You have at your fingertips a set of lessons in professional writing style that gives you explanations, examples, exercises, and answers for the following topics:

  1. Preferring Active Voice
  2. Denominalizing (turning verbs masquerading as nouns back into verbs)
  3. Trimming Fat
  4. Reducing Jargon
  5. Unraveling Adjective-Noun Strings and Reducing Preposition Sprawl
  6. Using Parallel Form
  7. Being Emphatic and Coherent
  8. Using Modifiers
  9. Choosing the Right Words
  10. Mastering Punctuation
  11. Using Ethical and Inoffensive Language
  12. Finding the Right Tone

These units of instruction are deliberately ordered in the sequence shown above; they build upon one another, and sometimes a lesson will refer to an earlier lesson. However, unless your instructor otherwise directs, you are free to work through these tutorials selectively, and in any order you choose. You know your own strengths and weaknesses. Maybe.

These lessons will strengthen your stylistic power no matter what your discipline, but they will be particularly helpful to you if you are a student, or professional, in engineering, science, business, or technical communication. These tutorials do not attempt to take you through every possible aspect of style, but they focus on core topics: the most important stylistic guidelines for professional writing. I know that writing style is not everyone's favorite topic of study, so I've done my best to make these tutorials enjoyable and fast paced.

By the way, you're about to work on your writing style here, not just on the grammar and mechanics of English. Well ok, you are going to work through one little tutorial on punctuation, but you'll be glad you did, just like you're glad you ate all those vegetables mom cooked for you. Besides, as I'll explain, mastery of punctuation is part and parcel of your stylistic tool kit.

But even if you don't believe that yet, please believe this: stylistic maturity is much harder to come by than mere grammatical/mechanical competence. These 12 lessons are dedicated to improving your style.

If you'll work through these lessons faithfully, and apply them to your own writing and editing, they will dramatically enhance your stylistic power. Why is that important? Because your mastery of writing style is fundamental to your success as a student and professional! And because you want to make the world a less frustrating, more satisfying, and altogether better place in which to communicate and live.

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