Lesson 9: Sophistication
In this lesson, we’ll be talking about how you can write so that your work comes off as sophisticated and well-versed.
- To define and discuss how sophistication can be emulated in your writing
- To enumerate different techniques you can employ when writing which make you come off more sophisticated
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 9:
In this lesson, we’ll be discussing how your work can sound more sophisticated and well-written. One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to writing is that you have to sound “fancy” or highfaluting to be able to sound important or credible. Leonardo Da Vinci said that simplicity is the utmost sophistication— the same goes for written work; writing doesn’t need to be overly complex to be effective. In keeping with this train of thought, below are a couple of techniques that show us exactly how we can subtly channel sophistication through our writing.
The more concise your work is, the better it will be for your audience to read. Your written output should be informative but it also shouldn’t be overly convoluted—this makes the reader feel like you’re avoiding getting to the point; it can raise suspicions that you might not know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to talk about your subject directly or to address what certain paragraphs are going to be about. The sooner you get to the point, the better your reader will feel about the piece. Also, the earlier into the work you’re able to get important information onto the page, the more credible your information seems.
Use jargon sparingly
Another common misconception that goes with the ill-advised notion that highfaluting words equate to writing savvy is that peppering your paragraphs with jargon or insider-speak makes you seem like an insider. While you can use jargon when its necessary, using it all over the place without acknowledging your audience (when appropriate) makes you seem like you’re trying too hard. There are also instances when it will be best to describe the processes or nouns themselves rather than use the jargon or metaphor. Always take these things into consideration when writing. This goes hand-in-hand with our previous lesson. You should know when to explain, when to elaborate and when to use strictly professional terms.
Keep it neat
Make sure that your work is easy to follow and that it’s well organized. This makes it easier for your reader to absorb what you’ve written and to understand the point you’re trying to get across. Make sure that you follow the tips we previously discussed about curation—all unnecessary information should be removed or altered so that it fits into your work seamlessly.
Do your research
Of course, a necessary step to looking like you know what you’re talking about is to actually know what you’re talking about. Always do your research well and to the best of your abilities. If you know what you’re talking about, it will show. Make sure that you’re able to cover all your bases: if you need to write an argument about a policy, then research both the pros and cons—if you’re writing an incident report, know all sides of the story. Information is your best weapon when it comes to writing sophisticated content.
Only use quotes when necessary. Paraphrasing allows the reader to understand that you’ve understood and synthesized the information that you’re relaying—it ensures the reader that you haven’t just copy/pasted what you’re writing down. If, for example, you need to include a direct quote make sure that you supplement it with significant information or a synthesis that helps your reader better understand why you’re mentioning or inserting that quote.
Now that we’ve learned these tips and tricks, we can write sophisticated bodies of work: we can come off as credible and reliable—something that’s important no matter what you’re writing, be it an essay, a report or a thesis paper. In this lesson, we were able to talk about how to make your work coherent, concise and informative.
Next we’ll be looking at the different ways in which you can proofread your paper before getting it “out there”—whether that’s onto your boss’s desk or in your teacher’s submissions box. Our coming lesson will talk about the steps to take to ensure that your writing is perfect or as perfect as you can manage: we’ll be discussing how to proofread your written output.