Style

  • Keep your readers engaged by crafting your unique style.
  • Edit your documents for clarity, focus, and persuasiveness.

Style refers to how something is written or spoken as opposed to what the writer is saying.


Brevity, Clutter, Concision, Simplicity

Aspiring writers may worry that achieving a style that invokes a sense of professionalism is something beyond their skills, something reserved for professionals who have honed their craft over the years or those blessed with inherent talents. This is not true. While creating sentences that make readers weep at the beauty may be reserved for epic poets, the average writer can create sentences that do more than simply convey information–and can do it by considering a few key elements.

All communicative acts are imbued with style. Even the bot that answers the phone when you call in to complain about your bill to Verizon Communications has a style: the fake nice cheerful voice so eager to help you! In face-to-face situations, event an inarticulate grunt is a style of communication.

Style, like coolness, is a composite of many factors. The style audiences infer from a rhetor’s messages are tied to multiple language practices. Style is impacted

Style matters. When a writer employs turgid, abstract, polysyllabic prose, readers click to a new text. Style matters. Style is about crafting texts that snag the reader’s attention and refuse to let go, texts that insist on being savored, texts that make the writing a pleasure to enjoy. While style concerns how a rhetor communicates as opposed to the gist of the message,

When during the writing process should you consider Style?

As a rhetor (writer or speaker), when you enter a communicative situation, consider what sort of style is appropriate for your audience(s). Consider, e.g.,

  • What jargon and level of abstraction is acceptable?
  • How about humor or satire? Should you hammer down a thesis in the first sentence or lead the reader down a path to a conclusion?
  • Or, do you need to be more objective than persuasive?

In turn, when reading or listening to a rhetor, reflect on your perception of the rhetor’s style. What sort of voice do you hear?

  • Does the writer seem to self absorbed? Does the world revolve around the writer’s emotions and thoughts?
  • Does the writer sound sweet, like a salesperson who uses the you attitude to place the spotlight on your needs and concerns?
  • Does the writer seem stuffy? Is the focus solely on the topic without references to his/her or your experiences with the topic?

Additional articles on Style:

  1. Abstract Template (APA)

    Learn how to format the abstract of your paper in APA style. For additional information about formatting the abstract in APA,...

  2. Active Voice

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  3. Add Figurative Language to Engage Your Reader

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  4. Apostrophes

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  5. Archaisms

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  6. Avoid Comma Splices

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  7. Avoid Dropped Quotations

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  8. Avoid Primer-Style Sentences

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  9. Avoid the Use of Unsupported Opinions as Evidence

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  10. Avoid Unnecessary “to be” Verbs

    Why eliminate unnecessary “to be” verbs? When a writer consistently uses unnecessary “to be” verbs, the writing can sound dull...

  11. Avoid Unnecessary Shifts in Point of View

    Although there are occasions when a shift in point of view is appropriate, unnecessary and inconsistent shifts—especially within a sentence—are...

  12. Avoid Unnecessary Shifts in Verb Tense

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  13. Capitalization

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  14. Clarify the Pronoun-Antecedent Relationship

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  15. Clarify Vague Pronoun References

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  16. Clarity

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  17. Cliches

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  18. Colons

    Use the colon when the first sentence anticipates the second sentence or phrase, thereby creating an emphatic tone. The colon...

  19. Commas

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  20. Commas

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  21. Concrete & Sensory Language

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  22. Dangling Modifiers

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  23. Dashes and Parentheses

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  24. Edit Strings of Prepositional Phrases

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  25. Eliminate “to be” Verbs

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  26. Eliminate Unnecessary Words

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  27. Executive Summary

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  28. Exercise: “We” and “You” in Academic Writing

    Look at the following lines and determine how you might revise them so that they remove the pronoun “you” or...

  29. Exercise: Edit for Economy

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  30. Exercise: Maintain a High Verb-to-Noun Ratio

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  31. Formatting In-text Citations (APA)

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  32. Formatting the References Page (APA)

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  33. General Guidelines for Using the First Person

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  34. Grammar

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  35. Homonym Usage

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  36. Hyphens

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  37. Identifying and Addressing Unclear Pronouns & Antecedents

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  38. Incorporating Figurative Language into Your Paper

    How might you engage your reader by incorporating more figurative language (anecdote, narrative, simile, metaphor, dialogue, personification and such)? How...

  39. Jargon

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  40. Making Sure Your Voice is Present

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  41. Medium, Mass Media, Social Media

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  42. Order of Major Sections (APA)

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  43. Pronouns and Antecedents

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  44. Proofreading

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  45. Punctuation

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  46. Quotation Marks

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  47. Read Your Paper Aloud to Check Cohesiveness

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  48. Rephrase Awkward Word Order

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  49. Review Ellipsis Usage

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  50. Run-on Sentences

    What is a run-on sentence? A run-on (or fused) sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that have been...

  51. Semicolons

    Use a semicolon to join two sentences or to punctuate a series or list of appositives that already includes commas....

  52. Semicolons

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  53. Sentence Fragments

    What is a sentence fragment? A sentence fragment is a word, phrase, or dependent clause that is punctuated as a...

  54. Sentence Patterns

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  55. Spelling

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  56. Subject-Pronoun Agreement

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  57. Subject-Verb Agreement

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  58. The First Person

    The first person—“I,” “me,” “my,” etc.—can be a useful and stylish choice in academic writing, but inexperienced writers need to...

  59. Title Page Template (APA)

    Learn how to format the title page of your paper in APA style.  (Open article to see full document) Learn...

  60. Use Commas After Conjunctive Adverbs and Transitional Phrases at the Beginnings of Sentences

    Although our modern style calls for using as few commas as possible, you should generally place a comma after conjunctive...

  61. Use Commas After Introductory Subordinate Clauses

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  62. Use Commas Around Nonrestrictive Parenthetical Elements

    You should limit the number of times that you interrupt the flow of a sentence by placing modifying words between...

  63. Use Commas to Join Two or More Independent Clauses

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  64. Use Commas to Separate Adjacent Parallel Elements

    As demonstrated by the following examples, a series is composed of three or more parallel elements, and the series can...

  65. Use Parallel Structure

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  66. Use Solely Your Own Words to Paraphrase

    What does it mean to paraphrase? When paraphrasing, a writer uses his or her own words to restate someone else’s...

  67. Use the Active Voice

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  68. Using Brackets in a Direct Quotation (APA)

    How should brackets be used to add words to a direct quotation? When additional words written by an individual other...

  69. Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When is It Okay?

    Many times, high school students are told not to use first person (“I,” “we,” “my,” “us,” and so forth) in...

  70. Using Parentheses

    Parentheses (also called brackets in British English) are a punctuation mark used to contain text that is not part of the main...

  71. Vague Language

    Use concrete and sensory language rather than vague language to communicate well with readers. Provide the details readers need to...

  72. Vary Sentence Structure

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  73. Write an article w/ citations that has different styles discussed

    When writing an original paper, you want to ensure that your voice takes center stage. The reader should hear your...

  74. Writing Concisely and Avoiding Redundancy

    Conciseness Improves Flow Unfortunately, many writers use sentences that are too wordy.  This is not to suggest that lengthy sentences...

  75. You-Centered Business Style

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