Anda di halaman 1dari 48

Writing Effective Email: Top 10 Email Tips

Some professionals get scores of emails a day. Follow these email etiquette tips in order to give your
recipients the information they need, so they’ll act on your message.

12 Dec 2000 — original version submitted by Jessica Bauer (UWEC student)

20 Dec 2012 — last modified by Dennis G. Jerz

 Write a meaningful subject line.

 Keep the message focused.

 Avoid attachments.

 Identify yourself clearly.

 Be kind — don’t flame.

 Proofread.

 Don’t assume privacy.

 Distinguish between formal and informal situations.

 Respond Promptly.

 Show Respect and Restraint.

1. Write a meaningful subject line.

People who get a lot of email scan the subject line in order to decide whether to open, forward, file, or
trash a message. If your subject line is vague — or even worse, if it’s blank — you have missed your first
opportunity to inform or persuade your reader. Remember — your message is not the only one in your recipient’s
mailbox. Before you hit “send,” take a moment to write a subject line that accurately describes the content.

Subject: [Blank]

If you don’t put a subject line on your email, you are sending the message that your name in the “From” line
is all your recipient should need in order to make it a top priority. That could come across as arrogant, or at
the very least, thoughtless. Take advantage of the opportunity to get your recipient thinking about your
message even before opening it.

Subject: “Important! Read Immediately!!“

What is important to you may not be important to your reader. Rather than brashly announcing that the
secret contents of your message are important, write an informative headline that actually communicates at
least the core of what you feel is so important: “Emergency: All Cars in the Lower Lot Will Be Towed in 1
Hour.”

Subject: “Quick question.“

If the question is quick, why not just ask it in the subject line? This subject line is hardly useful.
Subject: “Follow-up about Friday“

Fractionally better — provided that the recipient remembers why a follow-up was necessary.

Subject: “That file you requested.“

If you’re confident your recipient will recognize your email address, and really is expecting a file from you,
then this would be fine. But keep in mind that many email providers get scads of virus-laden spam with
vague titles like this. The more specific you are, the more likely your recipient’s spam-blocker will let your
message through.

Subject: “10 confirmed for Friday… will we need a larger room?“

Upon reading this revised, informative subject line, the recipient immediately starts thinking about the size
of the room, not about whether it will be worth it to open the email.

2. Keep the message focused.

Often recipients only read partway through a long message, hit “reply” as soon as they have something to
contribute, and forget to keep reading. This is part of human nature.

If your email contains multiple messages that are only loosely related, in order to avoid the risk that
your reader will reply only to the first item that grabs his or her fancy, you could number your points to ensure
they are all read (adding an introductory line that states how many parts there are to the message). If the points
are substantial enough, split them up into separate messages so your recipient can delete, respond, file, or
forward each item individually.

Keep your message readable.

Use standard capitalization and spelling, especiallywhen your message asks your recipient to do work
for you.

If you are a teenager, writing a quick gushing “thx 4 ur help 2day ur gr8″ may make a busy professional
smile at your gratitude.

But there comes a time when the sweetness of the gesture isn’t enough. u want ur prof r ur boss 2 think u
cant spl? LOL ;-)

Skip lines between paragraphs.

Avoid fancy typefaces. Don’t depend upon bold font or large size to add nuances. Your recipient’s email
reader may not have all the features that yours does. In a pinch, use asterisks to show *emphasis*.

Use standard capitalization. All-caps comes across as shouting, and no caps invokes the image of a lazy
teenager. Regardless of your intention, people will respond accordingly.

3. Avoid attachments.

Rather than attaching a file that your reader will have to download and open in a separate program, you will
probably get faster results if you just copy-paste the most important part of the document into the body of your
message.

To: All 1000 EmployeesFrom: Eager EdgarSubject: A helpful book everyone should read
Hello, everyone. I’ve attached a PDF that I think you’ll all find very useful. This is the third time I sent it the
file — the version I sent yesterday had a typo on page 207, so I’ve sent the whole thing again. Since some
of you noted that the large file size makes it a bit awkward, I’ve also attached each chapter as a separate
document. Let me know what you think!Attachments:

Big Honking File.pdf (356MB)

BHF Cover.pdf (25MB)

BHF Chapter 1.pdf (35MB)

BHF Chapter 2.pdf (27MB)

[... ]

Okay, raise your hands… how many of us would delete the above message immediately, without looking at
*any* of those attachments? 

To: Bessie ProfessionalFrom: Morris PonsybilSubject: Email tips — a subject for an office workshop?
——–
Bessie, I came across a book that has lots of tips on streamlining professional communications. Has
anyone volunteered to present at the office workshop next month? Let me know if you’d like me to run a
little seminar (2o minutes?) on using email effectively.Below, I’ll paste the table of contents from the book.
Let me know if you want me send you the whole thing as a PDF.

Table of Contents

Write a meaningful subject line.

Keep the message focused and readable.

Avoid attachments.

[...]

Email works best when you just copy and paste the most relevant text into the body of the email. Try to
reduce the number of steps your recipient will need to take in order to act on your message.

If your recipient actually needs to view the full file in order to edit or archive it, then of course sending an
attachment is appropriate.

If it’s the message that matters, recognize that attachments:

- consume bandwidth (do you want your recipient to ignore your request so as to avoid paying for a mobile
download?)

- can carry viruses

- don’t always translate correctly for people who read their email on portable devices.

4. Identify yourself clearly.


To: Professor Blinderson

From: FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com

Subject: [Blank]

Yo goin 2 miss class whats the homework

Professor Blinderson will probably reply, “Please let me know your name and which class you’re in, so that I
can respond meaningfully. I don’t recognize the address FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com.”

To: Professor Blinderson

From: m.ponsybil@gmail.com

Subject: EL227 Absence, Oct 10

This is Morris Ponsybil, from EL227 section 2.

This morning, I just found out that the curling team has advanced to the playoffs, so I’m going to be out of
town on the 10th.

According to the syllabus, it looks like I will miss a paper workshop and the discussion of Chapter 10. May I
email you my Chapter 10 discussion questions before I leave town? And could I come to your office hour at
2pm on the 12th, in order to catch up on anything I missed? I’ve asked Cheryl Jones to take notes for me.

Thank you very much. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.

(If you are asking the other person to do you a favor, providing the right information will give him or her a
good reason to decide in your favor. In this case, Morris Ponsybil shows his professor he cares enough
about the class to propose a solution to the problem his absence will cause.)

When contacting someone cold, always include your name, occupation, and any other important
identification information in the first few sentences.

If you are following up on a face-to-face contact, you might appear too timid if you assume your recipient
doesn’t remember you; but you can drop casual hints to jog their memory: “I enjoyed talking with you about PDAs
in the elevator the other day.”

Every fall, I get emails from “bad_boy2315@yahoo.com” or “FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com” who ask a


question about “class” and don’t sign their real names.

While formal phrases such as “Dear Professor Sneedlewood” and “Sincerely Yours,” are unnecessary in
email, when contacting someone outside your own organization, you should write a signature line that includes
your full name and at least a link to a blog or online profile page (something that does not require your recipient to
log in first).

5. Be kind. Don’t flame.

Think before you click “Send.”

If you find yourself writing in anger, save a draft, go get a cup of coffee, and imagine that tomorrow morning
someone has taped your email outside your door. Would your associates and friends be shocked by your
language or attitude?
Or would they be impressed by how you kept your cool, how you ignored the bait when your correspondent
stooped to personal attacks, and how you carefully explained your position (or admitted your error, or asked for a
reconsideration, etc.).

Don’t pour gasoline on a fire without carefully weighing the consequences. Will you have to work with this
person for the rest of the semester? Do you want a copy of your bitter screed to surface years from now, when you
want a letter of recommendation or you’re up for promotion?

@!$% &*@!! &(*!

Go ahead… write it, revise it, liven it up with traditional Lebanese curses, print it out, throw darts on it, and
scribble on it with crayon. Do whatever you need in order to get it out of your system. Just don’t hit “Send”
while you’re still angry.

From: Clair Haddad

To: Ann O. Ying

Subject: Re: Ongoing Problems with ProjectI’m not sure how to respond, since last week you told Sue that
you didn’t need any extra training, so I cancelled Wednesday’s workshop. I can CC Sue in on this thread if
you like, since she’s the one who will have to approve the budget if we reschedule it.

Meanwhile, I can loan you my copies of the manual, or we can look into shifting the work to someone else.
Let me know what you’d like me to do next.

—Original Message –

From: Ann O. Ying

I tried all morning to get in touch with you. Couldn’t you find a few minutes in between meetings to check
your messages? I’m having a rough time on this project, and I’m sorry if this is last-minute, but I’ve never
done this before and I think the least you could do is take some time to explain it again.

If your recipient has just lambasted you with an angry message, rather than reply with a point-by-point
rebuttal, you can always respond with a brief note like this, which

casually invokes the name of someone the angry correspondent is likely to respect (in order to diffuse any
personal antagonism that may otherwise have developed) and

refocuses the conversation on solutions (in this conversation, Ann has already dug herself into a hole, and
Clair has nothing to gain by joining her there)

6. Proofread.

If you are asking someone else to do work for you, take the time to make your message look
professional.

While your spell checker won’t catch every mistake, at the very least it will catch a few typos. If you are
sending a message that will be read by someone higher up on the chain of command (a superior or professor, for
instance), or if you’re about to mass-mail dozens or thousands of people, take an extra minute or two before you
hit “send”. Show a draft to a close associate, in order to see whether it actually makes sense.

7. Don’t assume privacy.


Unless you are Donald Trump, praise in public, and criticize in private. Don’t send anything over email
that you wouldn’t want posted — with your name attached — in the break room.

Email is not secure. Just as random pedestrians could easily reach into your mailbox and intercept the
envelopes that you send and receive through the post office, a curious hacker, a malicious criminal, or the FBI can
easily intercept your email. Your IT department has the ability to read any and all email messages in your work
account (and your company can legally may fire you if you write anything inappropriate).

8. Distinguish between formal and informal situations.

When you are writing to a friend or a close colleague, it is OK to use “smilies” :-) , abbreviations (IIRC for “if
I recall correctly”, LOL for “laughing out loud,” etc.) and nonstandard punctuation and spelling (like that found in
instant messaging or chat rooms). These linguistic shortcuts are generally signs of friendly intimacy, like sharing
cold pizza with a family friend. If you tried to share that same cold pizza with a first date, or a visiting dignitary, you
would give off the impression that you did not really care about the meeting. By the same token, don’t use informal
language when your reader expects a more formal approach. Always know the situation, and write accordingly.

9. Respond Promptly.

If you want to appear professional and courteous, make yourself available to your online correspondents.
Even if your reply is, “Sorry, I’m too busy to help you now,” at least your correspondent won’t be waiting in vain for
your reply.

10. Show Respect and Restraint

Many a flame war has been started by someone who hit “reply all” instead of “reply.”

While most people know that email is not private, it is good form to ask the sender before forwarding a
personal message. If someone emails you a request, it is perfectly acceptable to forward the request to a person
who can help — but forwarding a message in order to ridicule the sender is tacky.

Use BCC instead of CC when sending sensitive information to large groups. (For example, a professor
sending a bulk message to students who are in danger of failing, or an employer telling unsuccessful applicants
that a position is no longer open.) The name of everyone in the CC list goes out with the message, but the names
of people on the BCC list (“blind carbon copy”) are hidden. Put your own name in the “To” box if your mail editor
doesn’t like the blank space.

Be tolerant of other people’s etiquette blunders. If you think you’ve been insulted, quote the line back to
your sender and add a neutral comment such as, “I’m not sure how to interpret this… could you elaborate?”

Sometimes Email is Too Fast!

A colleague once asked me for help, and then almost immediately sent a follow-up informing me she had
solved the problem on her own.

But before reading her second message, I replied at length to the first. Once I learned that there was no
need for any reply, I worried that my response would seem pompous, so I followed up with a quick apology:

“Should have paid closer attention to my email.”

What I meant to say was “[I] should have looked more carefully at my [list of incoming] email [before
replying],” but I could tell from my colleague’s terse reply that she had interpreted it as if I was criticizing her.
If I hadn’t responded so quickly to the first message, I would have saved myself the time I spent writing a
long answer to an obsolete question. If I hadn’t responded so quickly to the second message, I might not have
alienated the person I had been so eager to help.

–DGJ
Informal Letter
Write an Informal Letter

An informal letter or a personal letter is a letter to a close friend or an acquaintance. Isn’t it wonderful to receive such
a letter from a friend? Better yet, isn’t it wonderful to actually write one?

If you think letter writing is lame or old fashioned, read this article first: Letter writing

Letter writing still has a sentimentality about it that transcends all other forms of communication, and this is probably
why some people stick to it even though they could use other means.

The best way of learning how to write letters, I reckon, is to look at a number of specimens, analyse what has to be
done and perhaps what does not have to be done, don’t you agree?

Of course there are no hard and fast rules about how to write an informal letter and common sense dictates that
someone may use whatever works best for him. However, there is a conventional way of going about it that will make all the
difference if you apply it.

Let’s start off by reviewing a letter I wrote to my sister some four years ago:

Informal Sample Letter #1


Address and date

Some people may think the address is not important in an informal letter and prefer to leave it out. That works well if
the person you are writing to knows your address already or if she has a good memory! However, it is very unlikely that
someone will always remember your address, so it is always a good idea to include it. Remember, this is the address they
have to write to for the letter to reach you. The recipient’s address is on the envelope.

The address and date should be in the right hand corner. If I were writing to a person in another country, I would have
preferred to add the following details:

Hillcrest Secondary School,

P.O Box 60453,

Livingstone,

ZAMBIA

10101

7th February 2004

Since she already lives in Zambia, it is not necessary to include the country and the postcode i.e. 10101. However, if
you are writing to someone outside the country, always include your country and post code.

After you have written the address, leave a line and write the date.

Salutation

The most common salutation in an informal letter is “Dear….”

Note that it is followed by a comma.

Dear Mimi,

However, some go extremely informal and use “Hey!” or “Hi!”

You should use your discretion. Obviously if you are writing to your father, you would not use “Hey!” unless of course
you are extremely close.

Body

Here are a few things you should take note of:

Paragraphs:

Since informal letters are usually written by hand, the paragraphs are usually indented. However, with more people
using their computers to do most of their writing(and I have a bad feeling most people will forget how to write with their hands),
it is becoming a common practice to write paragraphs without indentations—like the way this one is written. This, apparently,
is the modern way of writing paragraphs.

Use informal language

The first paragraph generally expresses a greeting, followed by wishes of good health. Remember you are writing to
someone you know very well, so try to be as friendly as possible:

How are you my dear sister?

However, always use your discretion. Try not to go overboard. Some people become bold and daring in
letters and write things that they would otherwise not say to the person face to face. Obviously if you are writing to an adult
that you respect, like your dad, try not to write things like:
“What’s up dude!” or “What’s going down?”

Try to picture the person you are writing to standing in front of you. Imagine the things that you would say to him and
write them down. This will help you not to go overboard.

Also avoid boring sentences like…

“I am writing this letter to….”

…unless you are writing to a stranger. Even so, try to be as amiable as possible:

I have heard so much about you and would be head over heels with joy if you could agree to be my pen pal

Try to be as conversational as possible. You are allowed to use colloquial language – i.e. language that is appropriate
for speech but not really for writing:

My journey back here was fine, though it was quite a long one. I wanted to travel by CR bus but guess what; all the
wretched buses were full! So I had no choice but to travel by a small Rosa bus. The journey took seven hours. By the time we
reached, my legs were tried and my bottom was severely sore, ugh! Next time, I promise, I’m not gonna use one of ‘em tiny
buses!

However informal you get, you should not forget to pay attention to…

Punctuation and spelling

I have come across a good number of letters that abound with spelling mistakes and awful punctuation. Such
mistakes tend to distract the reader, so don’t neglect them even though you know your friend will understand.

The quality of your letter also speaks volumes about the kind of person you are so all the more reason to be careful!

If you use contractions, make sure that you put the apostrophe in the right places. For example:

Isn’t and not is’nt

won’t and not wont

mustn’t and not must’nt

The contraction it’s is especially one that you must watch out for. It is the short form of it is or it has. But if you want to
use it to indicate possession, you should use its and not it’s. Check out this example:

The dog lost its collar.

Remember also to use capitals for the right things i.e. the names of people, places, holidays, etc should all start with a
capital letter.

Bottom line? Don’t throw away your grammar book!

Use consistence voice and style

Use the active voice if you want your letter to sound more conversational and interesting. Avoid shifts in the voice.
Check out this article on the advantage of using the active voice: Use active Voice

One common error is inconsistency in the tense. For example read the following sentence:

I was going to town yesterday when a dog bite me and I ran all the way to the hospital.

Here is a sentence with starts in the past tense and then right in the middle, the tense changes to present and then
finally reverts to past. Even if your friend is very understanding, this is still distracting.

Ask questions
It is always a good idea to ask questions in the body of the letter that you would like the person to answer in their
reply. Questions work as a good base on which to write a letter, and they give the recipient motivation to reply:

How are those wonderful brothers of mine?

Did I tell you that I am librarian too, eh?

Complimentary close

This is where you sign off, i.e. say toodle- oo:

Take care,

Michael

In informal letter writing, the complimentary close is always very friendly:

Love,

Lots of love,

Best wishes,

Missing you lots,

Yours forever, etcetera…

Remember, a comma always follows the complimentary close.

Post Script

Use P.S. to add a short message after the complimentary close. Use it especially to write down something that you
may have forgotten in the body of the letter.

Ah, I am certain that these tidbits will help you write a great informal letter!

Oh, what was that you are asking? How do I properly write the recipient’s address on the envelope?

No problem, I have that covered. check the example below:

N.B:You may choose to leave out the commas after each line in the address.
Here are some more sample informal letters:

The first is a letter from George to his girlfriend Lisa, whereas the second is her reply:

Informal Sample letter # 2

I would love you to take note of the following in these informal letter sample:

In the first paragraph, George offers greetings, as well as a comment on his past and previous state of health.

George takes care to mention the things of lesser important first. Obviously, the informal letter is not about Trevor, so
he deals with this first. I like the way he skilfully shifts the attention from Trevor to his girl friend in the closing sentence of
paragraph two:

...What I did tell him was that your radiant smile is lighting up the entrance of the MTN offices.

In my own opinion, it is a good idea to mention the by-the-way and less essential things first, and then concentrate on
the important things in the body.

The content of your letter should be tailored in such a way that it elicits a response on its own. In short, it should be
substantial enough to prod the reader to respond (It is weak and totally uncool to beg for a reply).

A teasing statement like:

I am sure that the very idea of marrying a jobless and destitute man repels you enormously!
is bound to elicit a response, especially a defensive one. Learn to write in a manner that will compel the reader to reply. I am
sure we are past the 'Pliz reply' postscript!

It is true that most people remember most what they read last, so in your concluding paragraph, mention something
substantial. George uses the last paragraph to emphasise the closeness of their bond:

Take care dear! Remember, I am here—right here, in your heart.

Note the extra-friendly complimentary close. The complimentary close often saves to indicate how close you are to
the person you are writing to; the more affectionate, the closer the friendship.

Yours forever,

George

Here was Lisa's reply:


Informal letter sample # 3

Take note of the following:

Lisa does not find it necessary to write out the complete date. In fact, since George knows her so well, she might choose to leave out the
address altogether.

Notice the extra affectionate salutation:

Dearest George

Be wary about using abbreviations.If you are to use them, make sure that you write them out in full in parenthesis if your reader will
not know what they mean. In our example, Lisa uses the abbreviation TLC and does not write it in full because she is certain that George
knows what it means.

Note too the very affectionate complementary close:

Lots of love,

Lisa

I will be putting more sample informal letters in future to help you get better and better, so just stick around!

If you are not content with the information I have put here on writing an informal letter, or if you think there is something I could do
better, please put forward your complaints or suggestions. The beauty of writing-lovers.com is that I am more than willing to tailor everything
to your tastes!
Formal Letter
Formal Letter Writing

How to Write Formal Letters

Help with formal and business letter writing. A summary of writing rules including outlines for cover letters and
letters of enquiry, and abbreviations used in letters.

Layout of a Formal Letter

The example letter below shows you a general layout for a formal letter.

http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/letter-writing.php

Rules for Writing Formal Letters in English

In English there are a number of conventions that should be used when writing a formal or business letter.
Furthermore, you try to write as simply and as clearly as possible, and not to make the letter longer than
necessary. Remember not to use informal language like contractions.

Addresses:

1) Your Address

The return address should be written in the top right-hand corner of the letter.

2) The Address of the person you are writing to

The inside address should be written on the left, starting below your address.

Date:

Different people put the date on different sides of the page. You can write this on the right or the left on the
line after the address you are writing to. Write the month as a word.
Salutation or greeting:

1) Dear Sir or Madam,

If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, use this. It is always advisable to try to find out a
name.

2) Dear Mr Jenkins,

If you know the name, use the title (Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms, Dr, etc.) and the surname only. If you are writing to a
woman and do not know if she uses Mrs or Miss, you can use Ms, which is for married and single women.

Ending a letter:

1) Yours faithfully

If you do not know the name of the person, end the letter this way.

2) Yours sincerely

If you know the name of the person, end the letter this way.

3) Your signature

Sign your name, then print it underneath the signature. If you think the person you are writing to might not know
whether you are male of female, put you title in brackets after your name.

Content of a Formal Letter

First paragraph

The first paragraph should be short and state the purpose of the letter- to make an enquiry, complain,
request something, etc.

The paragraph or paragraphs in the middle of the letter should contain the relevant information behind the
writing of the letter. Most letters in English are not very long, so keep the information to the essentials and
concentrate on organising it in a clear and logical manner rather than expanding too much.

Last Paragraph

The last paragraph of a formal letter should state what action you expect the recipient to take- to refund,
send you information, etc.

Abbreviations Used in Letter Writing

The following abbreviations are widely used in letters:

asap = as soon as possible

cc = carbon copy (when you send a copy of a letter to more than one person, you use this abbreviation to let them know)

enc. = enclosure (when you include other papers with your letter)

pp = per procurationem (A Latin phrase meaning that you are signing the letter on somebody else's behalf; if they are not there to sign it
themselves, etc)

ps = postscript (when you want to add something after you've finished and signed it)

pto (informal) = please turn over (to make sure that the other person knows the letter continues on the other side of the page)
RSVP = please reply

Outline: A Covering Letter

A covering letter is the one that accompanies your CV when you are applying for a job. Here is a fairly
conventional plan for the layout of the paragraphs.

Opening Paragraph

Briefly identify yourself and the position you are applying for. Add how you found out about the vacancy.

Paragraph 2

Give the reasons why you are interested in working for the company and why you wish to be considered for
that particular post. State your relevant qualifications and experience, as well as your personal qualities that make
you a suitable candidate.

Paragraph 3

Inform them that you have enclosed your current CV and add any further information that you think could
help your case.

Closing Paragraph

Give your availability for interview, thank them for their consideration, restate your interest and close the
letter.

Outline: A Letter of Enquiry

A letter of enquiry is when you are approaching a company speculatively, that is you are making an
approach without their having advertised or announced a vacancy.

Opening Paragraph

Introduce yourself briefly and give your reason for writing. Let them know of the kind of position you are
seeking, why you are interested and how you heard about them.

Paragraph 2

Show why their company in particular interests you, mention your qualifications and experience along with
any further details that might make them interested in seeing you.

Paragraph 3

Refer to your enclosed CV and draw their attention to any particularly important points you would like them
to focus on in it.

Closing Paragraph

Thank them, explain your availability for interview and restate your enthusiasm for their company and
desire to be considered for posts that might as yet be unavailable.
Argumentative Essay
Introduction

How to Write an Argumentative Essay in 9 Easy Steps

It goes by many names — the research project, the persuasive essay, the term paper — but all mean the same
thing: you’re writing an argument. Before you wrench in agony, know that a smart approach and planning phase
(like the one you’re in right now) can make the process of writing an argument approachable, even enjoyable. The
following 9 steps will help guide you through the writing process.

1) Choose your topic—carefully. Check your ideas against the following three criteria before finalizing your topic:

Your topic must be arguable. The phrase “everything’s an argument” is not quite true—most things are, but not
everything. Take the common high school editorial topic of “cliques are bad”: it’s a common opinion, sure, but who
really disagrees? Your topic needs to be debatable; there has to be a clear opposing argument that others
support. Ask yourself: who would oppose me? Why?

Your topic must be contemporary and relevant. Arguments do not exist in a vacuum; they arise because people of
varied beliefs interact with one another every day (or just bump heads). Your essay, even if it is about the past,
should connect to values and ideas of the present. Look to current events or issues for inspiration—what’s going
on in the world that’s inspiring discussion and/or disagreement? Ask yourself: does my topic matter to people right
now? Why?

Your topic must have value to you. Given the hours you’ll need to invest in the paper, your topic needs to be more
than “interesting”; it has to be knowledge you want to pursue for your own personal benefit, not just a grade.
However fascinating cloning may be, for example, if you’re not interested in science or ethics—two fundamental
sub-issues of the cloning debate—your essay will be a chore to write. Choose a topic you care about and are
invested in. You’ll write better and research deeper because of your personal investment.

2) Narrow and focus your topic. Many popular topics, such as abortion or euthanasia, are too broad for even
100- to 200-page books, let alone your 3- to 5-page essay. Focus on a specific aspect of your topic: a specific
method (e.g., a late-term abortion procedure), a specific policy (e.g., No Child Left Behind), or a specific
perspective (e.g., evangelical Christians and the environment). Doing so not only makes your topic (and life)
manageable, it should help you develop very specific search terms when you go to gather evidence.

