Writing style

Manner of expression in writing / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In literature, writing style is the manner of expressing thought in language characteristic of an individual, period, school, or nation.[1] As Bryan Ray notes, however, style is a broader concern, one that can describe "readers' relationships with, texts, the grammatical choices writers make, the importance of adhering to norms in certain contexts and deviating from them in others, the expression of social identity, and the emotional effects of particular devices on audiences."[2] Thus, style is a term that may refer, at one and the same time, to singular aspects of an individual's writing habits or a particular document and to aspects that go well-beyond the individual writer.[3] Beyond the essential elements of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, writing style is the choice of words, sentence structure, and paragraph structure, used to convey the meaning effectively.[4] The former are referred to as rules, elements, essentials, mechanics, or handbook; the latter are referred to as style, or rhetoric.[5] The rules are about what a writer does; style is about how the writer does it. While following the rules drawn from established English usage, a writer has great flexibility in how to express a concept.[6] Some have suggested that the point of writing style is to:

  • express the message to the reader simply, clearly, and convincingly;[7][8][9][10]
  • keep the reader attentive, engaged, and interested;[11][12]

Some have suggested that writing style should not be used to:

  • display the writer's personality;[13]
  • demonstrate the writer's skills, knowledge, or abilities;[14][15]

although these aspects may be part a writer's individual style.[16][17]

While this article focuses on practical approaches to style, style has been analyzed from a number of systematic approaches, including corpus linguistics,[18] historical variation,[19] rhetoric,[20][21] sociolinguistics, sylistics,[22] and World Englishes.[23]