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Writing English as a Second Language Summary

William Zinsser writes about writing proper English in his article, Writing English as a Second Language, published in the American Scholar. The main purpose of the article is to discuss the constituents of good writing in the English language. He focuses on foreign journalism students who do not use English as their first language. They have a different perception of good writing since their languages are different from the English language. He begins by offering a brief description of the English language, noting its roots in the Anglo Saxon and Latin languages. He notes the importance of using simple nouns, most of which are Anglo Saxon as opposed to the more complicated Latin nouns.

He observes the importance of using the active, rather than the passive voice because it adds more warmth to the sentence, and it makes the sentence clearer. He offers four principles of formal writing in the English language, which are clarity, simplicity, humanity, and brevity. Despite the changing times, which have changed journalism, to focus more on digital media, there is still a need to have exemplary writing skills. Journalism students need to learn how they can organize notes and learn more about the stories they write. Organization is essential in writing, and it should be sequential. This requires the writers to apply logical thinking. Logical thinking involves the writer deciding how to present the pertinent information to the reader. It also involves knowing how the readers process information.

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