3) Analyze your audience. Review your assignment sheet to check whether you’ve been assigned a specific
audience to address in your response. If no audience is assigned, you can assume your audience is your teacher,
a knowledgeable and experienced reader in the subject area. But don’t skip this step just yet. Your understanding
of your audience—yes, even your teacher—is integral in determining the development and organization of your
argument, as well as the stylistic techniques you can utilize in your writing. For example, if you are writing to your
instructor, consider what he/she expects from students on such an assignment—a formal tone, large amounts of
evidence integrated into the paper, analysis of these ideas, right? On the other hand, if you’re writing for an
audience of peers, you’ll want to lean heavily on your connection with them: use personal pronouns (“I” or “we”),
express sympathy or understanding for their feelings, and address shared concerns.

4) Research wisely. Google is quick and easy; everybody uses it. So does your professor, who is rather justified
in his/her skepticism of website credibility—lots of the readily accessible data via Google is inaccurate and risky.
Make sure your online sources are from established educational/professional sites (like eNotes).

Also use your library’s subject-specific databases to find professional journals covering your topic. With a narrow
and focused topic, searching should be a breeze. And use the “snowball” research technique: once you find a
helpful source, look at its references/bibliography to get new leads on evidence for your paper. Wash. Rinse.
Repeat.

5) Utilize a variety of evidence types. Statistics can be sexy, but they can’t do all the work for you. In addition to
quantitative research, utilize expert opinions—in the form of quotations or paraphrases—and historical examples
to provide varied and insightful support. And don’t be afraid to examine a sometimes overlooked source: you.
Include your own personal experience or observations if they help illuminate the topic for your audience.

6) Express your judgment, not your opinion. In middle school they call it "persuasion"; in college they call it
"argumentation"—so what’s the difference? Expectation. Your instructor is less interested in what side you take
than in how you take that side, how you analyze the issue and organize your response. Forget about whether
you’re right and someone else is wrong; writing a good paper is not a competition. Instead, focus on your “line of
argument”—how you develop your paper by meeting your audience’s needs, integrating solid evidence, and
demonstrating a solid understanding of the topic. Steps 7 and 8 will help you get there.

7) Dig deeper. A meaningful topic will tap into underlying values and issues of modern society. Look for the
themes or big ideas of your issue. For example, consider whether or not cities should limit or ban national chain
stores from expanding in their respective communities. On one hand, yes, a paper might address the positives and
negatives of Wal-Mart or Subway. Yet an excellent argument will also discuss the bigger conflicts at play:
convenience vs. community identity, job creation vs. environmental damage. Seeing the “big picture” adds depth to
your argument.

8) Complexify your argument. There are several rhetorical “moves” or patterns writers can utilize to enhance
their argument and demonstrate critical thinking about their topic. Here are short summaries of six of them:

Cause and effect: discuss what has led to your topic becoming an issue and why the issue is affecting people.

Qualification: “qualification” here means to limit your position to specific contexts or situations, a “yes, but…”
perspective. Qualifying not only can demonstrate that you understand the complexity of an issue but can show you
have a unique perspective on it.

Examination of the opposing argument: know thy enemy. Analyzing other perspectives on your topic has three key
advantages: you demonstrate a broad understanding of the issue; you can strengthen your position by comparing
it to others; and you’ve given yourself plenty more to write about.

Concede a little, as necessary: it’s perfectly okay to admit your position is not perfect; in fact, breaking down what
works and what doesn’t about your topic can enhance your analysis. Anticipating and alleviating your reader’s
concerns can be incredibly persuasive.

Propose a solution: a logical and feasible solution to your issue provides authority and credibility, and it can make
for a strong conclusion.

Examine the implications: what effect will this issue have on individuals and/or the world? Discussing what lies
ahead for your topic also makes for a strong approach to a conclusion.

Note: there is no “correct” strategy about how to integrate these techniques into your writing, nor is there a desired
amount or limit to how many can be used. Use your best judgment.

9) Revise, revise, revise. Talk is cheap — and so are papers littered with clichés, illogical arguments, and
grammar mistakes. Find a peer who disagrees with your position and have him/her read your paper. Discuss your
ideas, your approaches, and your writing style with this naysayer; take the feedback and advice seriously. Read
your paper out loud to yourself during later revisions. Be sure to check if you’ve cited your sources correctly. Edit
for grammar and spelling only after you are comfortable with what you’ve you written and how you’ve written it.

Fashion and Identity Essay


“…Fashion is more powerful than any tyrant”

Malcolm Barnard

1. Introduction

For hundreds of years people have put some message in the type of clothing they wore. Long ago people started wanting to
stand out from the “crowd” and be different from other people by means of changing their clothing. Some examples of these
“standing out” became very popular and were followed by more people. This was the moment when fashion appeared.
Nowadays, fashion is sometimes defined as a “constantly changing trend, favored for frivolous rather than practical, logical, or
intellectual reasons”. Nevertheless, it is necessary to say that at the present moment fashion has a deeper influence on the
life of people and possess more than just frivolous reasons for its existence. Clothing has become an integral part of self-
realization of every person. It is no longer just an “external shield” and a frivolous attitude towards it may cause loosing a very
important physical, psychological and social aspect of a person’s life. The harmony attained by the combination of the inner
world of a person and his “exterior” makes it very hard to say not even being a professional in this sphere that fashion is just
about looks. Clothing is basically a covering designed to be worn on a person's body. This covering is a need, a necessity that
is dictated by the norms of social conduct. This “necessity” brings a lot of variety into the lives of people and makes their
image more complete. It is not about people serving fashion; it is about fashion being a slave of people.

2. Fashion and identity

The type of clothing completely depends on the person who is wearing it; therefore it becomes a reflection of his perception of
himself, which leads us to the term – personal identity. Lately a lot is being heard about personal identity and its meaning in
the life of every single person on the planet. The choice of clothing and accessories (clothing that is worn or carried, but not
part of a person’s main clothing) is as important as identification through the color of hair, height, skin and gender. Clothing
nowadays is a media of information about the person wearing it [Barnard 21]. It is a cipher; a code that needs a decryption in
order to understand what kind of person is underneath it. The present time offers a great variety of these “ciphers” and
therefore gives people a large number of opportunities to reveal their identity. As every cloth carries a strong message about
its owner, every owner “nests” a certain value in it depending on his temperament, mindset or today’s mood. Therefore, the
clothing of a person is a mean of communication with the outside world. It is the way of telling people about the “state” and the
”status” of it owner [Barnes& Eicher 125].

2.a. Communication through fashion

Communication by its definition is supposed to be bilateral. So if a person carries a strong personal message to the people
outside what is the response from their side? The response is the reaction on the clothes the person it wearing. It can be
acceptance or complete outcast and a misunderstanding. This especially touches extraordinarity in clothing (a very expressive
personal identity) or an obvious lack of taste and vulgarity. Malcolm Barnard in his book “Fashion as communication” makes a
great work by outlining cultural roles, rules, rituals, and responsibilities that are maintained and constructed by fashion
[Barnard 13,34]. Fashion is compared to art. It is like an architector that gives his creation any shape he desires and at the
same time is the reflection of the architector’s belonging to a certain social level, a certain psychological condition and so on.
One of the questions concerning the communication through fashion is whether the message possessed by fashion is the
reflection of the internal or external identity. There are arguments that support each of the sides; therefore it goes without
saying that fashion is a “polyhedral being” that intersects numerous internal and external aspects of any personality. The
message that clothing contains is basically a way of nonverbal communication with gender, ethical and power aspects.

2.b. Impact on outer perception

Clothes have an immense impact on the perception of people around and on the perception of the person wearing them, too.
A suit can make a person feel more confident and organized, which would eventually change even the gestures and the
manner of talking of the person or for instance wearing jeans after a suit may change the conduct of a person to a very liberal
and feeble one [Hollander 58]. The perception of people around can be very predictable in terms of their reaction on a person
wearing this or that style of clothing. Fashion is one of the most powerful means of communication, which sometimes may
play a vital role in the life of a person; it especially concerns the cases of getting a desired job. Therefore fashion may not only
carry a message, it can also create a “pseudo-message” that is required by a situation the person finds himself in. This can be
simply proved by analyzing the reaction of the people on the street on people wearing different types of clothing. The
preference is always given to people dressed in “business style”, personifying their dignity and seriousness in everything. This
is one of the primary reasons that even the smallest companies make wearing a suit one of their requirements for their
employees. The customers feel more confident in such “consultants”. So, fashion is a very keen tool of manipulation while
communicating besides its importance in social class, culture, sex and gender relations of people.

4. Men, women and fashion

Clothing is a fundamental part in the image of a contemporary man or a woman [Crane 47]. The image is constructed for
various reasons and has various manifestations. Dressing has become a way to create, to reveal and to conceal information
from the external observers. Fashion has always been considered to have more of a women based orientation. As soon as
women realized that experimenting with their clothing might bring them the results they need they became the most interested
consumers and the demand on women’s production increased greatly.

4.a. Women and clothing

In spite of all arguments fashion remains possessing an ambivalent entity. Women, have a great impact on the development
of fashion worldwide. Of course one of the primary messages clothes carry is the social message. Women throughout the
time have tried to make the clothing look more luxurious. Historically the social message has wildly transformed. It is very
easily trace in Diana Crane’s book “Fashion and it social agendas”. Nowadays clothing is not an attribute of belonging to a
clan, or to a restrained social level though it still can tell a lot about the financial status of a person. A person, especially a
women is always greeted according to the way is dressed up. Therefore women may cause desirable reaction by knowing the
expectations of the “opponent”. Historically, women wore traditional dresses, which signified their cultural and social status
[Guy& Green 76]. As for now, traditional clothing has been completely subdued by “fashionable clothing”. Women clothing in
the past had a lot to do with emphasizing femininity, neglecting man-like forms of dressing. Analyzing the way of dressing
today it is necessary to say that ”fashionable clothing” has made a great “kick” to femininity. Women become less ladylike but
more aggressive and businesslike. A woman is opposed to a man; it is no longer an “addenda” to a male, but a force able to
contradict him and to compete with him. Women have accepted a lot of clothing styles that propagandize masculinity. Of
course there still are women that are the embodiments of tenderness and femininity preserving women’s sexuality but
nevertheless the general tendency of feminization in today’s society has done its work. Equality at work, business and politics
has transformed the image of a woman greatly.

4.b. Men and fashion.

Throughout the history starting with the middle ages men’s fashion has changed a lot. If the era of Renaissance was
characterized by increased femininity in men’s clothes, the end of the twentieth century became the moment of maximal
revealing of masculinity for men. Nowadays, identity has brought a lot of specific changes in the perception of a contemporary
man. An open manifestation of sexual orientation has brought the image of a feminine man into fashion. The adaptation of
feminine tendencies into men’s fashion is transparent. Men tend to choose practical clothes as casual clothing and suits as
their “working uniform”[Hollander 43]. The whole image of a man is not brusque and rough anymore. It has become more
flexible and soft. The construction of a man’s wardrobe starts with choosing from the variety of images offered by culture and
class today. The gender boundary is gradually “wiped” off. Nevertheless, clothing remains the primary criterion of the
evaluation of the opposite sex. While being very liberate towards the type of clothing of other men, they demonstrate especial
criticism towards women’s clothing. This happens due to the variety and abundance of women around. Analyzing men’s
fashion is like dealing with a complexity. This complexity is constantly changing and adjusting to the surrounding of
tendencies.

4. Symbolism of clothing

It is no surprise to any of the people who at least know what fashion is that the clothes that people wear are usually very
symbolic. The symbolism of clothing is another part of delivering the message that a person tries to put into it. The symbolism
may touch any sphere. For instance: music, sexual orientation, some kind of club and so on [Barnard 62]. Originally, a symbol
is a facility that is used to express feelings or belonging to some group of class often dealing with power and wealth. Every
observable symbol may carry a deeper meaning than it is visually understandable. Expression of symbols through clothing is
a very popular tendency nowadays. Symbolism in clothing may point to the profession the person is dedicated to, supporting
the “cipher” theory. The perception of symbols is not the same as the perception of the whole clothing image of an individual,
because people may interpret the same symbol differently and therefore the understanding of the carrier of the symbol will be
completely different. For instance, a man with a tiger on this T-shit may seem aggressive to one person and a Green Peace
member for another one. A bird may be a symbol of freedom and somebody can view it a symbol of light-mindedness. Every
person has to be very careful with the symbol while visiting a foreign country, due to the double meaning of the symbols that
may be offending to the culture the person is in. Though the goal of every symbol is to share information, nevertheless some
symbols may be inappropriate. Particular articles of clothing also contain messages with give information about the person
possessing them. For example a veil interpreted as mourning or an extreme aloofness. A walking stick may be necessary to
the health condition but may also be a “sign of luxury”.

