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On Writing Well William Zinsser Analysis Essay

William Zinsser said in his book, “On Writing Well”, that there is no great audience to write for; instead authors should write for themselves, for expressing their own emotions, passions, and desires. While this is true to some degree, writers should still keep an audience in mind when writing, especially if that writing is meant to be read by the public. Master the precise skill of writing, then use that skill to express one’s personality to the world through the words on the paper. Some authors believe that working with the usual tone, and developing a style that offers glimpses into the author’s soul, is the best way to write.

Other authors believe that keeping writing formal while still engaging the attention of the reader is the best way to spread their work to the world. Both of these views are right, but are styled for different audiences. Integrating carefully structured paragraphs, correct grammar, tactical strategies, and flowing content into one’s work, ensures that whatever an author writes the readers will enjoy its clarity and content. The tone of a writing is made from the way one places words together, as if each word is the brushstroke in the painting of an essay.

Diction is the word choice itself, where syntax deals more with the overall word and sentence placement in a paragraph. To have correct diction, one should be aware of the concepts of denotation and annotation. Strunk and White’s Handbook informs that the denotation of a word is its exact, literal meaning found in a reliable dictionary. The three types of denotation are unabridged; extensive background and research on the word, abridged; only holds the most commonly used words, and specialized; only focuses on a certain area such as an English-to-Spanish dictionary or a slang dictionary.

Connotation deals with the ideas associated with a word, or in other words, a thesaurus. However, one must be cautious when dealing with thesauruses, for while the words have similar meanings, it doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable and if used incorrectly, can put an unexpected and often unwanted twist on the tone of a paper. An efficient team is a group of people who work smoothly together without any mistakes or gaps in the well-oiled system. So it is with a paragraph.

A paragraph is a group of sentence working together to develop a unit of thought which flows smoothly and cohesively. It also divides reading material into more manageable parts while cueing the readers in about a shift in the thought process. There are three main types of paragraphs: introductory, body, and conclusive. An introductory paragraph is generally at the beginning of an article and consists mainly of a hook, and a thesis statement, which introduces the topic of the paper.

Body paragraphs tend to be longer, as they are the main idea and support of that idea, along with specific details to enhance the work and enthrall the readers. Conclusive paragraphs are the bow on top of the present; they wrap up the paper, and add the attractive finishing garnishes as well. Consisting mainly of a summary of the body paragraphs, and a reinstatement of the point made throughout the piece, conclusive paragraphs should be strong and impressive. If these three pieces are fully developed and stoutly built, a paper can be sound and almost without error.

Grammar defines the type of words we say and how they are said. Some people are hired based entirely on how intelligent they sound when they speak. Although most would not recommend this method, it shows just how important a first impression is. Just a few mistakes can make one sound like an uneducated savage, but with the proper use of punctuation and wise word choices, the savage sounds like a Harvard graduate. Grammar also refers to the structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in a language, or the study of the aforementioned rules.

Grammar is similar to the building block of the English language, so learn the rules and memorize them carefully, as they have more influence than people think. Rhetorical modes cover all the complicated intricacies of writing: repetition, pluralism, illustrative details, imagery, examples, description, and transitions. Repetition, or repeating key words and phrases, is used to hammer in a point. Readers tend to like repetition as it produces a sense of consistency which then leads to logic and reason.

Parallelism employs a similar technique in which portions of the text are alike in the nature of the way they are written. Giving examples to prove a point is a characteristic of illustrative detail and those examples are linked by transitions to provide a “smoothness” to the piece. The three types of description are noun based; made almost entirely of facts, verb based; filled with non-stop action, or most commonly known, adjective based; flowery and full of imagery. With the use of these modes, writing becomes more detailed and engaging.

Applying these points in writing will help create a sound, sturdy masterpiece that is engaging and enjoyable to read, as well as informational. A characteristic of a good writer is one that is able to churn out an enthralling piece of work, especially under pressure. It often helps if the authors schedules their writing time long before a deadline, so that they are able to offer their best work. If one works hard and is given enough time, they will not only fashion an enjoyable piece, but will have fun in the process.

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