Cadiz_WBNY_WBAn approach to writing and editing

Language comes to us so naturally that most of the time we take it for granted. But think of all the things we use it for. These are just a few: to inform, educate, report, persuade, sell, discuss, express our feelings, reflect, joke. So, how can we tell if we are using it effectively?

There isn’t a simple or single answer. But your writing is effective when it is appropriate to, and achieves, what you want it to do. For this reason, what works in a research report differs from what works in a training manual or promotional flyer. And there are some principles that apply to much functional writing – i.e. writing that’s intended to get a job done.


  • Clarity of meaning is more important than anything else.
  • Language is dynamic – like the world around us, it is constantly changing. This doesn’t mean that anything goes; it does mean that what is considered correct changes over time and in different circumstances.
  • Content, style, tone and presentation should be appropriate to the needs of the intended audience and to the medium, whether that’s a book, leaflet, website, blog or something else.
  • Effective writing uses plain language – simple but not simplistic – and is concise.
  • People have an emotional response to language. Poor or inaccurate writing can undermine the reader’s confidence in the author.
  • How the writer writes should be invisible to the reader, who should not be distracted from the content by errors in spelling and punctuation, jargon, wordiness or unnecessary information.


Find out more about how an editor can help you.