5. Culture and fashion

As every person belongs to a definite culture and has the right to reveal it, personal identity may sometimes be replaced by
cultural identity. Cultural identity is the type of identity that is related to a certain culture or a separate group. It brings people
belonging to a culture definite highlighting differences with other people. Clothing in terms of culture is to reveal either the
historical roots of a person or the roots the group he belongs to. The oriental-followers are easily defined from the crowd by
the specific collars and style of dressing they hold on to. Demonstrating a belonging to a certain cultural community is the free
right of every person like people that freely declare who they are going to vote for. Talking about culture it is possible to
mention that nowadays exists ”material culture” that dictates its own ways and code of dressing [Crane 51]. The liberation of
culture off the borders made the cultural fashion developments increase dramatically. The “freedom of word” has found a
place in every single cultural attribute nowadays. Wearing a cowboy hat may not be a sign of being from Texas, but a sign of
political preference.

For instance it is very easy to distinguish a European from a Hindu by the style of dressing or an Indian woman from an
oriental woman by the distinctive spot on the forehead of an Indian woman and a veil worn by Moslem woman. Fashion has
taken the best part of the traditional costumes of every culture and sometimes this leads to propagandizing a definite cultural
group. For instance, the brightest example is the increasing interest towards the Moslems and oriental culture nowadays.

6. Conclusion

Fashion and identity are inseparable companions. Fashion with all its symbolism and attributes form an outstanding base for
personal and cultural identification. Identity is a necessary process of a healthy personality as it is a part of self-realization of a
person that is so much required for finding a place in life of every person. Fashion has become a tool for achieving harmony
with the inner world and a way of revealing or concealing peculiarities. Fashion possesses a specific meaning and the more
diverse is the society around us the more fashion-trend will appear and surprise us. As long as it does not hurt people around
fashion symbols are acceptable, nevertheless while thinking about fashion and identity it is necessary to remember the ethical
side of the issue. Fashion and identity through it still remains a twofold issue but there are a lot of positive aspects one can
enjoy and share with other people.
NARRATIVE ESSAY

A narrative presents a connected series of events, either imaginary or based on your own experience, in a
vivid descriptive style. It may be written in the first person (I/we) or third person (he/she, etc.), and often includes
the thoughts, reactions, etc. of the main character(s), describing the action as it would be seen through their eyes.

A good narrative should consist of:

a) an introduction which sets the scene (place, time, character(s), etc.), creates an interesting mood/ atmosphere
to make the reader want to continue reading, and/or begins dramatically to capture the reader’s attention;

b) a main body which develops the series of events clearly, gives vivid description of the people/ places involved,
etc.; and

c) a conclusion which completes the story, perhaps in an unexpected way, and may describe people’s feelings/
reactions, the consequences of what happened, etc.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 Before you start writing, you must first think of a suitable story outline, then you should decide on a detailed
plot, including how the story will begin, who the characters will be, where the story will happen, the events
in the order you will present them, and how the story will end.
 Writing techniques include the use of vivid description of people, places, objects, etc., especially to set the
scene at the beginning of the story; description of feelings and actions, suggesting a certain
mood/atmosphere; the use of direct speech and a variety of adjectives, adverbs, etc. This will make your
writing more interesting.
 Narratives are normally set in the past, and, therefore, use a variety of past tenses. For example, Past
Continuous is often used to set the scene (e.g. The wind was howling…); Past Simple is used for the main
events (e.g. He entered the room, looked around, and…); Past Perfect is used to describe an event before
the main event(s) (e.g. She had set out in the morning, full of hope, but now she felt…).
 The sequence of events is important; therefore, you must use time words such as: before, after, then, in
the beginning, later, in the end, until, while, during, finally, etc.

SET THE SCENE

 The beginning of a narrative story should usually give the reader a clear picture of what is happening, and
may include descriptions of:
- setting: place, time (time of day/year, historical period), weather, etc.;
- people: name, appearance, feelings, etc. of the character(s) involved.
 Vivid description is important when beginning stories. To describe the setting, you may use details
involving the senses to suggest a particular atmosphere (e.g. lapping waves, soft sand = peaceful scene).
When describing people/actions, you may use vivid description of emotions, mannerisms, etc. to suggest a
particular mood (e.g. “Stunned, she sat down shakily and buried her face in her hands.” = shock, grief).
 A dramatic beginning to a narrative helps to capture the reader’s attention and makes them want to
continue reading. Sudden or exciting action, description of strong emotions, the use of direct speech and a
variety of adjectives, adverbs and verbs may all be used to make the beginning more dramatic.
 You may create an atmosphere of mystery and/or suspense by describing a strange character, a
dangerous situation, etc.
TECHNIQUES FOR BEGINNING OR ENDING STORIES

 A good beginning is as important as a good ending. A good beginning should make your reader want to go
on with your story. A good ending will make your reader feel satisfied.
 You can start your story by:
a) describing the weather, place, people, etc., using the senses;

b) using direct speech;

c) asking a rhetorical question;

d) creating mystery or suspense;

e) referring to feelings or moods;

f) addressing the reader directly.

 You can end your story by:


a) using direct speech;

b) referring to feelings or moods;

c) describing people’s reactions to the events developed in the main body;


d) creating mystery or suspense;

e) asking a rhetorical question.

FLASHBACK NARRATION

Narrative sequence does not always follow the chronological sequence of events. You may choose to
begin with a particular (usually dramatic) event, and then use flashback narration to describe the events up to this
point (usually in the Past Perfect), before continuing with the rest of the story.

Some narrative writing tasks tell you to begin your story with a given sentence which often suggests clearly
that another important event has already taken place; in such cases, you must use flashback narration.
A NARRATIVE ESSAY

The Stranger on the Bridge

The big Town Hall clock was striking midnight when Frank began to cross the bridge. The night air was
cold and damped. A low mist hung over the river and the street-lamps gave little light.

Frank was anxious to get home and his footsteps rang loudly on the pavement. When he reached the
middle of the bridge, he thought he could hear someone approaching behind him. He looked back, but could see
no one. However, the sound continued and Frank began walking more quickly. Then, he slowed down again,
ashamed of himself for acting so foolishly. There was nothing to fear in a town as quiet as this.

The short, quick steps grew louder until they seemed very near. Frank found it impossible not to turn round.
As he did so, he caught sight of a figure coming towards him.

After reaching the other side of the bridge, Frank stopped and pretended to look down at the water. From
the corner of his eye, he could now make out the form of a man dressed in a large overcoat. A hat was pulled
down over his eyes and very little of his face could be seen.

As the man came nearer, Frank turned towards him and said something about the weather in an effort to
be friendly. The man did not answer, but asked gruffly where Oakfield House was. Frank pointed to a big house in
the distance and the stranger continued his way.

The inquiry made Frank suspicious, because he knew that the inhabitants of Oakfield House were very
wealthy. Almost without realising what he was doing, he began following the stranger quietly. The man was soon
outside the house and Frank saw him look up at the windows. A light was still on and the man waited until it went
out. When about half an hour had passed, Frank saw him climb noiselessly over the wall and heard him drop on
the ground at the other side.

Now Frank’s worst suspicions were confirmed. He walked quickly and silently across the street towards a
telephone-box on the corner.
DESCRIPTION ESSAY

A) DESCRIBING PEOPLE

A composition describing a person should consist of:

a) an introduction giving brief information about who the person is, where/how you met him/her, how you
heard about him/her, etc.;

b) a main body which may include description of such things as physical appearance ,
personality/behaviour, manner/mannerisms and/or details of the person’s life and lifestyle, (hobbies, interests,
everyday activities, etc.) and

c) a conclusion in which you comment on why the person is of interest, express your feelings/ opinions
concerning the person, etc.

 In a descriptive composition of a person, you may also be asked to explain why this person is successful/
admirable/ unusual, etc., why he/ she made such a strong impression on you, how he/she has influenced
you, etc.
 Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence which summarises the paragraph. The content of the
paragraph depends on the topic itself and where the emphasis is placed.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 To describe physical appearance, you should give details of the person’s height/ build, age, facial features,
hair, clothing, etc. moving from the most general aspects to the most specific details. e.g. Bill, who is in his
early twenties, is quite tall and well-built, with thick black hair and piercing blue eyes. He is usually dressed
in jeans and a T-shirt.
 To describe personality and behaviour, you can support your description with examples of manner and
mannerism: e.g. Mark is rather unsociable, usually sitting silently in a corner observing others from a
distance.
 To describe life, lifestyle and beliefs, you should talk about the person’s habits, interests, profession, daily
routine, opinions, etc. e.g. Being both a university student and a part-time assistant in a supermarket, Janet
has little free time to go out in the evenings.
 If the instructions for the writing task ask you to describe someone related to the present, e.g. “Describe a
person who is unusual…”, you will describe the person using Present tenses. If you are asked to describe
somebody related to the past, somebody who is no longer alive, or somebody whom you met some time
ago… e.g.”Describe a famous person you met who was not as you expected…”, you will describe the
person using Past tenses.
 The use of descriptive vocabulary, e.g. stunning, slender, etc. and a variety of linking words and structures
will make your writing more interesting.

B) DESCRIBING PLACES/ BUILDINGS

A composition describing a place/ building should consist of:

a) an introduction giving brief information about the name and location of the place/ building and stating the
reason for choosing to write about it (e.g. What it is famous for, what makes it so special, etc.);

b) a main body giving both general and specific details about the place/ building usually moving from the
general features to specific ones. i) when you describe a place you should give the overall impression by referring
to landscape, buildings, landmarks, etc., and particular details (sights to see, places to go, things to do); ii) when
you describe a building you should write about its surroundings (e.g. situated in Oxford Street…), then give a
detailed description of its exterior and interior; and,

c) a conclusion in which you express your feelings or opinions concerning the subject or give a
recommendation.

 You may also be asked to explain why a particular place is important to you, popular, etc. Note that the
number and length of paragraphs varies depending on the topic.
 Descriptions of places/ buildings may be included in several other types of writing tasks, such as stories,
assessment reports, articles, brochures, letters and magazine articles.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 Descriptions of places/ buildings may include: factual information such as age, size, colour, materials, etc.
(e.g. The temple, with 10-metre tall marble columns, was built in 800 B.C.), details relating to the senses
(sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste) to suggest mood and atmosphere (e.g. Visitors’ footsteps on the worn
stone floors echo through the cool, dark corridors, disturbing the tranquil silence.), opinions/ impressions of
the place/ building (e.g. Tourists are fascinated by its air of mystery.)
 Each aspect of the description should be presented in a separate paragraph beginning with a clear topic
sentence.
 The use of descriptive vocabulary (e.g. exquisite, exclusive, towering, etc.), a variety of linking words and
structures sa well as narrative techniques will make your writing more interesting.
 Present tenses are normally used when describing a place for a tourist brochure or a magazine article.
Past tenses are normally used when describing a visit to a place/ building. First and second conditionals
(will/would) can be used when you describe your ideal city/ house, etc. Note that when we give factual
information about a place or building, this is normally given using Present tenses. (e.g. I flew to Madrid last
Monday. Madrid is situated in the central point of the Iberian peninsula with a population of about
3,000,000.)

CHARACTERISTICS OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL STYLE

Descriptions of places can be written in a formal or informal style depending on whom they are addressed
to and how the writer wants to present the description. For example, a description of a place you visited in a letter
to a friend of yours would be informal, whereas a description of a place issued by the Tourist Authority in order to
promote the place would be written in a formal style.

FORMAL STYLE is characterised by an impersonal non-emotional way of expressing your ideas, frequent
use of the passive, non-colloquial English and complex sentences. Short forms are acceptable only in quotes.

INFORMAL STYLE is characterised by a personal, emotional and chatty way of expressing your ideas and
use of colloquial English (idiomatic expressions), idioms and short forms.

Compare the examples:

-FORMAL – “The cottage, once inhabited by a famous poet, was built atop a steep, rocky hillside
overlooking an idyllic landscape of lush fields divided by ancient dry stone walls.”

- INFORMAL – “My dad’s cottage is out of this world as it’s right on the top of a hill and looks down on
gorgeous green fields which are split up by old dry stone walls.”
C) DESCRIBING OBJECTS

When you describe objects, you should give accurate information concerning the size and weight (e.g. big,
small, heavy, light, etc.), shape (e.g. triangular, oval, square, etc.), pattern and decoration (e.g. tartan, striped,
etc.), colour (e.g. red, green, etc.), origin (e.g. Chinese, Hungarian) and material (e.g. woolen, silk, wooden, etc.).
You should not use all of these adjectives one after the other because this will make your description sound
unnatural. You can give necessary information in separate sentences. (e.g. It is a large brown suitcase. Its hard
leather is worn and scratched.)

Descriptions of objects can be found in catalogues, advertisements, leaflets or as part of letters, reports,
articles or stories.

D) DESCRIBING FESTIVALS/ EVENTS/ CEREMONIES

A composition about an event should consist of:

a) an introduction in which you mention the name/ type, time/ date, place and reason for celebrating the
event;

b) a main body in which you describe the preparations for the event and the event itself; and,

c) a conclusion in which you describe people’s feelings or comments on the event. Such pieces of writing can be
found in magazines, newspapers or travel brochures, or as part of a letter, story, etc.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 When you describe annual events (e.g. a celebration/ festival which takes place every year), present
tenses are used and the style is formal. However, when giving a personal account of an event which you
witnessed or took part in, past tenses are used and the style may be less formal. The passive is frequently
used to describe preparations/ activities which take place. (e.g. Pumpkins are carved and placed in
windows and costumes are designed.)
 To make the description more vivid and interesting, narrative techniques and a variety of descriptive
vocabulary can be used to set the scene and describe the atmosphere. (e.g. Bright lights sparkled over the
water as the fireworks spread like huge, colourful flowers and the onlookers who crowded the harbour
gasped in wonder and admiration.)

