The Art of Writing with Clarity
Clarity is essential to any piece of writing. When you write with clarity, your ideas are clear and easy to follow—keeping your readers engaged. On the other hand, when a text is unclear or too difficult, readers often lose interest and stop reading. If the writing lacks clarity, your message may get lost entirely.
WriteLab’s feedback on clarity helps you polish your writing into an easily understood final draft. By using these suggestions, you can avoid weak and ineffective writing that doesn’t clearly convey your meaning.
In this post, we’ll explore three aspects of WriteLab’s feedback on clarity:
Agents are people, objects, or ideas that initiate action. In order to write with clarity, you must make it clear who the agent is for any action. In other words, your readers need to know who is doing what.
WriteLab suggests that you position agents as the subject of your sentence to make your writing more direct.
Click each image example in this post to enlarge the view.
WriteLab also identifies passive voice that complicates and weakens your writing. Sentences with passive verbs often sound weak because the subject is not performing the action.
For example, you might write, “The tent was soaked by the rain.” This sentence is not technically incorrect, but the action (soaking the tent) is weakened because it doesn’t proceed directly from the agent (the rain).
WriteLab would suggest strengthening the sentence by writing, “The rain soaked the tent.” This sentence is both stronger and clearer.
WriteLab encourages you to use specific verbs to make your writing easier to understand and more powerful.
For instance, the software points out nominalizations (nouns derived from verbs) and suggests that you use the straightforward, more impactful verb forms instead.
WriteLab also helps you clarify actions in your writing by advising you to position a sentence’s subject and verb as close to one another as possible.
Consider the sentence, “The whiteboard, because no one has erased it or cleaned it for weeks, looks dirty.” The subject (the whiteboard) is separated from the verb (looks), making the sentence indirect and a bit unclear.
WriteLab would recommend revising the sentence to read, “The whiteboard looks dirty because no one has erased or cleaned it for weeks.” This version is direct and clear.
Varying the length of your sentences is important for several reasons: Your writing flows better, the reader is engaged, and your ideas are easier to understand.
If you use too many short sentences, the text seems choppy and disjointed, while too many long sentences can make your writing overly complicated. For this reason, WriteLab helps you combine or break up sentences to make your writing elegant and easy to comprehend.
The Art of Writing with Clarity Recap
Use WriteLab’s suggestions to help you write with clarity, presenting your ideas in a straightforward, easy to understand manner. Clear writing engages the reader and ensures that your message is understood. After all, there’s no point in writing something that your readers can’t comprehend.
- Recognize the performer of an action in your sentences (the agent) and position it as the subject.
- Identify passive verbs and turn them into active ones.
- Recognize verbs that are expressed as nouns (nominalizations) and rewrite them as verbs.
- Keep the subject and verb of a sentence close together to avoid confusing your readers.
- Vary the length of your sentences so your writing flows well and is easy to follow.
To learn more tips and tricks for bringing clarity to your writing, review WriteLab’s Guide.