The Art of Writing with Logic
Imagine that you’re listening to an advertisement, and the speaker keeps presenting claims without sound logical explanations, evidence, or clear reasoning. Would you buy the product? Probably not.
The same principle is true for “selling” ideas and arguments to the readers of your writing. Logic is a key ingredient in any written text because it gives authority to your claims and makes the writing convincing. Even if your reasoning seems obvious to you, it may be unclear to your readers.
WriteLab provides an unbiased second opinion about the logic of your ideas, helping you clearly outline to readers how and why you arrived at your conclusions. The app helps make your reasoning strong, clear, and precise.
In this post, we’ll focus on five areas of WriteLab feedback:
- Appeals to Probability, Truth, and Authority
- Conclusions, Inferences, and Deductions
- Figurative Language
When you talk about abstract concepts in your writing, it is important to balance them with concrete evidence. WriteLab supports this goal by identifying places in your text that need specific details.
Click each image example in this post to enlarge the view.
The app also suggests revising abstract sentences with informative, concrete verbs.
For example, if you wrote, “Sarah has a locket that is holding pictures of her grandparents,” WriteLab might suggest, “Sarah wears a locket that contains pictures of her grandparents.”
The verbs “wears” and “contains” are far more concrete than the abstract terms “has” and “is holding.” Logically support the ideas in your writing with strong, specific verbs and details.
Appeals to Probability, Truth, and Authority
WriteLab reminds you to provide evidence for your claims and helps you express certainty about your conclusions, strengthening the logic of your arguments.
You’ll also receive feedback about expressing cause and effect relationships. When you mention cause and effect in your writing, you need to provide supporting evidence. You should also remember that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.
For instance, you might write something like, “The amount of food the U.S. consumes causes the amount of foreclosures to increase.”
WriteLab would recommend the following revision: “As the amount of food the U.S. consumes increases, so does the amount of foreclosures in the U.S.”
The first sentence assumes that because the amount of foreclosures is increasing as food consumption increases, one must cause the other. This is a logical fallacy that WriteLab corrects in the second version of the sentence.
Conclusions, Inferences, and Deductions
A strong argument must point to a specific and well-supported conclusion, inference, or deduction. To help you build a solid basis for your conclusion, WriteLab recommends that you cite sources for your evidence.
A conclusion that logically follows from your argument can stand alone without words and phrases like “thus,” “therefore,” and “in conclusion.” When you use these words, WriteLab asks you to consider whether your conclusion relies too heavily on identifying phrases.
If your conclusion is strong enough, readers should be able to recognize it without being explicitly informed that it’s a conclusion. If this is not the case, you may need to rethink your conclusion.
Catachresis occurs when we use words in unusual or unexpected ways. While this can be done creatively and effectively, it can also appear illogical. Misused words and unusual combinations of words can confuse your audience and detract from the logic of your argument.
To help you avoid this, WriteLab flags sentences that could use additional explanation or examples and advises that you rewrite or clarify unclear sentences.
Consider the sentence, “We know that a quarantine would inspect authorization.” The meaning of this statement is unclear, so WriteLab would ask questions to prompt you to think about what you want to say and how to explain it to your reader.
Does the writer of this sentence mean that someone needs to show proper authorization in order to quarantine a group? Readers won’t know unless the writer clarifies or rewrites the sentence, and WriteLab can help.
Figurative language is an excellent tool to enhance your writing, but it must be done effectively. WriteLab helps you express figurative language in a way that is original and makes sense to your readers.
For example, WriteLab helps you avoid clichés.
WriteLab also encourages users to delete unnecessary clichés that add no meaning to the sentence. If you wrote, “Use your own words, not those of others, in your writing, and to thine ownself be true,” WriteLab would advise you to remove “to thine ownself be true” entirely.
It’s unoriginal and overused, and logically it contributes nothing new to the sentence.
The Art of Writing with Logic Recap
If you want readers to understand and believe your ideas and arguments, you must practice the art of writing logically. Clearly explain your reasoning, provide examples and evidence, and cite valid sources to build a sound argument. End with a strong conclusion that logically follows from the rest of your paper.
WriteLab helps you ensure that what seems logical and clear to you will be equally apparent to your readers. When you write logically, readers can easily follow your thought process and recognize the strength and validity of your claims.
- Use concrete details to support abstract ideas.
- When discussing the probability or likelihood of an event, use specific details rather than uncertainty.
- Recognize the difference between causation and correlation, and support both with adequate evidence.
- Support statements of facts and other claims by providing a reliable source.
- Write concluding statements that need not depend on words such as “thus” and “therefore.”
- When introducing an idea that may be unfamiliar to your readers, include additional information to help them understand your point.
- Whenever possible, write original expressions and metaphors while avoiding overused phrases and clichés.
To learn more tips and tricks for bringing logic to your writing, review WriteLab’s Guide.