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Arts & Letters Daily

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Writing: Style and Tone

Style and Tone

Style and Tone

Notes

Readers look for a clear indication of the style and tone in an essay or report. They expect or anticipate a formal or informal style depending on the topic.  The style and tone should support the main idea so that ‘what’ is said is supported by ‘how’ it is said.

The style and tone in an essay or report should reinforce the meaning that the writer wants to convey. This can be accomplished in several ways:

  • Write clear and direct sentences that state precisely what you want to say
  • Write objective statements
  • Increase the verb/noun ratio
  • Avoid the use of passive verbs and use active verbs
  • Focus each paragraph on a main point
  • Keep the essay or report as a whole focused on the main idea

Read the following paragraph. Do you recognize how this paragraph was written for a particular audience? Look at the notes below the paragraph.

Sample

Communicating by Text in a High Tech Age

The bottom line, though, is that writing should never be compromised. Text is the central way of communicating with other people on the Web, and it deserves closer attention than it’s been getting. “Writing on the Web”, Joshua Allen, Senior editor for Webmonkey, 1999.

Since text continues to be a central way of communicating even in the Internet Age, senior high students need the support of effective non-narrative writing programs.  River East School Division, under the direction of Dr. Otto B. Toews and Dr. Richard Freeze, piloted a writing program for Senior 4 students with considerable success. The goal of the Program was to produce knowledgeable, self-disciplined citizens who are able to think and write independently and rationally. This account of the River East Writing Program reviews the implementation of the Program.


The two and a half month intervention included the following features. First, the teachers were trained to focus the students’ attention on the use of thinking and writing strategies so that they would acquire the cognitive skills to think and write independently and rationally. Second, the teachers and students used affordable ROM based laptops at school and at home for the entire year to do all their assignments. Third, the teachers created a collaborative learning environment through networking. Fourth, the students composed, conferenced, revised and edited non-narrative text continually throughout the intervention period. Fifth, all students maintained a portfolio of their written work including rough drafts.

The researcher, Dr. Rick Freeze, analyzed students’ portfolios in the pilot and control groups on the basis of the following criteria developed by Bob Marzano: a) acquiring and integrating knowledge; b) extending and refining knowledge; and c) using knowledge meaningfully. Teachers were trained in Marzano’s strategies and introduced to the thinking and writing strategies most commonly used by good writers as explained in Think More…Write More: A Handbook on Writing and Assessment written by Joan McCreath and Dr. Otto B. Toews. After the intervention period, the researcher analyzed the students’ writing folders. Although the students in the control group scored higher than the pilot group in the use of writing strategies on the pre-test, the pilot group matched the control group on the post-test. As for the use of thinking strategies, the students in the pilot group used significantly more thinking strategies than the students in the control group on the post-test.

How have the students who participated in the pilot study responded to the program? Enrolment in the program doubled in one year. As well, students in the program expressed appreciation for the opportunity to have access to laptops every day all year. It helped them with their work at school and at home.  A follow-up study is needed to determine why more students decided to enrol in the program.

In conclusion, it is important to recognize that all of the factors included in this Study must be present to improve students’ writing. Simply providing students with laptops is not likely to generate significant improvement in writing. However, laptops provide students with ready access to research, composing and revising tools required for research and writing.

Let’s give all high school students the necessary conceptual and technical tools they need to succeed in high school and beyond by providing all students with access to technology and communication skills – anywhere/anytime.

Style and Tone

  • Write clear and direct sentences that state precisely what you want to say

Since text continues to be a central way of communicating even in the Internet Age, senior high students need the support of effective non-narrative writing programs.

  • Write objective statements

Enrolment in the program doubled in one year.

  • increase the verb/noun ratio

How have the students who participated in the pilot study responded to the program?

  • Avoid the use of passive verbs

First, the teachers were trained to focus the students’ attention on the use of thinking and writing strategies

  • Use active verbs

Fourth, the students composed, conferenced, revised and edited non-narrative text

  • Focus each paragraph on a main point

How have the students who participated in the pilot study responded to the program?

  • Keep the report as a whole focused on the main idea

Since text continues to be a central way of communicating even in the Internet Age, senior high students need the support of effective non-narrative writing programs.

Assignment

Write an essay or report and use the following template to rvise the style and tone.

Style and Tone

  • Write clear and direct sentences that state precisely what you want to say
  • Write objective statements
  • increase the verb/noun ratio
  • Avoid the use of passive verbs
  • Use active verbs
  • Focus each paragraph on a main point
  • Keep the report as a whole focused on the main idea