Tips for Writing in North American Colleges: Directness
This handout is an introduction to the basics of academic writing conventions for students who are new to American colleges and universities.
Contributors:Michael Maune, Hwanhee Park, Tony Cimasko, Joshua M. Paiz
Last Edited: 2012-10-15 10:46:05
Strategies for Directness
Academic writing in North America colleges and universities has often been described as “direct.” This can mean two things: (1) dealing with the topic at hand without extra information; (2) using clear and precise language to describe even the most uncomfortable and taboo subjects. Professors and other readers will see direct writing as efficient. Follow these strategies to make your writing more direct:
Create an outline of your text before writing, and compare your early drafts with the outline. If a word or a sentence does not contribute to any of the points in your outline, consider removing it.
When you review your early drafts, look for ways to make your sentences shorter, but without removing any important meanings from them. If you can do this, then make them shorter.
Look for euphemisms—mild or vague expressions for something that is uncomfortable to talk about, such as “pass away” to refer to “die”. If you find any euphemisms, change them to clearer, more concrete, language.