INTERPRETING THE TOPIC

The number of paragraphs depends on whether the composition task asks for only a description of events
or also asks you to explain its significance or how important it is. Compare the topics below:

- “Describe a typical wedding in your country” - This topic asks only for a description of an event. The style
is impersonal. Present tenses should normally be used.

and

-“Describe a wedding you attended and explain why it made an impression on you.” - This topic asks for a
description of an event in narrative form, together with reasons why you enjoyed the event. The style is rather
informal. Past tenses should be used.
A DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY

A Walk on Sunday Morning

Though I usually go on excursions to the country during the weekend, I had decided to spend the whole of
Sunday in the city, for a change, and to visit the central square and public gardens. It was so early when I left
home, that the streets were deserted. Without the usual crowds and traffic, everything was strangely quiet.

When, at last, I arrived at the square, I was surprised to find so many people there. Some were feeding
pigeons and others were sitting peacefully at the foot of a tall statue. I went and sat with them, so as to get a better
view. What amused me most was a little boy who was trying to make pigeons fly up to his shoulder. He was
holding some bird-seed in his hand and, whenever a pigeon landed on his arm, he laughed so much that he
frightened the bird away.

Some time later, I made my way to the public gardens. Here, there was an entirely different atmosphere.
The sun was now bright and warm and the air was filled with gay laughter.

The pond interested me more than anything else, for many people had come to sail model boats. There
were little yachts with bright red sails, motor boats and wonderful sailing ships. They moved gracefully across the
water, carried by the wind, while their owners waited for them to reach the other side.

After resting for a time under a tree, I went and joined a number of people who had gathered round a man
with a big model of a famous sailing ship called “The Cutty Sark”. It was perfectly made and I gazed at it with
admiration as its owner placed it in the water where it sailed majestically among the ducks and the swans.

At midday, I left the gardens and slowly began walking home. I was not at all sorry that I had not gone to
the country for the weekend. There had been much more to see in the city on a Sunday morning than I could ever
have imagined.
OPINION ESSAY
An opinion essay is a type of discursive essay, which presents the writer’s personal opinion concerning the
topic, clearly stated and supported by reasons and/or examples. The opposing viewpoint and reason should be
included in a separate paragraph before the closing one, together with an argument that shows it is an
unconvincing viewpoint. The writer’s opinion should be included in the introduction, and summarised/ restated in
the conclusion.

An opinion essay is a formal piece of writing. It requires your opinion on a topic, which must be stated
clearly, giving various viewpoints on the topic supported by reasons and/or examples. You should also include the
opposing viewpoint in another paragraph.

A successful opinion essay should have:

a) an introductory paragraph in which you state the topic and your opinion;

b) a main body which consists of several paragraphs, each presenting a separate viewpoint supported by
reasons. You also include a paragraph presenting the opposing viewpoint and reason why you think it is an
unconvincing viewpoint; and

c) a conclusion in which you restate your opinion using different words.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 Decide whether you agree or disagree with the subject of the topic, then make a list of your viewpoints and
reasons.
 Write well-developed paragraphs, joining the sentences with appropriate linking words and phrases. Do not
forget to start each paragraph with a topic sentence which summarises what the paragraph is about.
 Linking words and phrases should also be used to join one paragraph with the other.
 In the first paragraph, you should state the topic and/or your opinion, and you may include one or more of
the following techniques:

- Make reference to an unusual or striking idea/ scene/ situation (e.g. Imagine millions of people
coming home from school or work every day to sit staring at a wall for hours.)

- Address the reader directly (e.g. You may think this is an exaggeration.)
and/ or ask a rhetorical question (e.g. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without
cars?)

- Start with a quotation or thought-provoking statement (e.g. “Television is an invention that permits
you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” David Frost)
 In the last paragraph, you should state your opinion and/ or give a balanced consideration of the topic, and
you may include one or more of the following techniques:
- Finish with a quotation;
- Ask a rhetorical question;
- Give the reader something to consider (e.g.Perhaps then people will rediscover what it is like to actually
communicate with each other.)
USEFUL EXPRESSIONS FOR GIVING OPINIONS

 To my mind/ To my way of thinking…


 It is my (firm) belief/ opinion/ view/ conviction (that)…
 In my opinion/ view…
 I (firmly) believe…
 I am (not) convinced that…
 I (do not) agree that/ with…
 It strikes me that…
 My opinion is that…
 I (definitely) feel/ think that…
 I am inclined to believe that…
 It seems/ appears to me…
 As far as I am concerned…
AN OPINION ESSAY

“Although the position of women in society today has improved, there is still a great deal of sexual discrimination.”

Do you agree with this statement or not?

Throughout this century, the role of women within society has changed, and the majority of people feel that
this change is for the better. More women work than ever before, and it is accepted in Western culture that many
women now have careers. Nonetheless, in my opinion, there is a great deal of sexual discrimination against
women within society, and the belief that sexual equality has been achieved is not altogether accurate.

To begin with, many women find it very difficult to return to work after having children. The main reason for
this is that there are rarely any provisions made for childcare in the workplace and, in these cases, women are
forced to find someone to look after the children while they are at work. Obviously, this can prove to be a time-
consuming and expensive process, yet, it must be done if mothers are able to resume their careers.

Secondly, the traditional views on the position of women within society are so deeply ingrained that they
have not really changed. For instance, not only is the view that women should stay at home and look after their
family still widely held, but it is reinforced through images seen on television programmes and advertisements. An
example of this is that few men are ever seen doing housework on television, since this is traditionally thought of
as “a woman’s job”.

Thirdly, since families often need two incomes in order to enjoy a good standard of living, a woman finds
herself doing two jobs: one at home and one at the office. So, it could be said that a woman’s position has, in fact,
deteriorated rather than improved, with the result that women carry the burdens of equality but get none of the
benefits.

In contrast, there are some people who claim that the problem of sexual discrimination no longer exists.
They point out that women do, after all, have legal rights intending to protect them from discrimination. In addition,
a few women are now beginning to reach top positions as judges, business leaders and politicians, while a number
of other previously all-male professions are opening their ranks to women. Nonetheless, these examples are not
the norm and discrimination is still very much with us.

Taking these points into consideration, I would say that the position of women has improved only slightly.
While rules and laws have changed, it is the deep-rooted opinions of people within society which are taking a
longer time to evolve. Needless to say, until these attitudes have changed, sexual discrimination will remain a
problem which we all need to face and fight against.
REFLECTIVE ESSAY

A reflective essay is an exercise on contemplation on any given subject. It tests your ability to think and
describe, to order your ideas and to draw on your own experience, imagination and general knowledge.

Though reflective essays cannot be easily classified, there are, by and large, two distinct groups: those
which require a great deal of description, as well as reflection, which we may call “descriptive-reflective” and those
in which the emphasis is on reasoning rather than description, which we may call “abstract”.

a) DESCRIPTIVE-REFLECTIVE – These usually take the form of one-word titles. When writing, you should
draw conclusions from what you describe. “Gardening”, for instance, is a title of this sort. Here, you would not only
be expected to describe gardening, but also to express your views on it.

b) ABSTRACT – These, again, may take the form of one-word titles when they refer to abstract qualities
(i.e. “Truth”). Very often, however, the title appears as a phrase beginning with the word “On” (e.g. “On having to
work”). In subjects of this kind, purely descriptive writing is of secondary importance. Your ability to reason rather
than to describe, your own feeling and views about the subject take the first place.

A good reflective essay should consist of:

a) an introduction – this is the most important paragraph in the essay, as it is here that you make clear to
the reader your interpretation of the subject and you make him/her expect certain things;

b) a development – in this part of the essay, you should take up the points that were hinted at in the
introduction. Each main point must be developed fully in a single paragraph, which should begin with a well-
phrased topic sentence. Avoid listing, that is, beginning paragraphs with phrases like “The first thing we must
consider…”, “The second point…” etc. Your essay should be well-constructed, but your plan must not “come
through” your work.

c) a conclusion – this should, in some way, relate to the introduction and round the essay off smoothly. Do
not end abruptly. At the same time, avoid clumsy phrases such as: “To sum up…” or “Thus we see…” etc.

DEVICES

a) Description – You may draw on your experience when dealing with familiar subjects or on your
imagination and general knowledge when dealing with less familiar ones.

b) Illustration – Never make comments without being able to prove them by examples. They are especially
important when dealing with abstract topics.

c) Contrast – This gives variety to your writing and makes what you have to say more interesting. If, in one
paragraph, you have given one view of a subject, it is often wise to deal with a completely opposite view in the
next. Thus, you will surprise your reader and you will enable him to see the subject in a new light.

d) Humour – A light approach is, often, highly suitable in reflective essays. You may poke fun at certain
beliefs and activities in a way that will not only amuse your reader, but also give him an unusual point of view.
Irony, satire and even parody (imitating the style of someone else in such a way as to ridicule it) are frequently the
necessary elements of a light essay. For instance, let us say that you hate gardening. You can convey your dislike
by observing, ironically, that it is enjoyable to do hard work, to get wet and muddy, to plant things that never grow,
etc.
A REFLECTIVE ESSAY -

DESCRIPTIVE- REFLECTIVE

Tourists

By coach, by train, by ship and by plane, millions of tourists annually depart from home like migrating
summer birds. They provide the best possible evidence to prove that the world is not nearly as big as it used to be.
For the modern tourist is no Marco Polo. He ventures forth into the unknown and returns home in a matter of
weeks, not years, Furthermore, he is armed with pamphlets, maps and weighty guide-books which tell him where
to go and how to get there; and where to stay, what to see and what to eat when he arrives. There are travel
agencies everywhere to cater for his needs and make all the necessary preparations for him. They make out
ambitious programmes and promise to whisk him through as many as six countries in fourteen days or, if he is in a
hurry, they will cover much the same ground in eight or less.

The tourist begins planning his campaign in the dismal winter months. Spread out before him on the floor is
a splendid array of brightly-coloured leaflets, all of them equally tempting. Now is the time for big decisions to be
made, for a fortnight’s holiday is not to be squandered lightly. Would he like to ski in the morning and swim in the
afternoon? Would he like to go to a place where the sun shines all the year round ? Would he like to taste the rare
delicacies of a distant seaside restaurant? And, above all, would he like to visit a spot where there are no other
tourists ? It is all there for the asking. Shivering before the fire and armed with paper and pencil, the tourist makes
rapid calculations. It takes him a long time to decide in which particular paradise he should invest his hard-earned
money.

Once he has made up his mind, the tourist is free from worry. He now has something definite to discuss
with his friends at the office. They listen with envy as he talks knowledgeably about a stretch of coastline which is
two thousand miles away. These poor old stay-at-homes wonder how he came to be so well informed and beg him
to send them postcards. In the tourist’s mind there is now a little haven of peace and quiet which he can retire to
when life gets too much for him. The idea that he will visit a place where the inhabitants do not know what an
overcoat is, consoles and comforts him during the bitter winter months.

Winter passes and the time draws near. The simple tourist is often innocent of the fact that most countries
in the world have become tourist-conscious. For months now, each country has been advertising its beaches and
cities, its ruins and resorts, in a frantic endeavour to make ends meet. It does its best to measure up to the tourist’s
preconceived notions of what he will find on arrival. So, it goes out of its way to provide him with ‘typical’ scenes:
that is ‘typical’ peasants in ‘typical’ costumes, and customs that should have fallen into decay long ago, but have
been given a new lease of life to add to local colour. Representatives of the tourist organisation give the traveller a
hearty welcome the moment he arrives, and the vendors of trinkets and souvenirs do a brisk trade.

It is small wonder that the tourist is a busy man. He no sooner sets foot on foreign soil than he is rushed to
his hotel and thence is immediately taken on a conducted tour of the city by night. In the morning, he goes through
another arduous course of sightseeing. He has barely had the chance to recover, or indeed, to find out exactly
where his hotel is located, before he is off again to yet another part of the country. It is not even a bird’s eye view
he gets. Rather, it is a snapshot view. He is given about half an hour on each famous site and has just about
enough time to take photographs which he can sort out when he gets home. In the perpetual race against time, he
is forever sending postcards to his friends depicting wonderful views of places he never knew existed, let alone
saw.

No fortnight in the year passes quite so quickly. Travel-worn, the tourist eventually arrives home proudly
displaying his collection of passport-stamps. Truly rested, he is back to the office on Monday with a year’s work
ahead of him before he will have the opportunity to sally forth again.
A REFLECTIVE ESSAY - ABSTRACT

Tradition

Because the word ‘tradition’ is used loosely, it is frequently misunderstood. It is often associated with
actions and beliefs which do not involve us personally; which persist for no better reason than they are ‘traditional’.
It is regarded as a fixed thing, rigidly hostile to change, to be defended against those who threaten to overthrow it.
Nothing could be more mistaken. Tradition is only made up of our important beliefs, but the great host of trivial
daily habits and customs we acquire in the course of growing up. Nor is it inflexible. New ideas are continually
being adapted to fit the old. The process is slow, but sure. And when old ideas become so outmoded that they no
longer serve their purpose, they are discarded.

