Free Writing Tips

Basic Writing Tips for Memos and Letters

Begin sentences with subjects and verbs when appropriate.

Place strong words at the beginning and at the end of each sentence.

♦ Use powerful verbs that signify action and save words.

Use concrete adverbs to clarify the meaning of verbs.

Use the simple present or past tense.

Don’t hesitate to use long sentences where appropriate.

Learn the basic rules of punctuation.

Delete any unnecessary words. A clear, compact message has more impact.

Use the simple over the technical. Use shorter words, sentences, and paragraphs when dealing with complex points.

Experiment with words. Choose words the average reader understands. Use the thesaurus judiciously.

Use concrete and specific details to illustrate and clarify your messages.

Pay attention to names to personalize and to offer a complete picture of the situation you are addressing.

Avoid using cliches.

Vary sentence length and variety.

Vary the lengths of paragraphs.

Learn when it is most appropriate and efficacious to show, when to tell, and when to do both.

Read your drafts aloud to better assess their clarity and coverage of essential information.

Develop a plan for each piece of writing before beginning composing the message.

Build your work around a key question, issue, or problem.

Don’t be reluctant to repeat important points.

Polish your work for clarity of purpose.

Draft a clear mission/action statement for your work.

Read for both form and content and revise as necessary.

Break long pieces into discreet parts for manageability before writing them .


“All writing should be selective in order to drop every dead word.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson



Quest Means Business: Excellence in Communication

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Mo Guernon, Ed.M. / Writer & Consultant


Phone: 401.965.8350


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