When reviewing the list of rules for the English language, I often hear regret for not paying closer attention in English Class. However, since we cannot go back in time, I am offering a list of resources to supplement your informational needs and complement your effective, organizational implementation of the Simply Writing Well Process.
After careful investigation, I chose these sources because they are direct, to the point, and effectively get the job done in each of their topical areas; I saw no reason to recreate the wheel when there are sources that do what they do so well. Therefore, with time being of the essence, I want to make it easier for you to implement the Simply Writing Well Process effectively and achieve your desired result.
By selecting from the resources listed below, you will uncover, refresh, and fill in the gaps in your knowledge of style, format, tone, diction, structure, and the language mechanics of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and parts of speech. Whether you need a quick reference to refresh your memory or more in-depth information to fill the present gaps, you can choose the resource to meet your needs and have it at your fingertips to complement your execution of The Simply Writing Well Process. I leave the choice to you.
Electronic Tools for Editing, Diction, Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation
Microsoft 365 - Word, Excel, PowerPoint
Microsoft Office 365 has served me well in formulating written documents, such as emails, essays, reports, etc., and verbal presentations. Microsoft Excel allows me to efficiently capture my thoughts and ideas and gather, sort, and select them before getting bogged down within a particular structure. Once the First Organizational Key of the Simply Writing Well Process is complete, I shift to Microsoft Word to outline and draft my final communication. Also, Microsoft Word serves as the springboard to Microsoft PowerPoint, which aids in creating the visual backdrop to accompany my verbal presentations. I am glad to take advantage of all that Microsoft Office 365 offers. I also understand that Apple offers Pages, Numbers, and Keynote software, which deliver the same functionality.
Grammarly is an excellent digital tool for achieving clarity and precision in any writing project or presentation. Using artificial intelligence, Grammarly pinpoints your troubled areas, makes recommendations, and enhances your self-expression. Over time, it has a greater sense of your style, and the suggestions become even more insightful. In addition, it is an effective proofreading and editorial tool that highlights areas that need improvements, such as choosing an active voice, improving diction, and enhancing both paragraphs and sentence structure. There are also recommendations to correct your grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. It is both a free or paid service, depending on your needs. Either way, it is a great resource to have at your fingertips!
Style for Public Speaking & Verbal Presentations
TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
As stated by Chris Anderson on pages twelve and thirteen of his official guide, "The central thesis of the TED book is that anyone who has an idea worth sharing is capable of giving a powerful talk…An idea is anything that can change how people see the world. If you can conjure up a compelling idea in people's minds, you have done something wondrous…In a very real sense, a little piece of you has become a part of them." By revealing the philosophy, methodology, and relationship of the speaker to their audience within the creation and delivery of TED Talks, there are so many gems of information discussed and shared. It is truly a one-stop resource for delivering quality written and verbal presentations. From the preparation and development of the idea, the presenter's style and delivery of their message, the scripting, the visuals, the use of humor, and the respectful consideration of the audience, there is a great deal of information to consider and learn. For any presenter who wants to effectively share their ideas with their desired audience and inspire, inform, and have their audience take action, this book is a must read!
Styles for Writing
On Writing Well - An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
Explore William Zinsser's insights and principles of writing. As a distinguished nonfiction writer and teacher, William speaks to the importance of clarity, simplicity, and style in effectively communicating ideas to an audience. With more than a million copies of this book sold since 1976, William Zinsser's book has become a precious resource for writers and those who aspire to become writers. It is fun to read, very insightful, and an excellent resource for all who dare to express their ideas in writing.
Simple & Direct: A Rhetoric For Writers, Fourth Edition by Jacques Barzun
The words chosen to express an idea can either further it or squelch it. Clarity and simplicity are most important. Through several discussions concerning word choice, tone, meaning, and syntax, the author states how the selection of words, from brainstorming through the final draft, will make all the difference in expressing your style and idea. His illustrations and discussions will guide you through the technique of making the written word clear, direct, and readable. With exercises, passages, and samples of the wrongful use of the English language, he demonstrates how to choose the best path to self-expression using clear, concise words.
The Elements of Style – Fourth Edition by William Strunk JR. and E.B. White and foreword by Roger Angell
A small yet impactful paperback book focused on the essentials of writing clear, concise English. Its no-frills, straight, and to-the-point style demonstrates the use of language recommended throughout the book. As a quick and easy reference for all who write to express themselves, this book has withstood the test of time and is very relevant today. Now in its fourth edition, it will continue to be an excellent compliment to anyone who wants to express themselves in writing with clarity and simplicity.
Write to the Point: A Master Class of the Fundamentals of Writing for Any Purpose by Sam Leith
The author discusses how knowing the English language rules and your audience is essential for your ideas to be understood. Although the author discusses the rules for grammar, parts of speech, punctuation, sentence structure, and other fundamentals, he also states on page four, "To write clearly is an essential courtesy, and to write well is to give pleasure to your audience. You are not only making a case or imparting information; you are cultivating a relationship." On page eight, he says," Every time you speak or write, you are trying to form a connection with your audience, and that connection depends on speaking that audience's language…. So,…you go to where the audience is." Therefore, using language in communication must not only follow the rules; it must also allow you to connect with your audience.
Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side by Trish Hall
If you want to persuasively write or deliver a presentation that will encourage your audience to see your perspective and move to action, this book is for you! Regardless of the format of your final communication, the author shares the fifteen principles she learned to rely upon in her career. In the book's preface, she states, "I want to help you get your point across in a persuasive way;... Although the book is mostly about writing, I occasionally wander into some of the psychology underlying these approaches." She also acknowledges, "Although it's challenging to change minds, there are fundamentals of persuasion, techniques for bringing people over to your side not only in written arguments, but in life." Listening, understanding, uncovering the underlying beliefs, and respecting your audience are a few of the principles underscored by the author. Her insights, discussions, and examples are true gems for all who genuinely want to learn how to write persuasively and influence their audience effectively.
Styles of Writing for Specific Audiences - Small Business, Corporate America and the Legal Profession
Working with Words in Business and Legal Writing by Lynn Agress, Ph.D
Each community, business or legal, operates in its own way, and those participating within those communities are expected to tailor their written communications accordingly. Since the author takes a closer look at the written and verbal communications within the business and legal communities and their specific requirements, she addresses the style, approach, use of language, and structure to appeal to each of these professions and their specific audiences. This book would be beneficial to anyone working within either community.
Write Up the Corporate Ladder: Successful Writers Reveal the Techniques That Help You Write with Ease and Get Ahead by Kevin Ryan
The business community operates within its own unique set of circumstances. The author has learned from years of business experience that quality business writing is "Writing that communicates a business message the first time and makes the writer look polished and professional on paper. It's simple, straightforward communication." On the other hand, unacceptable business writing is "Writing that does not communicate a business message and requires a second communication to clarify meaning or, even worse, causes a business problem. Poor writing wastes time and money. It also makes the writer look unprofessional, which can affect his career and the company's image." Based upon these two learned premises, the author proceeds to advise the reader on how to write clearly, concisely, and without worrying about the rules of the English language, which is not to say he does not concern himself with the English language rules because he does. However, throughout the pages of this book, he is teaching and advising, as well as interviewing well-known, top business writers to show how great business writing can impact how well a company operates and positively impacts the career of a solid business professional.
Writing at Work: Professional Writing Skills for People On The Job by Edward L. Smith & Stephen Bernhardt
With a focus on the need for clear, concise communication in business, the authors focus on the quality of the message, the clarity of the communication, its purpose, and the desired impact upon its business audience. Within the book's pages, the authors say, "Very often the most important improvement a writer can make in a piece of weak writing is to state clearly at the beginning what the writing is intended to do and who is likely to be affected…. Being direct and up-front lets readers know why they are reading and what to expect." After all, the authors feel that "Well-designed documents show respect for the reader. They put your work in the best light and create a positive image for your company. A good design, however, can't fix poorly written text; at best, it may distract a reader briefly….If you have decided to be careful about your writing, you will want to be careful both about how your text is written and how it is presented." So you will find the authors take the time to discuss style, tone, passive vs. active voice, grammar, punctuation, and the pitfalls of using jargon, etc., in business communication. After all, they feel "Professional writing must be correct. You want readers to notice what you say, not how you say it… the fact is that most readers will tolerate only two or three errors before questioning the accuracy of the text and the ability of the writer."
Structure and The Mechanics of Writing
Perfect English Grammar: The Indispensible Guide to Excellent Writing & Speaking by Grant Barnett
Perfect English Grammar is an excellent, well-organized, straight-to-the-point reference source to refresh your memory on the structure of paragraphs and sentences, the parts of speech, spelling, formatting, and punctuation. The book's 5 x 7 size makes it easy to grab, thumb through, and find what you need. Frankly, this soft-cover book's design of various color blocks in the upper right-hand of each page makes it easy to get to the topic you need quickly, bolster your understanding, self-correct and easily apply your new-found knowledge to your writing and editing. It is excellent to have at my fingertips whenever I am tweaking the structure of my communications and presentations!
QuickStudy/Writing: Tips & Tricks - Laminated Study Guide by Lauren Scerbo
The QuickStudy for Writing is a laminated, six-page, 8 1/2 x 11 academic guide with a quick snapshot of topics such as outlining, common writing errors, sentence structure, paragraph structure with a visual image of the "Hamburger Method," transitional words, subject-verb agreement, parts of speech, capitalization, punctuation, spelling and different writing styles. It is a quick and ready reference that will complement The Simply Writing Well Process.
The Writer’s FAQs: A Pocket Handbook, Sixth Edition by Muriel Harris and Jennifer L. Kunka
The Pocket Handbook of the Writer's FAQs is a spiral-bound, soft-cover book that is clear and concise in its presentation. Since the spiral binding allows the pages to lie flat as you seek the information you need, it is also very easy to use. Now in its sixth edition, it contains a great deal of information about parts of speech, grammar, punctuation, clear and concise style, sentence structure, and mechanics, such as the use of italics, numbers, abbreviations, capitalization, spelling, and proper documentation style guidelines. In addition, there is an entire section dedicated to effectively researching, searching for information, evaluating and noting your sources, paraphrasing, citing source information correctly, and giving appropriate credit to your list of references and sources. In all cases, guidance, specific information, and illustrations are provided, making the information easy to understand and put into practice. It is a great resource to have on hand to uncover the information you need quickly. Although the English language rules are consistent, we all have unique learning styles, so it is essential to discover the resources that speak best to you.
Write Right! Revised Edition - A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar and Style by Jan Venolia
Write Right is an excellent guide for taking a closer look at the English Language and correcting the common mistakes made in punctuation, grammar, style, and with the often "Confused and Abused" words. The book is concise, to the point, easy to use and very complete in its recommendations. It is a helpful resource for writers of all skill levels.