Style: Lessons In Clarity And Grace Analysis

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In John M. Williams’ book, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, he discusses the concepts of characters, actions and concision in writing in chapters three, four and nine. Williams emphasizes these points as a part of his vision that writers should write clearly and anyone can write in this manner (2). When a writer understands and applies Williams’ principals as described in these chapters, the reader will perceive the writing more clearly and directly (46). Williams focuses on making the main character the subject of the verbs in each sentence, and making those verbs the important actions performed by the main character (29). Williams states that the first principal of clarity in writing is to make the subjects of the majority of the …show more content…
He warns against using numerous nominalizations, or abstract nouns derived from verbs and or adjectives (32). He suggests turning nominalizations into action verbs and making the main characters the subject of those verbs (36). While Williams suggests five common patterns in over using nominalizations, he also lists occasions when revision is not necessary (36-38; 41-42). He points out that readers want writing that is clear but not simplistic (42). Making nominalizations, as well as most verbs in your sentence into action verbs that describe the main characters will add clarity and depth to your writing. Williams also states that writers should write in active voice, not passive (53). However, you can use passive voice if the cause of the action is evident, if it allows you to replace a long subject or if it gives the reader a sequence of subjects (63). Again you must take care to use the voice that best explains your thought to the …show more content…
He says that academic writers do not have to avoid writing in first person. This type of writing occurs in metadiscourse or language that refers to the writer, the reader, or the writing itself rather than referring to the subject matter (58). You may see metadiscourse when a writer explains their thinking or writing, traces logic or forms an argument, addresses his or her readers, describes the organization of the document, refers to other parts of the document expresses a point of view or intensifies their argument (58). This form of writing helps us understand the real “flesh-and-blood” authors behind the writing (59). Williams suggests using an active verb for clarity when using metadiscourse (63). He also warns in lesson four to rewrite long compound nouns by rearranging your sentence for clarity (60). The exception to this process occurs when writing with technical terms from a specific field of study

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