Four Cs of Writing
Clarity: choice of words, arrangement of words in
Continuity: how sentences hang together, the “glue”
that holds sentences together
Concision: avoiding redundancies
Coherence: organizational structure of paragraphs,
sections of documents, and papers
Principle 1: Prefer active construction to passive.
Principle 2: Make your verbs portray action whenever possible.
Principle 3: Whenever possible, use characters as your grammatical subjects.
Avoid nominalizations (verbs turned into nouns like evaluation).
Avoid vague and isolated pronouns (this, it).
Avoid using there is or there are in your sentences.
Place your subjects and verbs as close together as you can.
Achieve continuity through stress, transitions, sequencing, common subjects.
Principle 1: Put the most important information in the ends of your
sentences, paragraphs, sections of documents, and papers.
Principle 2: Use transitions to glue your sentences together.
Principle 3: You can foster a still greater sense of flow by using sequencing.
To sequence information, refer in the beginning of sentences to information
contained in the stress of the preceding sentence.
Principle 4: Make your grammatical subjects consistent from sentence
to sentence when possible. (Common subjects are the weakest way of creating
continuity. When you use this approach, supplement the subjects with
Principle 1: Avoid redundant pairs. (Ex. each and every)
Principle 2: Avoid redundant modifiers. (Ex. completely finish)
Principle 3: Don’t Use No Negatives. (Ex. use "few"
instead of "not many")
Avoid throat clearing modifiers (Ex. "really" or "I believe
Principle 1: Begin with a paragraph head.
Principle 2: Back the head up with a paragraph body.
Principle 3: Head/Body organization applies to: paragraph, section,
Principle 4: For complex paragraphs and always for your entire document,
you must use a thesis sentence.
From Jane Douglas' Business Writing CPR