing Program 1 Main characteristic of good style Clarity Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can That is the only secret of style Matthew Arnold And how is clarity to be achieved Mainly by taking trouble and by writing to serve people rather than to impress them F L Lucas University Writing Program 2 Three Principles of a Clear Effective Style 1 Conciseness 2 Cohesion 3 Coherence University Writing Program 3 Why Are Conciseness Cohesion and Coherence So Important Conciseness spares your readers from having to reread what they already know Cohesion allows us to make multiple references to people things and events without reintroducing them at each turn Coherence focuses the reader s attention on the specific people things and events you are writing about University Writing Program 4 Conciseness Cohesion and Coherence For example Original John Smith arrived early at the hall There was no one else around at the hall John Smith tried to open the door of the hall The door was unlocked John Smith opened the door John Smith went through the door John Smith shut the door behind John Smith Suddenly there was a loud noise The loud noise made John Smith jump University Writing Program 5 Conciseness Cohesion and Coherence Revised John Smith arrived early at the empty hall approached the unlocked door and entered The hall door closed loudly behind him and made him jump University Writing Program 6 1 Conciseness I believe more in the scissors than I do the pencil Truman Capote Some of my dearest and most beloved bits of writing have gone with a very quick slash slash slash Because something was heavy there Cutting leads to economy precision and to a vastly improved script Paddy Chayefsky University Writing Program 7 Conciseness Repetition and Redundancy Delete unnecessary words Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words Delete words

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