English · Legal Skill

How to enhance your writing skill? – Chapter 2: General Writing

In this civilised world, as Clive Staples Lewis said, “you can make anything by writing”. Maybe you have written since you were very young, you might too acquaint yourself with writing. But do you dare to discover more about it? I bet there will be at least one tip that is useful for your writing. If you write well, you can do more amazing things than you imagine.

  1. Paragraphing

Although you might be too familiar with paragraphing to be recalled what it is, I still do have some significant notes for you because some of us, maybe, do not know completely what we think we know.

First, about types of paragraph, there are two types of it, probative paragraphs and descriptive paragraph. A probative paragraph conveys information without analysis. In contrast, a probative paragraph proves propositions that help it revolve issues. Therefore, descriptive writing answers the question “What is it about?” while the probative one helps the reader solve the question “What is this writer trying to prove?”

In the first draft, we hardly ever find a suitable organization for the paragraphs. Instead, paragraphing is the work for re-writing stage. To have the rehabilitation in your article, you should keep asking yourself these following question:

(i)                 Have you stated or implied, near the beginning of each paragraph, the paragraph’s thesis (if the paragraph is probative) of its topic (if the paragraph is descriptive)?

(ii)               Have you given each paragraph a unified purpose?

(iii)             Have you broken up paragraphs that were so large that the reader would have gotten lost? Or Have you rewritten paragraphs that were so short that no thesis or topic is developed?


  1. How to have an effective style?

You may know that in order to write effectively, at least, your words should be clarified, vivid, concise and forceful (forceful writing leads reader through ideas, allows them to follow the flow by specifying the relationships between the ideas, the most and least importance ideas in your article). But it would be better if you keep in mind these following questions while writing:

(i)                 Do your nouns and verbs let the reader see the action?

(ii)               Have you used verbs that show the precise relationship between subjects and objects?

(iii)             Have you brought the reader to the verb quickly? The verb is the knot in an English sentence. Therefore, the most easily understood sentences bring the reader to the verb as quickly as possible.

(iv)             Have you put the verb near the subject and the object near the verb? Do not be fancy in writing if you do not need to do so, inserting a clause a phrase between verb and subject of object can makes your sentence be more complicated.

(v)               Have you used transitional words and phrases to show how ideas are related?

(vi)             Have you avoided the passive voice unless you have a good reason for using it? The passive would be more effective when you do not know who acted, or identity of actor is not important or you want to deemphasize the actor’s identity.

(vii)           Have you avoided sexist wording? In some cases, the sexist words like he, she, his, her may bring you to some awkward situations. A good way to avoid them is replacing the pronounce with “the”, or with plural form, or eliminate the pronoun from the sentence. For example, instead of writing “an attorney files his motion with the clerk”, you can write “an attorney files the motion with the clerk” or “attorneys file their motion with the clerk”.

To sum up, in general writing, you should identify your purpose of writing and your types of reader to use the appropriate writing style. Whatever your intention, unless otherwise you are a literary writer, the most important tip is letting your readers know exactly what you want to convey in the most comfortable way.

Back to Chapter 1: The process writing

Jump to Chapter 3: Basic standards of legal writing.


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