WritingprocessDefine the Standards for Effective Army Writing Writing Guidelines Mandating Quality Army Writing The ability to prepare clear, concise documents, which advocate a position or advance a goal is an essential leadership skill. Effective writing teaches you the techniques of writing different types of military documents targeted for specific audiences. To become a more effective communicator, the Army developed some specific guidelines and standards to help you write clearly and concisely. Define the Standards for Effective Army Writing The Army Writing Standard
As writers of Army correspondence, you must know and understand the standards for Army writing so you can effectively apply them to your writing. As leaders, you must explain the standards to your subordinates and check their writing for compliance to help them produce correspondence that meets the standards. You will learn how to recognize and correct passive voice later in this lesson. Effective Army writing Effective Army writing transmits a clear message in a single rapid reading and is generally free of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.
Army wrtiing Essay Example
Good Army writing Good Army writing is concise, organized, and straight to the point. It meets two essential requirements, putting the main point at the beginning of the correspondence and using the active voice. Active writing Active writing emphasizes the doer of the action. It shows whom or what is doing the action in the sentence, and it helps create shorter sentences. Standard English sentence order The standard English sentence order, subject–verb–object, works best. It speeds communication and helps the reader understand the point.
Recognize Uniform Effective Writing Standards for Army Writing Elements of Structure Overview Next, you will identify elements of structure inherent to Army writing. The structure of Army writing is simple and consists of two elements: the first, “begin with the main idea,” and the second, “packaging. ” Begin with the Main Idea All Army writing should begin with the main idea. The greatest weakness in ineffective writing is that it does not quickly transmit a focused message. Introductions with the “bottom line” first, as business writers do, focuses on the topic immediately.
One test you can use to see if your writing meets this element is to ask yourself, “What information would I keep if I had to get rid of all the rest? ” If your writing begins with the answer to this question, then you have met the criteria. Packaging The second element of effective Army writing is packaging. Packaging is the general framework of the writing style. Packaging consists of the following requirements: -open with a short clear purpose sentence -place the recommendation conclusion or most important information (main point) next. Some writing combines the purpose and the main point -clearly separate each major section.
Use paragraphs, headings or section titles -use specific format if one is appropriate These two elements of structure––main idea first and packaging––will greatly aid you in creating effective documents and correspondence. Recognize Uniform Effective Writing Standards for Army Writing Passive Voice The two essential requirements for good Army writing are putting the main point in the introduction and using the active voice. While using passive voice is not necessarily wrong, and is sometimes appropriate, the Army emphasizes the use of active voice in correspondence.
This makes your writing clearer and more direct. Why should we avoid using passive voice? 1. Passive voice creates sentences that are indirect, unfocused, and slows communication 2. Passive voice hides the doer of the action, blocking communication 3. Active voice is direct, natural, and forceful 4. Active voice normally makes sentences shorter and clearer Recognize Uniform Effective Writing Standards for Army Writing Define “Voice” Voice – The property of a verb that indicates whether the subject acts or is acted upon.
Active voice – A verb is in the active voice when its subject is the doer of the act. Passive voice – A verb is in the passive voice when its subject is acted upon. Recognize Uniform Effective Writing Standards for Army Writing Passive Voice Am, is, are, was , were, be, being, been, were completed, is requested, are written, was sent Prepare Military Correspondence The General and Specific Techniques for Constructing Military Correspondence Use short words The first rule is to use short words. Normally, shorter words are simpler, but not in all cases.
“Foe” is an example of a shorter word that is not necessarily simpler. “Enemy” is a better choice for military readers. Normally, using shorter and simpler words will make your writing clearer. You can use a dictionary and a thesaurus to choose words that mean exactly what you want to say. However, there are many words with similar meaning. You should pick words you think will convey the message to the reader in the clearest and most concise manner. According to AR 25–50, try to write so that no more than 15 percent of your words are more than two syllables long.