The acceptance of new ideas always involves a struggle; people do not easily give up notions they hold
dear. In this way, tradition protects itself, for by providing a testing-ground for the new, it allows only what is of
some value to assert itself.

This is how tradition acts as a safeguard against the easy acceptance of new ideas which seem to be
attractive on the surface. It is never possible for us to decide whether a new scheme will be of lasting value or not.
What seem to be startling new and exciting trends in the arts or in politics or in science after a few years can often
be seen to have amounted to very little. The desire of novelty which is of such importance in women’s fashions or
car design sometimes affects our most important beliefs and institutions. We are often urged by the press and in
books to ‘re-value’ or to ‘re-examine’ long-established views which have taken centuries to form and to replace
them by opinions which have been concocted in a few hours or weeks. How many such ‘revaluations’, one
wonders, will be remembered in a few years’ time?

It is true that sometimes a discovery is made which completely alters our outlook. Ideas which have been
held for centuries can occasionally be swept away over-night. In our own times, for instance, advances in nuclear
physics have totally changed our ‘traditional’ conception of warfare. The very word ‘war’ has now taken on a new
meaning which was unknown as recently as 1944. Dramatic changes of this sort, however, are unusual. The big
social revolution we have witnessed in the twentieth century still has a long way to go before reaching anything like
perfection.

Ideas which are half-accepted by one generation, are often completely accepted by the one that follows.
Innovations are bitterly attacked by those who cannot conceive of a new order and are judged by standards of the
past. This is because people’s sensibilities are confined to what they have always known and believed. What was
new to one generation is easily assimilated by another because sensibility has widened sufficiently to allow a
notion that was once considered radical or extreme to establish itself. A good example of this is the publication of
The Origin of Species in 1859. The prolonged and bitter controversy which Darwin’s work provoked has lingered
down to this day. But, whereas, initially, Darwin’s arguments were hotly disputed, they have since become part of
our cultural heritage. That is to say, they no longer shock our sensibilities. In the same day, modern music, for
instance, does not strike us as discordant because it does not conform with former conceptions of harmony. What
were once new ideas have withstood the test tradition has imposed on them.

Our view of the past is forever changing. Tradition is like a great city which is growing all the time. Old
buildings are demolished and new ones put up. Each new building, however large or small, alters our view of the
shape and size of existing ones. The city we look upon is not the one our ancestors saw; nor is it the one we shall
hand down to our successors.
Two distinct processes are involved in essay writing: ANALYSIS and SYNTHESIS. In the first instance, you
break down the subject (ANALYSIS) and then put it together again (SYNTHESIS) so that it forms a complete
whole. Nothing irrelevant must be included. Your essay should have unity to the extent that, if any single part were
excluded, it would spoil the effect of the whole. Like a painting or a piece of music, an essay is a COMPOSITION.
When complete, it should not be possible to add or subtract anything.

Never forget that the key to good writing is simplicity. Do not write long, involved sentences or use a long
word where a short one will do. It is important to realise that your writing will be simple and clear when, and only
when, you have something definite to say and know what you are talking about.

PARAGRAPH BUILDING

1. Choose a title which interests you;

2. Think carefully about what you are going to say before writing;

3. Always indent the first sentence of the paragraph;

4. Try to make your paragraph interesting from the very first sentence;

5. The first sentence should give the reader some idea of what the paragraph is about;

6. Write short, complete sentences;

7. Keep to the subject;

8. Take great care to connect your sentences so that your work reads smoothly. Words like ‘but’, ‘since’,
‘although’, ‘after’, ‘afterwards’, ‘meanwhile’ etc. will enable you to do this;

9. Save the most interesting part until the end or near the end;

10. Work neatly. Make sure your writing is clear, your spelling and punctuation correct and that there are margins
to the left and right of your work.

11. Abbreviations like ‘don’t’, ‘haven’t’, ‘wouldn’t’ etc. are not normally used in written English. Write out the words
in full: ‘do not’, ‘have not’, ‘would not’ etc.

12. NEVER ON ANY ACCOUNT write your paragraph in your mother-tongue and then attempt to translate it into
English.

13. Avoid using a dictionary. Never use words that are entirely new to you.

14. When you have finished, read your work through and try to correct the potential mistakes you made in
grammar.
REPORTS
Writing reports: why write reports, structure in report writing, how to write a report.

Report writing skills are sought after. Knowing how to write reports is useful. The techniques of writing
reports are simple.

Report writing is in daily use. Writing reports is involved at school and at work. Students have to write
reports. Writing reports is part of a teacher's job. Report writing is routine in the public and civil services. Before a
law is passed a select committee writes a report. Business executives write reports.

Employees and students find it difficult to write a report. If they have to write a long report they get
confused. Keep your cool ~do not end up as in one of the anecdotes of the Cypriot columnist and teacher the late
Orhan Seyfi Ari, about a radio broadcast of a boxing match between Abdi and Bandinelli annoucing the winner as
Abdinelli -do not get excited. Learn the techniques of writing reports.The techniques of writing a report are easy to
learn. Report writing is not difficult. Writing reports is easy -whether short or long reports.

Here is how to write a report: the techniques of report writing…

In report writing we need to know: What is Report writing… The Object of Writing Reports… How to Write a
Report. Then writing a report becomes easy -we can write a report…

What is Report Writing

Report writing begins with being asked to write a report. Reports are almost always asked for, and are
documents - short or substantial in size. Writing a report is examining a given problem or issue and suggesting a
practical solution.

The Object of Writing Reports

Writing reports is for a purpose. Report writing must not defeat its object. When you are asked to write a
report, you are provided information. You are expected to competently analyse that information, draw consistent
conclusions, and make sensible and practical recommendations in your report.

Before writing a report you must be clear on your brief. You can not write a report usefully without being
sure of its object. In writing reports it helps to also clarify the information provided. Report writing can fail in its
object by the assignor assuming that you have some of the needed information. Be absolutely clear of the object
of the report, and of the adequacy of the information you have, before writing reports. the object of writing reports
is to offer directly related suggestions.

In report writing bear in mind that the assignor may have incomplete information affecting even the object
of writing the report. In Britain only after one & a half months of preparations to set up a national lottery to be run
by the government was it discovered that in English law it had to be contracted out. You may be told "You
should've asked!" Beware, in writing reports.

The object of writing reports is so dependent on relevant information that the Xerox corporation had set up
a village for years for its researchers to obtain adequate information before writing reports on the future effects of
computer data storage media on use of photo copying machines and paper.

When you are asked to write a report, while do not assume the role of a researcher, do be clear on what is
wanted and of the information provided. The object of report writing is to find practical solutions to issues of briefs
to write reports on.
How to Write a Report

Having clarified the issue on which you are to write a report, and the information necessary for your writing
a report, you need to ensure the essential in report writing: consistency.

For this, use the techniques of writing reports. These are: Preparing to Write Reports... Presentation in
Writing a Report.

You cannot write reports consistently without data preparation. Presentation in writing a report helps show
its consistency.

Preparing to write reports: If the issue is detailed and you are writing a report that is substantial you may choose
to use specialist computer software. Else, this is a must in such report writing: List different data on separate
sheets of paper in a ring-binder -to arrange or re-arrange easily and logically as the data for the report you are
writing accumulates.

Presentation in writing a report: Report writing techniques of presentation involve: structure, enclosures, index
and title.

>>> Structure in report writing:-

1. Begin with a brief summary of the main points of your report. Enable the person who you asked you to write the
report, at a glance, to see the gist of it.
... In the first paragraph briefly tell what the report is going to tell. If you are writing a long report, use a separate
page.

2. Then, in telling what you said your report was going to tell, keep the detail logical, clear and simple -easy to
read…
… If writing a technical report don't clutter it with statistical-data, tables, graphs. If such make a report difficult to
read attach them as enclosures or appendices, refer to them. In writing long reports use dividers, colour-tags -too
many irritate.
… Do not use jargon in report writing. When writing a report be direct and specific -write a report that is easily to
comprehend.

4. End reports as begun. When writing reports, end them, again, with a brief summary of the main points. Tell the
report's reader, briefly, what you have told in detail. Write reports with endings that enable every person you write
a report for at a glance to see the gist of the report's main points.

>>> Enclosures in writing a report:-

5. When you write a report ensure that each enclosure is clearly marked, easily distinguishable from others
attached.
… In writing the report refer to each enclosure as marked.
… Attach the enclosures in the order referred to in the report.

>>> Index in writing reports:-

6. After you write a report add an index -or a 'contents' page.


… Do so after word-processing the report with page numbers.

>>> Title in report writing:-


7. When you write reports you need titles-pages for them.
… The title-page should be the first in the report you write.
… In report writing the title page contains: the title of the report, the date finished writing the report, and the
reference number (if any) of the party who asked you to write the report.
These techniques of writing reports ensure easy report writing.

A Report on Strengthening Mechanisms of Metal

A metal’s strength is measured by its yield strength and/or its ultimate tensile strength. The fundamental

approach to strengthening metals is to device methods that increase the resistance to the motion of dislocations

responsible for plastic deformation (Asthana et al 2006). Almost all strengthening techniques rely on this simple

principle: restricting or hindering dislocation motion renders a material harder and stronger (Kakani 2004). The

ability of a metal to deform depends on the ability of dislocations to move. Therefore, restricting dislocation motion

makes the material stronger.

Grain Size Reduction

Reducing the grain size is a practical way of increasing both strength and toughness of a metal

simultaneously (Ohring 1995). The reduction in grain boundaries through prolonged thermal treatment prevents

movement among neighboring crystallites in the lattice (Fahlman 2007). Since neighboring grains have different

lattice orientations, the movement of a dislocation across a grain boundary is more difficult. Grain boundaries are

effective barriers that blunt the advance of cracks. Therefore, propagation can only occur by repeated crack

initiation and tortuous change of direction at each grain boundary intersection. Such crack extension absorbs

mechanical energy and effectively raises the matrix toughness.

Solid Solution Strengthening

Foreign atoms dissolved in a metal’s lattice increase the metal’s yield strength. There are two types of solid

solutions. If the solute and matrix (solvent) atoms are roughly the same size the solute atoms occupy lattice sizes

in the crystal normally occupied by solvent atoms: this is a substitutional solid solution. If the solute atoms are

much smaller than the matrix atoms, they occupy interstitial position in the matrix lattice: this is an interstitial

solid solution. Solute atoms interact with dislocations attempting to move through the crystal. The impurity’s

effect on strength depends on the atom’s size difference and the amount of impurity present. A solute atom

smaller than the matrix atom will create an approximately spherical tensile field around itself that attracts the
compressive regions around the mobile dislocations. In contrast, larger solute atoms attract the tensile region of

nearby dislocations (Russel and Lee 2005).

Strain Hardening

The strengthening of a metal during deformation is a result of the increase in dislocations. Dislocations

formed during cold working strengthen a metal by storing some of the energy applied, in the form of residual

stress. Strain hardening is characterized by the fact that an increasing degree of deformation can be achieved by

an ever-increasing magnitude of stress. Strain hardening or the effect of cold plastic deformation can indicated by

the changes in the mechanical properties of the deformed metal. Of these mechanical properties, the strength

characteristics, such as yield point, ultimate tensile strength and hardness are increase, whereas the ductility

parameters, such as specific elongation, contraction are decreased (Tisza 2001).

Conclusion

This paper discusses the different techniques in strengthening metals. These techniques are grain size

reduction, solid solution strengthening, and strain hardening. Although we must take care not to lose too much

ductility and toughness, the critical property in design is the yield stress. If the material requires a higher stress to

produce yield then the safe working stress is correspondingly increased. Strengthening of metals is primarily

concerned with the different ways of making the start of slip more difficult.

References

Asthana, R, Kuma, A and Dahotre, N B 2006, Materials Processing and Manufacturing Science, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Fahlman, B D 2007, Materials Chemistry. Springer.

Kakani, S L 2004, Material Science, New Age International.

Ohring, M 1995, Engineering Materials Science, Academic Press.

Russel, A and Lee, K L 2005, Structure-Property Relations in Nonferrous Metals, Wiley.

Tisza, M 2001, Physical Metallurgy for Engineers, ASM International.


