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Writing Tip of the Week
Revising and Editing: Reading Your Work Aloud
One of the more underrated tricks that can improve your writing is asking a friend to read your work out loud – or reading it out loud to someone else. When someone else reads your paper out loud, it is easy to see where the audience might assume the tone or emphasis of your word choice is going. This process also helps draw a distinction between how something is said out loud in conversation compared to how it is said in your writing. In some cases, you will find that you know the correct way of saying something when speaking to someone, but draw blanks in explanation or make grammar errors when writing. You can also read out loud to yourself, taking time to notice differences between the way you speak and the way you write.
Aside from grammar, reading out loud can also be a useful indicator of where a sentence break should occur. A good rule of thumb is that a sentence that requires more than one breath to finish might need to be broken into other sentences – even if it is grammatically correct. Remember that much of writing is intended to inform or persuade someone of a given topic, and if the audience finds the reading exhausting, repetitive, or otherwise drawn out it can be hard to accomplish either of those.