(by Edward P. Bailey)
The author espouses plain English writing which he means “writing that is easy to read and write and which expresses a range of simple to complex ideas.” He contradicts the overly formal English style which, according to the author, is very rigid and impressionable but fails to convey the message of the speaker. The author extensively teaches simple English and urges writers to do so because it is very easier and it is better, too. We have very complicated writing structures nowadays and this is illustrated in the business texts. The author admonishes straightforward writing as better.
Plain English means simply expressing one’s ideas in writing and in speaking. It applies to simple and convoluted writing as it expresses clear ideas. Plain English has three parts:
There are three basic features of a passive voice. They are in the form of the verb to be such as is, am, was, were, be, been, or being. They are also in the form of a past participle (i.e. kept, accepted, etc. They also have a prepositional phrase starting with by (sometimes used). However, it is much better to often use the active or the direct voice. (The author warns of being too direct.)
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In the aspect of punctuations, Bailey wrote that most skilled writers punctuate differently than majority of the amateurs writers. Amateurs often limit themselves to commas and periods while professionals utilize all the marks and use them in various ways. To punctuate excellently means giving your writing two crucial benefits:
As stated, punctuations are significant. There are specific rules to punctuating. Punctuations are not just simple commas, apostrophe’s and periods. They have a special part in the structure of the sentence. For instance, the colon is a very commonly used mark. It often comes after a sufficient sentence.
Some rules exemplified in the book for commas, dash and semi colons include:
Rule 1: The writer must use a colon after a complete sentence to direct the reader to the words, clauses or phrases which he/she wants to stress.
Rule 2: He/she must use a colon after a complete sentence to direct the reader to an inter-related sentence.
Rule 3: A writer must use a dash after a complete sentence to stress a word, clause or phrase or another sentence.
Rule 4: He/she must use a dash to emphasize something in the middle of a sentence.
Rule 5: He/she must use a semicolon to divide two linked sentences.
The author suggests emphatically that writers must put his main idea at the beginning of the sentence or the article. If not, it must be written at the first part of the article to reduce confusing the main ideas or avoid getting the readers redirected within the writing. In terms of presentation, this means that the first or the first few slides contain the main idea/s or what the speaker will talk about and why he/she thinks it is worth talking about.
The speaker must have a blueprint slide which contains the flow of the discussion. It shows the various parts of the presentation. A blueprint slide must:
The blueprint slide should be in the final slide in the speaker’s introduction. It names the different parts of the body of the presentation.
In the layout, the writer must use a list; a heading and other blank space so that the audience can see the writing structure. The author justified this with the proven technique of plain English of making reading easy for the audience. (This is also easier for the writer, according to Bailey.)
Good layout means that the readers can view the written document's structure. It also means that the documents are professionally written and laid out. For the bottom line, the author suggests that writers use shorter paragraphs. They should also start with a particularly short paragraph. They must also use unintended paragraphs. Interestingly, Bailey encourages a one sentence paragraph. He defends that most professional writers do this. For business writing, he particularly suggests that writers avoid indenting the initial line of paragraphs. It is also suggested that paragraphs be a block.
The bottom line of this chapter is that writers must use headings as much as possible. They also must use a bold, sans serif font such as Arial. Writers must place more space above the heading than below it. Writers are also encouraged to consider a "down style" heading. When a writer has a list to be enumerated, Bailey proposes the bullets. He/she must also have a good style of writing and must utilize good spacing.
There is no particular standard for punctuations and capitalization when one has a list. There are some standards, of course, for some companies which they internally follow. Bailey suggests using capital letters at the beginning of a bulleted sentence if this is a complete sentence. If not, he suggests not to capitalize neither put a period at its end. When one starts with a complete sentence, then all the bulleted items must be paralleled or it must be in full sentences as well. Bailey also suggests a typeface like Arial for one’s body texts. A twelve-point size is also ideal. The standard typesetting conventions should also be followed.
The author said that the common writing process consists of the three steps:
This is not the process which Bailey affirms. He reasons that if one writer is working for just one page, he will not contend with an outline anymore. An outline is just helpful for something which is longer. Thus, he recommends writing down the major headings with no thought of an outline itself. The writer can also try writing down the ideas of a longer writing piece with the order in his mind. Then, he must proceed with his writing.
Bailey describes how he practices writing and his steps include:
In this chapter, Bailey gives out rich and practical advice for presentations including: remembering your talk; designing your visual aids and computer presentations, etc. He suggests the following:
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This chapter includes how a speaker must set up the room where he is going to present and developing a successful style of delivery. Bailey emphasizes the importance of public speaking. It is important for every professional to be able to deliver a smart presentation. This chapter provides a modest but concise and thorough, user friendly handbook that has everything to ensure a successful presentation.
According to the author, the design stage is crucial. He gives an illustration of how to design a speech for major with the use of a "blueprint" and lucid transitions that keep the audience attentive. He also used examples to illustrate how abstraction can make one presentation dull. The practical advice on checking the room includes checking if the projector works fine, using a pointer, and if the room temperature and microphones work well. Bailey also provides a solid advice on rehearsing a presentation, breaking the ice with the audience, designing visual aids, and handling question-and-answer portions.
Bailey has several tips for speakers and these include the following:
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