Reviews

Begin your review with an introduction appropriate to your assignment. If your assignment asks you to review
only one book or article and not to use outside sources, your introduction will focus on identifying the author, the
title, the main topic or issue presented in the book or article, and the author's purpose for writing. If your
assignment asks you to review the book or article as it relates to issues or themes discussed in the course, or to
review two or more writings on the same topic, your introduction must also encompass those expectations. For
example, before you can review two writings on a topic, you must explain to your reader in your introduction how
they are related to one another. Within this shared context (or under this "umbrella") you can then review
comparable aspects of both writings, pointing out where the authors agree and differ. In other words, the more
complicated your assignment is, the more your introduction must accomplish. Finally, the introduction to a book or
article review is always the place for you to establish your position as the reviewer (your thesis about the author's
thesis). Consider the following questions:

 Is the piece a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a
documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.?
 Who is the author? What does the preface or foreword tell you about the author's purpose, background,
and credentials? What is the author's approach to the topic (as a journalist, a historian, a researcher)?
 What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to
a particular audience, or to other works on the topic?
 What is your critical evaluation of the work (your thesis)? Why have you taken that position? What criteria
are you basing your position on?

Provide an overview. An overview supplies your reader with certain general information not appropriate for
including in the introduction but necessary to understanding the body of the review. Generally, an overview
describes your book or article's division into chapters, sections, or points of discussion. An overview may also
include background information about the topic, about your stand, or about the criteria you will use for evaluation.
The overview and the introduction work together to provide a comprehensive beginning for (a "springboard" into)
your review. Consider the following questions:

 What are the author's basic premises? What issues are raised, or what themes emerge? What situation
(i.e., racism on college campuses) provides a basis for the author's assertions?
 How informed is my reader? What background information is relevant to the entire piece and should be
placed here rather than in a body paragraph?

Organize the body of your review according to a logical plan. Here are two options:

1. First, summarize, in a series of paragraphs, those major points from the piece that you plan to discuss;
incorporating each major point into a topic sentence for a paragraph is an effective organizational strategy.
Second, discuss and evaluate these points in a following group of paragraphs. (There are two dangers
lurking in this pattern — you may allot too many paragraphs to summary and too few to evaluation, or you
may re-summarize too many points from the piece in your evaluation section.)
2. Summarize and evaluate the major points you have chosen from the piece in a point-by-point schema.
That means you will discuss and evaluate point one within the same paragraph (or in several if the point is
significant and warrants extended discussion) before you summarize and evaluate point two, point three,
etc., moving in a logical sequence from point to point to point. Here again, it is effective to use the topic
sentence of each paragraph to identify the point from the book or article that you plan to summarize or
evaluate With either pattern, consider the following questions:
 What are the author's most important points? How do these relate to one another? (Make
relationships clear by using transitions: "In contrast," "an equally strong argument," "moreover," "a
final conclusion," etc.).
 What types of evidence or information does the author present to support his or her points? Is this
evidence convincing, controversial, factual, one-sided, etc.? (Consider the use of primary historical
material, case studies, narratives, recent scientific findings, statistics.)
 Where does the author do a good job of conveying factual material as well as personal
perspective? Where does the author fail to do so? If solutions to a problem are offered, are they
believable, misguided, or promising?
 Which parts of the work (particular arguments, descriptions, chapters, etc.) are most effective and
which parts are least effective? Why?
 Where (if at all) does the author convey personal prejudice, support illogical relationships, or
present evidence out of its appropriate context?

Use the conclusion to state your overall critical evaluation. You have already discussed the major points the
author makes, examined how the author supports arguments, and evaluated the quality or effectiveness of specific
aspects of the book or article. Now you must make an evaluation of the work as a whole, determining such things
as whether or not the author achieves the stated or implied purpose and if the work makes a significant
contribution to an existing body of knowledge. Consider the following questions:

 Is the work appropriately subjective or objective according to the author's purpose?


 How well does the work maintain its stated or implied focus? Does the author present extraneous material?
Does the author exclude or ignore relevant information?
 How well has the author achieved the overall purpose of the book or article? What contribution does the
work make to an existing body of knowledge or to a specific group of readers? Can you justify the use of
this work in a particular course?
 What is the most important final comment you wish to make about the book or article? Do you have any
suggestions for the direction of future research in the area? What has reading this work done for you or
demonstrated to you?

Note that the length of your introduction and overview, the number of points you choose to review, and the
length of your conclusion should be proportionate to the page limit stated in your assignment and should reflect the
complexity of the material being reviewed as well as the expectations of your reader.

Remember foremost that an analytic or critical review of a book or article is not primarily a summary; rather, it
comments on and evaluates the work. This is especially important to remember when doing academic research.
A literature review (as a kind of paper or as a section of a longer research paper) strings together a set of such
commentaries to map out the current range of positions on a subject. The writer can then define his or her own
position in the rest of the research paper. Often it is useful to keep questions like these in mind as you read your
research materials analytically:

1. What overall purpose of the book or article? (Reading the preface, acknowledgments, bibliography, and
index can be helpful in answering this question. Also consider the author's background and the publisher
when thinking about a book's purpose.)
2. What is the author's thesis? What are the author's assumptions? Are the assumptions discussed explicitly?
3. How well does the author's content support the thesis? (Here you can quote from your source to show not
only the author's overall structure and plan, but also to show the author's style and tone, as well as the
author's ability to use materials to make an argument in support of the thesis.)
4. How does the author present the work? (Does he/she present primary documents or secondary material,
literary analyses, personal observations, statistical data, biographical or historical information?)
5. Does the author present alternative approaches (alternative theses) to his subject or topic? Does the
author present counter-arguments to alternative theses?
6. What exactly does the book or article contribute to your subject or academic discipline? What general
problems and concepts in your discipline and course does this book or article discuss?
7. What theoretical issues are raised for further discussion?
8. What are your own reactions toward the work? Compare your reactions to the book or article to the
reviews/reactions of others. Look at journals in your academic discipline or general publications such as
New York Review of Books or London Review of Books.

Finally, remember that a review's goal is to discuss the book's or article's approach to the subject, not to
discuss the subject itself.

Below is an example of a review that I published in Network (December 1990) of V. Prakasam's The Linguistic
Spectrum.

The Linguistic Spectrum. By V. Prakasam.


Patiala: Punjabi University, 1985. xii + 120.

Reviewed by Daniel Kies, College of DuPage.

The Linguistic Spectrum contains thirteen chapters that are based on previously published articles or
conference papers Prakasam had written over a period of ten years. The title of the book -- employing the
spectrum metaphor -- suggests a linguistic analysis marked by thoroughness, generality, gradience, and
coherence between all the subsystems of language. The spectrum metaphor also suggests that a major goal of
the book is to serve as a "bridge" between all the competing theories that comprise the spectrum of linguistic
theory. Unfortunately, the book does not deliver on the promises of its title. Brevity works against Prakasam: those
goals are too large to accomplish in a short volume.

The book is organized loosely by linguistic strata, beginning with language as sound and ending with
language in community. Several chapters also give Prakasam the opportunity to compare directly the relative
merits of competing linguistic theories. Chapter 1 ("Parametical Phonetics") begins with a cautionary tale about the
need to keep distinct the parameters of phonetic description (physiological [= articulatory], acoustic, and auditory).
Prakasam identifies weaknesses arising from the conflation of those parameters (using Telugu to exemplify the
analysis). When discussing physiological phonetics, for example, Prakasam argues that descriptive and
explanatory phonetic statements are better made by attending to all relevant phonetic parameters, such as the
"active articulator" (pp. 2-3), rather than simply attending on theoretical grounds to a single parameter, such as the
"passive place of articulation."

Chapter 2 ("Functional Phonology") begins with an all too brief comparison of Praguian, Generative, and
Systemic phonology and moves to a discussion of syntagmatic and paradigmatic features in the functional
analysis of sound systems. A contribution to functional phonology is Prakasam's notion of a dynamic" function of
syntagmatic phonological features (pp. 13 18). The chapter reviews the traditional distributive and demarcative
functions of sound segments, but Prakasam adds a dynamic function to those sounds that are active in
phonological alternations (sandhi contexts). The dynamic function, Prakasam argues, predicts the direction of
sound changes in a sandhi context. Prakasam's phonological analyses demonstrates the value of functionalism in
linguistic analysis, illustrating how the functionalism and pragmatism of neo-Firthian phonology admirably explains
several problems in Telugu phonetics and phonology that form-oriented neo-Chomskians can only list as
exceptions to phonological rules. (See Prakasam 1976, 1977, and 1979 for more extensive discussions of many of
those points.)

Chapter 3 ("Ordering of Phonological Rules") and Chapter 6 ("Case Relations and Realizations") are
curiosities. Having argued for the descriptive and explanatory value of Systemic functional) phonology in Chapters
1 and 2, Prakasam presents a two page chapter (Chapter 3) that argues for abstract phonological representations
of a Generative sort and for all the trappings of Generative theory, including rule ordering. Similarly, Chapter 6
(drawn largely from Prakasam 1979-80) surveys the concept of grammatical case and its morphological and
semantic treatment in traditional Indian, Generative, and Systemic theory. A large part of Prakasam's objective is
to reconcile Generative and Systemic-Functional theory. Yet the strength of Systemic-Functional linguistics has
always been the "directness" of the linguistic analysis. However, Chapters 3 and 6 do nothing to explain
Prakasam's interest in abstract representations or rule ordering in the Generative sense. In fact, Chapter 3's most
striking feature is the number of interesting, yet completely unmotivated, claims -- such as the hypothesized
general rule ordering principle stating that rule governing morphologically conditioned sound changes apply to the
underlying (abstract) representation before rules governing phonologically conditioned sound changes do.

By Prakasam's own admission, Chapter 4 ("Process Morphology") adds nothing to the discussion of
morphology or allomorphic variation that has not already been discussed in the literature. The aim is solely to bring
together Prosodic and Generative phonological approaches to some basic issues in allomorphic variation.
However, Prakasam misses an excellent opportunity in this discussion of morphological variation: Prakasam only
discusses phonologically and morphologically conditioned variation, never acknowledging the existence of
stylistically conditioned variation, and thereby missing the chance to draw parallels between this chapter and two
later chapters which apply familiar concepts in stylistic/social variation to Telugu, Chapter 8 ("Sociogrammar"
drawn largely from Prakasam 1981) and Chapter 9 ("Language Variation" drawn largely from Prakasam 1978).

Chapter 5 ("Auxiliaries and Auxiliarization") presents one of the few crosslinguistic analyses of gradience
as a linguistic phenomenon: the chapter explores the cline in verb auxiliaries between suffixes at one end and full
lexical verbs at the other in both English and Telugu. Chapter 7 ("Given-new Structuration") and Chapter 10
("Psychological Plausibility") review very familiar problems from a crosslinguistic perspective. Chapters 5, 7, and
10 are interesting in that Prakasam looks at familiar Systemic concepts from a crosslinguistic perspective but the
remaining chapters -- 11, 12, and 13 -- report Prakasam's efforts to build bridges between cultures and linguistic
traditions.

Chapter 11 ("The Systems and Apoha Theory") presents Prakasam's strongest attempt to build a bridge
between Systemic theory (using Firth's concept of systems) and the traditional Indian linguistics (in the form of the
Buddhist theory of meaning, Apoha). Arguing that every positive choice in a system implies a negation of the other
choices offered but not chosen, Prakasam sees parallels to the Buddhist logician's view that meaning is largely
negative in character, "that words have no direct reference to objective realities" (p. 90). Here Prakasam misses a
chance to draw additional parallels to contemporary literary theory and to Deconstruction.

Chapter 12 ("Comparative Pedagogical Theory") describes some of the linguistic and pedagogic problems
surrounding second language learning and teaching in India. Prakasam begins by outlining the goals of
comparative descriptive linguistics and then conveys some of the conflict between linguists and "pedagogues."
The chapter concludes by highlighting the value of "comparative pedagogical linguistics" in learning the syntax and
semantics of verbs in Telugu, English, and Hindi.

Chapter 13 ("On Being Communal: A Sociolexical Study") is a plea for tolerance, briefly describing the
human suffering arising through religious, caste, and language communalism.

The book does have its merits. Prakasam offers us a chance to read his work in one place: many of the
articles are in hard to-locate journals, and the book does serve as a primer to much of Prakasam's linguistics in the
period between 1972 and 1982. (Indeed, one often has the impression that this book serves only as a primer to
the author's work, given that many of the complexities of Prakasam's analyses are glossed over so very briefly.)
Further, the book summarizes in one place much of Prakasam's work on Telugu. Finally, The Linguistic Spectrum
also offers Western linguists the chance to read a contemporary's efforts to marry the ancient and modern
linguistic traditions of India with many of the linguistic theories of West.

All of those strengths are admirable and make fascinating reading. However, what works against those
strengths are not only Prakasam's brevity but also a lack of contact with Systemic Functional (or any other) theory
since the early 1970s. For example, Prakasam does not discuss several important works that are directly relevant
to this effort, including M.A.K. Halliday & Ruqaiya Hasan's Cohesion in English (1976), M.A.K. Halliday's Language
as a Social Semiotic (1978), or David Stampe's A Dissertation on Natural Phonology (1979) to name just three.
Thus a book that has all the promise of an important contribution to Systemic-Functional linguistics and linguistics
generally becomes instead a frustrating experience. One hopes that Prakasam produces a second edition, an
edition in which Prakasam again paints the spectrum of linguistic thought, but this time with colors of a deeper hue
on a much larger canvas.

