Be Emphatic!

Thinking about emphasis is a great way to improve your writing. Avoid playing down your ideas and experiences. Don’t start a sentence like this: “This probably isn’t very interesting, but….”

Here are three strategies that professionals use to make their writing more emphatic:

1.  Spotlight the last item in a list. Save the biggest or best for last – and make it sound special or important.

Dinners on our cruise included vegetable lasagna, a curry dish, and perfectly seasoned eggplant parmigiana.  

2.  Spotlight the final supporting idea when you’re making a point. Use most important, best of all, worst of all, or a similar marker. NEVER use last or finally.

Most important, the proposed bill will provide funding for the long-term growth we’re anticipating.  

3.  When you’re writing a paragraph, consider ending it with a closing sentence (a sentence that restates or highlights your point).

After dinner we lingered over coffee to reminisce about highlights from the cruise. Our server returned with endless coffee refills while we talked about the places we’d seen and the special memories we’d be taking away with us. John described tubing through the caverns in Belize. Sharon had all of us laughing as she recounted her shopping adventures. Joe and I talked about the turquoise sea at the Mayan ruins at Tulum. It was an evening I will always remember.  

Paying attention to emphasis is one of the marks of a professional writer – and a great way to add pizzazz to your writing!

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4 thoughts on “Be Emphatic!

  1. AvatarKelly Pomeroy

    I think I would have ended with “It was an evening I’ll never forget,” but your ending – “It was
    an evening I’ll never forget.” – is much nicer, because it finishes on a positive note, reflecting the experience itself!

  2. Avatarballroomdancer Post author

    Thanks, Kelly! Some of my students started using those closing sentences on their essays, and I liked the effect so much that I started teaching it.

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