How to Not Write Like a Snob
Did you finally escape the clutches of college and all those academic papers? Or maybe you’ve been warped from years of business chatter/creating wordy proposals and now you’re tasked with writing a blog post or online article.
You’ve been thrown into the Internet writing world and I bet, by now, you’ve realized no one on Earth talks or writes like you were forced to in those research papers or business proposals.
I, myself, have had to switch back and forth, learning so many different writing styles. I studied journalism as an undergrad and then communication as a Master’s student, which calls for learning:
- Newspaper writing – short, and to the point
- Magazine writing – lighter mood, more detailed, and fun
- Undergrad class research papers – “You’re not in high school anymore. Make this sound intellectual.”
- Graduate research papers – “You’re not an undergrad. Write this at such a grand level that you don’t even understand it yourself after you’re finished.”
And now, I have a job solely writing content for Internet viewers, which threw out everything I learned before and required me to learn yet another writing style, which I’m using right now. Basically, it’s conversational while still being grammatically correct.
So how do you reverse the damage of over-intellectual writing?
Here are some dos and don’ts of how to not write like a snob.
2) Don’t stuff your sentences with useless words
3) Don’t try to be showy or pretentious (Wall Street Journal style)
4) Don’t write long, complex sentences that are hard to follow. Example: “Understanding the norms and customs of today’s Facebook users is necessary in understanding what integrating this SNS into higher education for pedagogical purposes would mean for both students and faculty as well as to further understand how both parties may feel about its use in the classroom.” WHAT?!
5) Don’t write in giant, clunky paragraphs – this makes it harder to read. Break things up. Use bullets and headings.
6) Don’t be condescending to your readers.
7) Don’t be boring
8) Don’t go too casual and start writing in SMS style. Example: omg i love wrkng @ Juicy Results so much!!
1) Do write conversationally (similarly to this awesome blog post).
2) Do shoot for understandable, rather than complex.
3) Do check the big words at the door. Stop trying to impress us with the words you just learned after studying for the GRE.
4) Do write simpler sentences – I like cats. Sometimes your sentences can be that short and it’s ok.
5) Do still use correct grammar and punctuation.
Now, go write away!