Be Your Writer

Top 10 Writing Conventions (Updated 2023)

Style describes how an author writes. The style includes elements such as diction (word usage), tone (author’s attitude toward the story), syntax (sentence structure), mood (author’s attitude toward the readers), point of view, and voice (author’s relationship with the narrator). Style can be formal or informal, neutral, or distinctive but it must and should always follow to writing conventions.

Writing conventions are defined as a set of generally accepted standards for written English. Writing conventions are language rules that help readers to know the text. These include spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and syntax . When the audience can finish reading without having to prevent themselves from working out what the intended meaning is, the worth of learning these writing conventions is becoming clear.

These writing conventions refer to those elements that can help an author or writer to make a piece of writing that is both clear and understandable. In other words, do things in a certain way so the reader can figure out what the author or writer is trying to say.

When distinguishing good writing, it always refers to the prose that, for one reason or another, moves the readers. Bad writing, then, maybe considered prose that fails to move the readers as the author intended to do.

To avoid falling into the bad writing category, here are the top ten writing conventions for you to follow.

1. Use a topic sentence and vary sentence length

A topic sentence begins a paragraph and provides a road map of where that paragraph is going to take the reader. Good topic sentences should be concise and clear. Paragraphs missing topic sentences are often confusing and eventually failing to tell the reader properly.

Average sentence should be composed of words  between 25 and 30 long. Sentences longer than this run the risk of losing the reader’s attention. However, there are times when a sentence should be much shorter or longer.  When trying to make a powerful point, a short sentence is definitely useful. When an individual or object must be described in great detail, a long sentence could also be helpful. Plus, in any legal writing, longer sentences are a good place to hide unfavorable information (e.g., information that works against your client), because the reader is more likely to glance over this information.

2. Make verbs agree with their subjects in a number

Verb tenses help show time during a piece of writing. For example, you’d use verbs within the past to explain events that happened during the war. The key to helping readers add up the time in your writing is using the tenses consistently.

Furthermore, don’t forget to follow the simple subject-verb agreement rules, singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs.

3. Choose pronouns correctly

Pronouns and their antecedents (the word they stand for) should agree. The pronouns who, what, which can show relationships during a sentence when they’re used correctly. Make sure that you match the pronoun with its antecedent; use who to ask specific people and animals with names; use what to refer to inanimate objects; use that to ask generic animals, things, and other people , too.

4. Place modifiers near what they modify

A squinting modifier may be a word, phrase, or clause that would modify the word before it or the word after it.

5. Use parallel grammatical forms when joining items during a series

Grammar is the structure of  language and how words are being used properly to form a sentence. Again, there are many rules to follow, and sometimes many rules to interrupt . 

However, using proper grammar allows you to urge your point across to your readers during a way that it is much easier for them to know. 

Parallel grammatical forms referred to using similar patterns of grammatical forms in sentences. This technique adds symmetry so that two or more parts of the sentence have the same form, emphasizing similarities or differences. 

6. Check for homonyms

Homophones, or words that sound alike but are spelled differently, are tricky. Check your work to make sure you’ve got used common homophones correctly.

Many spelling mistakes occur when incorrect homophones (words with an equivalent pronunciation, like “right,” “rite,” and “write”) are utilized in a sentence.

7. Use the only comma and then the pair of commas appropriately

An introductory phrase provides some background information and is typically followed by a comma. The comma is optional when the phrase is extremely short. A comma splice occurs once you use it  to attach two clauses that would be sentenced on their own.

A compound subject uses a conjunction to attach in one phrase . Interrupters are phrases that break the flow of a sentence to supply additional detail. Don’t forget to put commas around interrupters.

8. Use proper punctuations

Without punctuation, writing wouldn’t make much sense. Punctuational helps the readers something the way the words are meant to be read. It helps them to understand when to pause, when to read with more expression, and when to prevent and begin a replacement sentence. Once we speak, we’ve multiple ways of creating our meaning clear: rhythm, intonation, pausing appropriately. We don’t have that luxury with the word, so proper punctuation serves that purpose.

9. Use apostrophes to point out contracted form and for possession

Apostrophes are often unable to show possessives and contractions. It is normally used with the letter S to point out ownership or possession. With most singular nouns, simply add an apostrophe plus the letter S to try to do this. Keep in mind that an apostrophe plus S isn’t added to form a noun plural–even a correct noun.

10. Capitalize proper nouns and words derived from them

Capitalization tells when a replacement sentence begins (along with punctuation), when something may be a proper noun , or when something may be a title. It helps to emphasize, or to show the importance of  a specific word, and it also helps to shorten long phrases into acronyms that take up less written space and are often easier to recollect.

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