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The ‘Six Cs’ of Good Writing

by | Feb 17, 2015 | Higher Education

Setting the page on fire with some hard work
Writing can be a lot of things: a simple Facebook status, an intricate poem, an 800- page epic, the instructions for a pack of noodles. Writing can always be what it needs to be and do what it needs to do.

Academic writing is a vehicle for students to show their engagement and understanding of a particular subject. It’s a way to speak without being interrupted and have the power to say what you want to say, exactly how you want to say it. Here are some essential considerations to help you write the perfect essay:

Your writing should be straightforward, logical, unambiguous: academic readers are not looking for suspense or mystery. They want to know ‘what’s what’ and ‘that’s that’.

Your writing should contain all necessary details: your readers will expect your writing to form a complete whole. They will not want to have to consult other sources to make your reasoning or descriptions comprehensible.

Your writing should contain no unnecessary details or ornaments: readers want to get straight to the point without spending time on irrelevant detail or waffle.

Your writing should show that you are aware of your readers: always think about your audience as you write. What do they want to know? How can you make your writing easier to understand? How can you make your writing more lively and interesting?

Your writing should not be vague or abstract. Always be specific to make your writing accurate, credible, and vivid: for example, ‘There were 1,500 people at the concert’, not ‘There were heaps of people at the concert’; ‘These events happened fifty-five years ago’, not ‘These events happened many years ago’.

Your writing should be correct in word usage, grammar, punctuation, and spelling: poor expression will make your writing hard to understand and will also make it seem unprofessional and careless. Many people do know how to structure sentences, punctuate, and spell – rightly or wrongly, they will judge the quality of your work by your ability to do the same.

Hay, I, Bochner, D, Blacket, G, & C, Dungey. 2012.
Making The Grade, Oxford University Press Melbourne.

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