By S. H. Burton (auth.)
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Additional resources for Mastering Practical Writing
Study the hand-out that John Smith wrote. The facts are correct, and it is literate. Even so, you may think that its readers would not have found it very helpful. THE MUSIC SOCIETY First-year students wishing to join should note that this is one of the most popular societies in college. It organises a programme of subscrip· tion concerts and provides members with other advantages, such as the loan of instruments, books and scores. Applications for membership are dealt with on a strictly first-come, first-served basis (subject to the committee's decisions as to candidates' qualifications), and students should note that the closing date for applications is a fortnight from the first day of this term.
His knowledge of Henry Cash tells him that an informal note would be resented as too familiar. But a formal memorandum would seem much too stiff and starchy in these circumstances. 27 Postcard rejected at once as being unsuitable in these circumstances. He then has to decide whether to begin his letter with 'Dear Sir' or 'Dear Mr Cash'. Since he knows the treasurer (they see each other at meetings and they are, after all, members of the same club) 'Dear Sir' would be inappropriate - so cold and distant as to be discourteous in these circumstances.
Obviously, Jim Miller could have explained 'prompt payment' as meaning 'within 28 days' (or whatever period he has decided on). The point is that he should have realised that this kind of reader needed an explanation. Don't imagine that Jim Miller was stupid or unusually careless. The mistake he made is very common. Take a close look at recent examples of your own practical writing and apply these tests to what you have written: In this context of situation, could I reasonably expect this reader to understand all my words in the way that I intended them to be understood?
Mastering Practical Writing by S. H. Burton (auth.)