Keep Sentences Short The average length of a sentence should be about 15 words Paragraphs Write paragraphs that, with few exceptions, are no more than 10 lines. Using shorter words and shorter sentences should assist you in following this rule. The objective is to clearly convey your ideas in a concise manner. Avoid jargon Dictionaries give many definitions of jargon. One definition of jargon most appropriate and identifiable with the Army is found in Webster’s II New Riverside University. It states that jargon is “the specialized language of a trade, profession, or similar group.
” Here are some examples of Army–specific jargon: “Leg” (non–airborne Soldier); “Top” (First Sergeant); “old man” (commander). Use “I, you, and we” as subjects of sentences instead of “this office”; “this headquarters”; etc. Another rule for constructing military correspondence is to use personal pronouns. Using pronouns places responsibility on the writer, makes the writing more direct, and can sometimes make it shorter. As general guidance, use I, me, and my when speaking for yourself, and use we, us, and our when speaking for the unit Avoid sentences that begin with “It is. . . ” ; “There is.. . ” ; or “There are . . . .” Normally, these words do not add to the meaning of the sentence, instead, they make it longer. For example, instead of writing,“There is a problem that bothers me,” just write, “A problem bothers me. ” This supports the rule of keeping sentences short Write one–page letters and memorandums for most correspondence By writing short sentences and short paragraphs, we should be able to say what we want on one page Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation Using correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation is a necessity in constructing military correspondence.
Errors or mistakes in these areas not only detract from your writing, but may also turn your reader into an editor. Once the reader sees one error, it may become instinctive to look for more errors instead of reading the correspondence for its intended message. Most computer word processing programs have a spelling and grammar checker—use them. Errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation can leave a negative impression on your reader. You are the one who decides whether that impression will be positive or negative. Prepare Military Correspondence General Rules Paper
The standard paper is plain white and the size is 8 1? 2 by 11 inches Original Pages The original pages of the formal memorandum use computer–generated letterhead for the first page and plain white paper for continuing pages. The informal memorandum uses plain white paper but does not use letterhead Copies Prepare only the number of copies needed. Remember, as a leader you must use and enforce supply discipline Dates Type or stamp the day, month, and year on the memorandum flush with the right margin. Margins A standard margin is 1 inch from the left, right, top, and bottom margins.
Do not justify right margins. Abbreviations Paragraphs 1–16 of AR 25–50 list the rules for using abbreviations and brevity codes. The Army regulation identifies AR 310–50 as a reference. However, this publication is no longer available. Established abbreviations are acceptable in all but the most formal writing. For reading ease, use only well–known abbreviations or those you think would be known by the recipient. When a word or title that is not well known is used more than once in a document, place the abbreviated form in parentheses after the first time the word or title is used.
Thereafter, use only the abbreviated form Acronyms Use military and civilian acronyms in memorandums, if appropriate. However, do not use military acronyms when writing to individuals or organizations that would not be familiar with their use. Spell out the acronym the first time it is used. Above all, do not overuse acronyms Signature blocks Type the signature block of military officials on three lines with the name (in uppercase) on the first line; rank and branch of Service on the second line; and the title on the third line. If the title requires an extra line, use a fourth line.
Indent the beginning of the fourth line so that the first character is aligned underneath the third character of the third line. Type the signature block of civilian officials on two lines with the name (in uppercase) on the first line, and the title on the second line. If the title requires an extra line, use a third line. Indent the beginning of the third line so that the first character is aligned underneath the third character of the second line. Do not use academic degrees, religious orders, or fraternal orders as part of the signature block unless it would benefit the Army for the receiver to know this information.
For example using “MD” to signify medical doctor would be beneficial to show that medical information is provided based on the expertise of a medical professional. Do not use “P” (meaning that the signer is promotable) after the rank for personal benefit. Use it if it benefits the Army. Prepare Military Correspondence Types of Memorandums There are many different types of military correspondence. Therefore, we will not try to cover each type. Instead, we will focus our discussion on the most common type of correspondence you will create–the memorandum. We will discuss two types of memorandums: the formal and the informal memorandum.
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