Thinking to Write Lesson W3: Styles of Writing

There is the style of format and documentation your paper takes (see Thinking to Write Lesson W1).

The most general is the style of your writing in terms of culture at a particular time and place.  For example, the style of your clothing represents early twenty-first century North American dress–not the general style of late seventeenth century France.  Likewise, the style of your formal writing (a central concern of this class) should reflect the cultural values of formal English language writers of early twenty-first century United States of America: it should have a formal style of voice

    • Keep your writing formal and “academic” in voice and tone.

      • Avoid use of first-person pronouns (“I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “us,” etc.).
        Exceptions: 1) use pronouns for emphasis. For example: Glen Beck believes that he is reclaiming the Civil Rights movement; however, I know that he is not. 2) use these pronouns when writing about yourself and/or your experiences.

      • Particularly avoid use of “you,” “we” and their variants.  In a speech, use of “you” can be useful, but in a work of writing, it will more likely alienate the reader. The exception is when this pronoun is being used in more familiar works, such as a letter.  In this class, we are writing more formal works.

      • Avoid colloquialism and slang expressions (which includes swearing)–they are also too informal. Rare exception: use slang and/or colloquialisms to emphasize a point.

      • Avoid contractions–they are too informal; for example: use cannot instead of can’t.

      • Avoid anachronisms and abbreviations.

    • Keep your writing clear.

      • Write in Standard English. No one speaks in Standard English. Standard English is specifically designed to be a dialect that is most easily understood by the wide variety of English speaking and reading peoples.

      • For every quote or paraphrase, try to write at least 2/3 more of your own words in which you explain its meaning and significance (its importance to the paper’s point or thesis).

    • Also, avoid the frequent use of either overly short or overly long sentences.

      • A large amount of short sentences can cause the writing to feel choppy, intense.  (In fact, I believe that too many short sentences at once can raise a reader’s blood pressure!)

      • A large amount of  long sentences is both reflective of an older (17th-19th century) writing style and can cause the contemporary reader to feel sleepy.

      • Use short sentences for emphasis.

      • Use long sentences to break up the reading rhythm.  In other words: a variety sentence lengths is the current style.

You will need to complete this exercise for Essay One!

  1. TAKE THIS TEST: The Jung Typology Test (f.k.a. The Kiersey Temperament Test).  animated brain scratching itself

  2. Learn more about: The Sixteen Psychological Types.

  3. ANALYZE THE RESULTS: of your type in terms of writing.

  4. Learn more about: personality and writing.