Works Cited

Prakasam, V. "A Functional View of Phonological Features." Acta Linguistica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae.
10: 77-88, 1976.

. "An Outline of the Theory of Systemic Phonology." International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics. 6: 24-41, 1977.

. "General Remarks on Language Variation." In S. Agesthialingom and K. Karunakaran, Sociolinguistics and


Dialectology, pp. 219-228. Annamalainagar: Annamalai University, 1978.

. "Aspects of Sentence Phonology." Archivum Linguisticum. 10: 57-82, 1979.

. "A Grammar of Telugu Postpositions." Language Forum. 5: 2-18, 1979-80.

. "A Sociogrammatical Look at Telugu Pronouns." Studies in Anthropological Linguistics. 14: 87-93, 1981.
Writing Effective Email: Top 10 Email Tips
Some professionals get scores of emails a day. Follow these email etiquette tips in order to give your
recipients the information they need, so they’ll act on your message.
12 Dec 2000 — original version submitted by Jessica Bauer (UWEC student)
20 Dec 2012 — last modified by Dennis G. Jerz
Write a meaningful subject line.
Keep the message focused.
Avoid attachments.
Identify yourself clearly.
Be kind — don’t flame.
Proofread.
Don’t assume privacy.
Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
Respond Promptly.
Show Respect and Restraint.
1. Write a meaningful subject line.
People who get a lot of email scan the subject line in order to decide whether to open, forward, file, or
trash a message. If your subject line is vague — or even worse, if it’s blank — you have missed your first
opportunity to inform or persuade your reader. Remember — your message is not the only one in your recipient’s
mailbox. Before you hit “send,” take a moment to write a subject line that accurately describes the content.
Subject: [Blank]
If you don’t put a subject line on your email, you are sending the message that your name in the “From” line
is all your recipient should need in order to make it a top priority. That could come across as arrogant, or at
the very least, thoughtless. Take advantage of the opportunity to get your recipient thinking about your
message even before opening it.
Subject: “Important! Read Immediately!!“
What is important to you may not be important to your reader. Rather than brashly announcing that the
secret contents of your message are important, write an informative headline that actually communicates at
least the core of what you feel is so important: “Emergency: All Cars in the Lower Lot Will Be Towed in 1
Hour.”
Subject: “Quick question.“
If the question is quick, why not just ask it in the subject line? This subject line is hardly useful.
Subject: “Follow-up about Friday“
Fractionally better — provided that the recipient remembers why a follow-up was necessary.
Subject: “That file you requested.“
If you’re confident your recipient will recognize your email address, and really is expecting a file from you,
then this would be fine. But keep in mind that many email providers get scads of virus-laden spam with
vague titles like this. The more specific you are, the more likely your recipient’s spam-blocker will let your
message through.
Subject: “10 confirmed for Friday… will we need a larger room?“
Upon reading this revised, informative subject line, the recipient immediately starts thinking about the size
of the room, not about whether it will be worth it to open the email.
2. Keep the message focused.
Often recipients only read partway through a long message, hit “reply” as soon as they have something to
contribute, and forget to keep reading. This is part of human nature.
If your email contains multiple messages that are only loosely related, in order to avoid the risk that
your reader will reply only to the first item that grabs his or her fancy, you could number your points to ensure
they are all read (adding an introductory line that states how many parts there are to the message). If the points
are substantial enough, split them up into separate messages so your recipient can delete, respond, file, or
forward each item individually.
Keep your message readable.
Use standard capitalization and spelling, especiallywhen your message asks your recipient to do work
for you.
If you are a teenager, writing a quick gushing “thx 4 ur help 2day ur gr8″ may make a busy professional
smile at your gratitude.
But there comes a time when the sweetness of the gesture isn’t enough. u want ur prof r ur boss 2 think u
cant spl? LOL ;-)
Skip lines between paragraphs.
Avoid fancy typefaces. Don’t depend upon bold font or large size to add nuances. Your recipient’s email
reader may not have all the features that yours does. In a pinch, use asterisks to show *emphasis*.
Use standard capitalization. All-caps comes across as shouting, and no caps invokes the image of a lazy
teenager. Regardless of your intention, people will respond accordingly.
3. Avoid attachments.
Rather than attaching a file that your reader will have to download and open in a separate program, you will
probably get faster results if you just copy-paste the most important part of the document into the body of your
message.
To: All 1000 EmployeesFrom: Eager EdgarSubject: A helpful book everyone should read

Hello, everyone. I’ve attached a PDF that I think you’ll all find very useful. This is the third time I sent it the
file — the version I sent yesterday had a typo on page 207, so I’ve sent the whole thing again. Since some
of you noted that the large file size makes it a bit awkward, I’ve also attached each chapter as a separate
document. Let me know what you think!Attachments:
Big Honking File.pdf (356MB)
BHF Cover.pdf (25MB)
BHF Chapter 1.pdf (35MB)
BHF Chapter 2.pdf (27MB)
[... ]
Okay, raise your hands… how many of us would delete the above message immediately, without looking at
*any* of those attachments? 
To: Bessie ProfessionalFrom: Morris PonsybilSubject: Email tips — a subject for an office workshop?
——–
Bessie, I came across a book that has lots of tips on streamlining professional communications. Has
anyone volunteered to present at the office workshop next month? Let me know if you’d like me to run a
little seminar (2o minutes?) on using email effectively.Below, I’ll paste the table of contents from the book.
Let me know if you want me send you the whole thing as a PDF.
Table of Contents
Write a meaningful subject line.
Keep the message focused and readable.
Avoid attachments.
[...]
Email works best when you just copy and paste the most relevant text into the body of the email. Try to
reduce the number of steps your recipient will need to take in order to act on your message.
If your recipient actually needs to view the full file in order to edit or archive it, then of course sending an
attachment is appropriate.
If it’s the message that matters, recognize that attachments:
consume bandwidth (do you want your recipient to ignore your request so as to avoid paying for a mobile
download?)
can carry viruses
don’t always translate correctly for people who read their email on portable devices.

4. Identify yourself clearly.


To: Professor Blinderson
From: FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com
Subject: [Blank]
Yo goin 2 miss class whats the homework
Professor Blinderson will probably reply, “Please let me know your name and which class you’re in, so that I
can respond meaningfully. I don’t recognize the address FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com.”
To: Professor Blinderson
From: m.ponsybil@gmail.com
Subject: EL227 Absence, Oct 10
This is Morris Ponsybil, from EL227 section 2.
This morning, I just found out that the curling team has advanced to the playoffs, so I’m going to be out of
town on the 10th.
According to the syllabus, it looks like I will miss a paper workshop and the discussion of Chapter 10. May I
email you my Chapter 10 discussion questions before I leave town? And could I come to your office hour at
2pm on the 12th, in order to catch up on anything I missed? I’ve asked Cheryl Jones to take notes for me.
Thank you very much. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.
(If you are asking the other person to do you a favor, providing the right information will give him or her a
good reason to decide in your favor. In this case, Morris Ponsybil shows his professor he cares enough
about the class to propose a solution to the problem his absence will cause.)
When contacting someone cold, always include your name, occupation, and any other important
identification information in the first few sentences.
If you are following up on a face-to-face contact, you might appear too timid if you assume your recipient
doesn’t remember you; but you can drop casual hints to jog their memory: “I enjoyed talking with you about PDAs
in the elevator the other day.”
Every fall, I get emails from “bad_boy2315@yahoo.com” or “FuZzYkItTy2000@hotmail.com” who ask a
question about “class” and don’t sign their real names.
While formal phrases such as “Dear Professor Sneedlewood” and “Sincerely Yours,” are unnecessary in
email, when contacting someone outside your own organization, you should write a signature line that includes
your full name and at least a link to a blog or online profile page (something that does not require your recipient to
log in first).
5. Be kind. Don’t flame.
Think before you click “Send.”
If you find yourself writing in anger, save a draft, go get a cup of coffee, and imagine that tomorrow morning
someone has taped your email outside your door. Would your associates and friends be shocked by your
language or attitude?
Or would they be impressed by how you kept your cool, how you ignored the bait when your correspondent
stooped to personal attacks, and how you carefully explained your position (or admitted your error, or asked for a
reconsideration, etc.).
Don’t pour gasoline on a fire without carefully weighing the consequences. Will you have to work with this
person for the rest of the semester? Do you want a copy of your bitter screed to surface years from now, when you
want a letter of recommendation or you’re up for promotion?
@!$% &*@!! &(*!
Go ahead… write it, revise it, liven it up with traditional Lebanese curses, print it out, throw darts on it, and
scribble on it with crayon. Do whatever you need in order to get it out of your system. Just don’t hit “Send”
while you’re still angry.
From: Clair Haddad
To: Ann O. Ying
Subject: Re: Ongoing Problems with ProjectI’m not sure how to respond, since last week you told Sue that
you didn’t need any extra training, so I cancelled Wednesday’s workshop. I can CC Sue in on this thread if
you like, since she’s the one who will have to approve the budget if we reschedule it.
Meanwhile, I can loan you my copies of the manual, or we can look into shifting the work to someone else.
Let me know what you’d like me to do next.
—Original Message –
From: Ann O. Ying
I tried all morning to get in touch with you. Couldn’t you find a few minutes in between meetings to check
your messages? I’m having a rough time on this project, and I’m sorry if this is last-minute, but I’ve never
done this before and I think the least you could do is take some time to explain it again.

If your recipient has just lambasted you with an angry message, rather than reply with a point-by-point
rebuttal, you can always respond with a brief note like this, which
casually invokes the name of someone the angry correspondent is likely to respect (in order to diffuse any
personal antagonism that may otherwise have developed) and
refocuses the conversation on solutions (in this conversation, Ann has already dug herself into a hole, and
Clair has nothing to gain by joining her there)
6. Proofread.
If you are asking someone else to do work for you, take the time to make your message look
professional.
While your spell checker won’t catch every mistake, at the very least it will catch a few typos. If you are
sending a message that will be read by someone higher up on the chain of command (a superior or professor, for
instance), or if you’re about to mass-mail dozens or thousands of people, take an extra minute or two before you
hit “send”. Show a draft to a close associate, in order to see whether it actually makes sense.
7. Don’t assume privacy.
Unless you are Donald Trump, praise in public, and criticize in private. Don’t send anything over email
that you wouldn’t want posted — with your name attached — in the break room.
Email is not secure. Just as random pedestrians could easily reach into your mailbox and intercept the
envelopes that you send and receive through the post office, a curious hacker, a malicious criminal, or the FBI can
easily intercept your email. Your IT department has the ability to read any and all email messages in your work
account (and your company can legally may fire you if you write anything inappropriate).
8. Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
When you are writing to a friend or a close colleague, it is OK to use “smilies” :-) , abbreviations (IIRC for “if
I recall correctly”, LOL for “laughing out loud,” etc.) and nonstandard punctuation and spelling (like that found in
instant messaging or chat rooms). These linguistic shortcuts are generally signs of friendly intimacy, like sharing
cold pizza with a family friend. If you tried to share that same cold pizza with a first date, or a visiting dignitary, you
would give off the impression that you did not really care about the meeting. By the same token, don’t use informal
language when your reader expects a more formal approach. Always know the situation, and write accordingly.
9. Respond Promptly.
If you want to appear professional and courteous, make yourself available to your online correspondents.
Even if your reply is, “Sorry, I’m too busy to help you now,” at least your correspondent won’t be waiting in vain for
your reply.
10. Show Respect and Restraint
Many a flame war has been started by someone who hit “reply all” instead of “reply.”
While most people know that email is not private, it is good form to ask the sender before forwarding a
personal message. If someone emails you a request, it is perfectly acceptable to forward the request to a person
who can help — but forwarding a message in order to ridicule the sender is tacky.
Use BCC instead of CC when sending sensitive information to large groups. (For example, a professor
sending a bulk message to students who are in danger of failing, or an employer telling unsuccessful applicants
that a position is no longer open.) The name of everyone in the CC list goes out with the message, but the names
of people on the BCC list (“blind carbon copy”) are hidden. Put your own name in the “To” box if your mail editor
doesn’t like the blank space.
Be tolerant of other people’s etiquette blunders. If you think you’ve been insulted, quote the line back to
your sender and add a neutral comment such as, “I’m not sure how to interpret this… could you elaborate?”
Sometimes Email is Too Fast!
A colleague once asked me for help, and then almost immediately sent a follow-up informing me she had
solved the problem on her own.
But before reading her second message, I replied at length to the first. Once I learned that there was no
need for any reply, I worried that my response would seem pompous, so I followed up with a quick apology:
“Should have paid closer attention to my email.”
What I meant to say was “[I] should have looked more carefully at my [list of incoming] email [before
replying],” but I could tell from my colleague’s terse reply that she had interpreted it as if I was criticizing her.
If I hadn’t responded so quickly to the first message, I would have saved myself the time I spent writing a
long answer to an obsolete question. If I hadn’t responded so quickly to the second message, I might not have
alienated the person I had been so eager to help.
–DGJ