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of English written style:
these are principles:
they are by no means to be considered as "rules".
climatic conditions obliged the President to return earlier than
The president was obliged to return earlier than planned due to poor weather conditions.
The president had to go back sooner than planned because the weather was so bad.
instructions before dispatching items.
Please wait for instructions before sending items off.
Don't send anything off until you're told to do so.
|Essential measures should be undertaken at
the earliest opportunity.
One should undertake any necessary measures at the earliest opportunity.
You should do whatever you have to as soon as you can.
|Prior to the discovery of America, potatoes
were not consumed in Europe.
Before America was discovered, potatoes were not eaten in Europe.
Before they discovered America, Europeans didn't eat potatoes.
From Written to spoken styles.
Written and spoken versions of a language use different styles, different registers. To talk in "written English" may be no more appropriate than to write using a "spoken" variety of English. Generally speaking, written English is always more formal than spoken English. nevertheless, there are informal forms of written English (notably in fiction and in the popular press), and formal styles of spoken English, in particular "discourse", or prepared speech.In the following examples, the same message is expressed in five different styles, from an extremely formal written style, to the very informal spoken style.
|a) Jargon, very formal.
This is the style of language used in official reports, technical
etc. It is exclusively a style of written English, full of
words and passives.
Consequent to the appreciation in the exchange value of Sterling against other currencies, necessary fiscal measures were introduced by the government in order to reduce the likelihood of an import-led consumer spending surge.
|b) Written, formal, clear.
This is clear, written English, as found in the press or in documents aimed at ordinary educated readers.
After the international value of Sterling rose, the government was obliged to take fiscal measures to reduce the likelihood of a surge in consumer spending led by cheaper imports.
|c) Written style for the general public,
scripted radio or TV news style.
As the value of Sterling increased compared to other currencies, the government was forced to take tax measures to head offa rapid increase in consumer spending spurred on by cheaper imports.
|d) Formal spoken style - radio, seminar,
As Sterling's international value went up, the government had to take tax measures to head off a consumer spending boom spurred on by cheaper imports.
|e) Relaxed, informal spoken style:
There is plenty of use of prepositional verbs. All actions are now expressed through verbs, not verbal nouns
As Sterling went up in value, the government had to put up taxes to stop consumers splashing out on too many cheap imports.
|f) relaxed, simplified, chat, very informal
Note the addition of repetition and fillers.
And you see, Sterling went up and up in value, so as a result, the government had to go round putting up taxes, you see, to stop everyone going out and splashing out, spending all their cash on cheap imports.
Students: try rephrasing this sentence in at least two less formal styles: