effective writing

PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE STYLE

At various times soldiers will have to communicate their intention through writing. Putting our thoughts on paper is important, but just as important is to ensure that what we have written clearly communicates our intentions. Our understanding of “how to” organize our thoughts into coherent sentences and paragraphs can help ensure that we communicate clearly. The […]

BLUF

PUT YOUR BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT

The purpose statement. Open with a short, clear purpose sentence. The purpose statement is not the same as the bottom line. It only tells the reader what to expect when reading the paper. A purpose statement does not tell the reader the conclusion(s) the writer draws. Thesis. The bottom line or thesis statement tells your reader what […]

Punctuation — Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.MacArthur vowed, “I Shall return,” as he left the islands. MacArthur vowed, (quote)”I shall return,“(end quote) as he left the islands. With an interrupted quotation, use quotation marks only around the quoted words.”I heard,” said Amy, “that you passed the course.” (quote)”I heard,“(end quote) said Amy, (quote)”that you passed the course.“(end quote) With […]

Punctuation — The Apostrophe, Dash, Hyphen, and Italics

The Apostrophe The apostrophe forms the possessive case of nouns.Mr. Smith’s (apostrophe – s) car Bob Davis’s (apostrophe – s) boat — singular the Davis’ (s – apostrophe) boat — plural the women’s (apostrophe – s) coats — plural father-in-law’s (apostrophe – s) In hyphenated words, add the apostrophe to the last word. Apostrophes show the omission of letters or numerals.do not — […]

Punctuation — The Colon and Semicolon

The Colon The colon introduces the following: A list, but only after “as follows,” “the following,” or a noun for which the list is an appositive:Each scout will carry the following: (colon) meals for three days, a survival knife, and his sleeping bag. The company had four new officers: (colon) Bill Smith, Frank Tucker, Peter Fillmore, and Oliver Lewis. A […]

Punctuation — Commas

About half of the errors in punctuation are comma errors. This writer’s guide is a quick reference for you, so you won’t make the most common errors with commas. The guide will not cover all of the minute details of commas, just the ones we use most often.   Commas set off independent clauses which […]

Capitalization

1.  Capitalize the first word of every sentence, including quoted sentences.   She (cap) said, “The (cap) work is finished.”   2.  Capitalize the first word of a line of poetry.   “Had (cap) we but world enough, and time, This (cap) coyness, lady, were no crime.”- Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”   3.  Capitalize words and phrases used as sentences.   Why?Yes (cap), […]

Expressing Subordinate Relationships

As a writer, you will often find ideas which are clearly related but are not equal in importance. Instead of using a coordinating conjunction which joins ideas of equal importance, you will need to use a conjunction which joins the ideas but expresses the subordinate relationship.   The listing below groups the subordinating conjunctions by […]

The Joining of Sentences

Vocabulary Simple Sentence: A complete sentence that expresses a single thought.   Independent Clause: A simple sentence which is combined with another simple sentence or a dependent clause to form either a compound or complex sentence.   Dependent Clause: A group of words that adds information to or modifies an independent clause. It is not a complete sentence […]