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Stylistic Concerns


Be flexible


·        Your words are not set in stone – you can change them!

·        Your first choice of words is not necessarily the best choice.

·        Yes, it is legal – and often desirable – to rearrange your sentence structure.

·        Vary your verbs.  Specific and varied verbs make the material more interesting, informative, and active.



Make the most of your reader’s time


·        Try turning some phrases into adjectives or adverbs.  This condenses your sentences and makes the relationships between ideas clearer.

·        Don’t separate subjects and verbs with a lot of information. 

Readers tend to ignore the information in between the subject and the verb and will become irritated because the information isn’t in the order they expect (subject ŕ verb ŕ remaining information).

·        Clearly emphasize the material you want to draw the reader’s attention to.  (Less important information can be set off by commas or dashes, put into prepositional phrases, put into parenthesis, etc.)



Be conscious of informality


Formal papers should avoid the following:

·        Second person

·        Slang – your personal dialect is often not the most graceful means of presentation

·        Hedging (e.g. “I think….”; “I believe….”; “It seems to be….”) State facts and beliefs outright; take responsibility for your claims.

·        Asking too many rhetorical questions of the audience