Navigating Different Styles of Writing

Riley Williams

So far this semester, I have done a great deal of writing. Whether for my biology and lab classes, theological ethics class, public speaking class, or for publication in the D. U. Quark, writing has rapidly become a big part of my semester. However, I have always enjoyed writing, so this new part of my life hasn’t bothered me much. However, the pieces I write for each of these courses are drastically different. One challenge I have faced this semester is knowing when to separate these styles of writing. While writing a paper for my ethics class, I may take a break and begin my next lab report. However, switching from one tone or style to another has proven to be more challenging than I would have expected. This has been a tough problem to work through. However, I think I am slowly becoming better at navigating these different styles. 

While writing an article or report meant for a scientific audience, I always try and keep the “fluff” out of my language. “Fluff” can be anything from unnecessary prepositional phrases or extra descriptive words. Science writing is meant to be clear, concise, and to the point. Whenever I complete a paragraph, I reread what I wrote and highlight anything I feel may be “fluff”. Once my paper is complete, I delete everything that is highlighted and read the paper again. If I have a good understanding of what is infant of me without all the “fluff”, I keep it out of my final product. Though these extra words may help a student reach a page minimum, it is best to eliminate them because they aren’t serving a purpose. 

Writing pieces for a more public audience, like in my public speaking class, extra descriptive words can be a good thing. Sometimes, including extra prepositional phrases can give some character to a paper or speech. For example, I often include some humor when writing a speech. Humor keeps the audience interested. Of course, I would never use humor in a scientific paper. While writing an ethics paper, I may include humor once, but certainly not as much as I would for a speech. It is also important to keep the language understandable for the audience. These are just a few ways these styles differ.

Overall, I think I am slowly becoming better at separating these different writing styles. I still slip up from time to time, but I can see improvements in my assignments for each of these different audiences. This skill will be helpful as I continue writing papers for various classes as the semester comes to an end. 

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