Writing at Work: A Guide to Better Writing in Administration, Business and Management

By Robert Barrass | Go to book overview
Save to active project

7

Say it without words

It is possible to communicate without words. In speaking we use gestures and facial expressions as well as words. In writing numbers enable us to be precise; and photographs, drawings and diagrams make possible the communication of information or ideas clearly, concisely, forcefully and quickly - either without words (as on some road traffic signs) or with fewer words than would otherwise be needed (see Figure 7.1). Text tables and illustrations also help to break up pages of writing, provide variety for the reader - and by capturing the reader’s attention they help the writer to emphasise important points.

The immediate visual impact and the lasting appeal of an effective illustration accounts for the attention paid in business to developing brand names and to the design of logos, as visual symbols to promote the public image of organisations - in letterheads, on packaging and vehicles, and at points of sale.


Using numbers as aids to precision

A politician may say that a fund will be established ‘of substantial size and adequate coverage over a considerable period’. Vague words are used to express hopes when it is not possible to be precise. Consider the meaning you wish to convey before using the word very with an adverb (very quickly) or with an adjective (very large), and before using adverbs (for example, slowly) or adjectives (for example, small, appreciable, large and heavy) or modifying and intensifying words (for example, comparatively, exceptionally, extremely, fairly, quite, rather, really, relatively, and unduly). Such meaningless modifiers do not help your readers, and are likely to annoy them:

Whenever anyone says I can do something soon I’ll say to them yes, I know all about that but when, when, when?

Alan Sillitoe, Key to the Door (1961)

-81-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Writing at Work: A Guide to Better Writing in Administration, Business and Management
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 208

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?