Editing for Style

In your everyday life, you write for a range of audiences: your family, your friends, your coworkers. In each of these situations, you probably write with a different style – casual, familiar, or serious. For most academic assignments, the most appropriate writing style is formal, respectful, engaging, and concise.

When you edit, check for any informal use of language, and eliminate any slang or sexist wording. You will also want to make sure you haven’t offended any potential readers by stereotyping certain groups.

Another style issue to watch for is wordiness. Revise any wordy constructions such as “Due to the fact that” to much shorter expressions like “Because.” Avoid unnecessary words such as “Needless to say,” and cut out any redundant words. Shorter, simpler writing shows respect for readers.

Dull or choppy sentences may be grammatically correct, but they will not keep your readers’ interest. Aim for a lively, engaging style by varying your sentences. Try combining short sentences with coordination and subordination. Alternatively, you can condense short sentences into descriptive phrases and clauses. Use transitional words and sentences to improve flow and make your ideas clearer. Finally, replace passive or repetitive verbs with more active and specific ones.