This unit focuses on 3 essential principles that will make your writing more "reader-friendly":
  • According to the "given-new" principle, sentences should begin with something that has already been mentioned, or is otherwise familiar to the reader, before introducing new information. A “given-before-new” ordering makes it easier for readers to see how each new piece of information fits into what they already know.
    Estimated time for this topic: 2 hours

  • Writers should also aim to create focus in their texts. Creating a focus requires writers to keep two things in mind. Firstly, they need to determine what the text is "about" by selecting appropriate topics. Secondly, they need to use strategies to keep the text topic "in the spotlight" as the text develops from sentence to sentence. This we call organising flow.
    Estimated time for this topic: 4 hours 30 min.

  • The "light before heavy" principle recommends that verbs should occur fairly soon in English sentences, before any long, complex noun phrases. In this way, the writer can make it easier for readers to process the message.
    Estimated time for this topic: 3 hours

REVIEW EXERCISE: Review the three principles for sequencing information within and across sentences.