Clarity, Coherence, and Conciseness: How the Three Cs Can Make You a Better Writer
Developing your writing skills is a challenging task, but the ability to eloquently put pen to paper is an incredibly valuable skill. The process goes beyond simply memorizing grammar, spelling, and formatting. There are no definite rules you can follow, as each new writing assignment is unique and requires a fresh perspective. However, several recognized characteristics can instantly improve the quality of your texts. These are the three Cs of writing: clarity, coherence, and conciseness.
The three Cs provide universal guidelines that can be applied in any text, making it neat and easy to read, and the use of these principles will enhance your writing skills immeasurably. If your goal is to write a piece that will impress its readers, clarity, coherence, and conciseness will increase your chances of getting an idea across and garner the intended response from your audience. Here is what you can do to hone each of the three Cs of writing to perfection.
A major task for any writer is, obviously, to ensure that readers can effortlessly understand the main idea of the text. A thoughtful pre-writing phase is essential to making sure your piece is well-organized; this is when you decide on key messages that you want to convey to the audience, thinking through your argument before putting it in words. Create an outline and plan out the main and supporting ideas to help you to build the connection between them.
Your writing should have precise logic and structure to communicate its message effectively. As editors from an essay writing service suggest, you should examine all of your sentences for clarity by reading them out loud. This is the easiest way to spot logical and structural fallacies as well as make sure what you’ve written flows well.
Another aspect that affects clarity is word choice. Students often tend to include a lot of fancy words in an effort to sound smarter, but the result is often the opposite, making your work sound artificial. If the words that you use do not suit the overall style of the text, it may even confuse your audience and take their attention away from the central idea. Be careful with technical language and jargon as well. Do not assume that your readers have the same background and amount of preparation as you do. The best strategy is to use familiar language that suits the purpose of the piece. A clear text will be more convincing to help you hold your readers’ attention.
The goal of coherent writing is to ensure the smooth flow of ideas. Your readers should be able to follow your writing without effort. The text will benefit if you move from familiar to new information, providing context and showing the “big picture.” Treat each paragraph as one part of a larger unified structure. Make sure there is some kind of link between paragraphs, with each of them in some way connected to the thesis statement.
In academic papers, use a traditional organization of paragraphs, including a topic sentence, support, evidence, and concluding sentence. This structure is familiar to your readers, so they will have no trouble understanding the most important points. You can also use parallel constructions as they help to identify links between ideas.
To ensure that your ideas hold together, go back to the beginning of your paper and read it sentence by sentence. If some of the sentences or paragraphs lack a natural flow, use transitional devices such as conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs to fix abrupt breaks, and link phrases that allow you to form connections between ideas. Use them to add or compare information, introduce examples, emphasize ideas, etc. A coherent text makes it easy for a reader to navigate through your thoughts.
Conciseness is a valuable feature of any piece of writing. Always convey your ideas with as few words as possible! Every word you choose to include in your text, whether it is an academic paper, a personal essay, or a piece of creative writing, is important and should serve a purpose. Moreover, refrain from tautology and repetitive ideas as it may take a toll on the quality of your paper. Here are some tips that can help you make your text more concise:
- Do not overuse adjectives. If you include a lot of descriptors, it makes the text less dynamic.
- Use forceful verbs. They make your language more expressive and descriptive.
- Avoid wordiness. Shorter sentences (up to 25 words) are usually more effective.
- Use action verbs instead of infinitive phrases when possible.
- Avoid filler words like “very,” “just,” “absolutely,” “basically,” “really,” etc. They do not add any meaning to your text.
- Use active voice as it is clearer and more concise than the passive.
- Eliminate unnecessary words. Extra fluff will only make your work messy and distract readers from your message.
- Get rid of non-essential or excessive detail.
- Refrain from using redundant phrases like “past history,” “future projections,” “basic fundamentals,” etc.
- If a phrase or modifying clause can be substituted with a single word, make this change whenever possible.
Good writing is effective writing. It’s always better to choose one strong word instead of several weak ones. Try to choose the most efficient language means to convey your ideas.