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Writing style is the manner in which an author chooses to write to his or her audience. A style reveals both the writer's personality and voice, but it also shows how she or he perceives the audience, and chooses conceptual writing style which reveals those choices by which the writer may change the conceptual world of the overall character of the work. This might be done by a simple change of words; a syntactical structure, parsing prose, adding diction, and organizing figures of thought into usable frameworks.
Situation and purpose 
The writer needs to tailor style to the situation. For example, the same person writing a letter to the same reader would use a different style depending on whether it is a letter of complaint, a letter of condolence, or a business letter. The author needs to decide whether the goal of the writing is to inform, persuade, or entertain.
In fiction, the situation is the events that comprise the plot. Style must represent the author's personal expression of these events setting mood, and leading the reader to a subjective, non-literal, emotional understanding of the subject. It is obvious that you cannot reply a commercial letter with an emotional appeal. It has to be essentially factual, focused and brief taking into consideration the facts and nothing beyond. In a way it has fixed parameters with no scope for spilling over or at times it can land a person in tangles both legal and ethical. This applies to all other forms that require a specific subject to be dealt with have to be suitably treated.
Sentence forms 
A writer controls not only the density of prose but its distribution. Within the rules of grammar, the writer can arrange words in many ways. A sentence may state the main proposition first and then modify it; or it may contain language to prepare the reader before stating the main proposition.
Varying the style may avoid monotony. However, in technical writing, using different styles to make two similar utterances makes the reader ask whether the use of different styles was intended to carry additional meaning.
Stylistic choices may be influenced by the culture. In the modern age, for instance, the loose sentence has been favored in all modes of discourse. In classical times, the periodic sentence held equal or greater favor, and during the Age of Enlightenment, the balanced sentence was a favorite of writers.
Loose sentence 
The most common sentence in modern usage, the loose sentence begins with the main point (an independent clause), followed by one or more subordinate clauses. For example:
Uncle Tom's Cabin is a very influential novel, for one thing because it shares the popular self-righteous sentimentality of Cat in the Hat.
The cat sat on the mat, purring softly, after it licked his paws.
According to Francis Christensen:
The loose sentence ... characterized the anti-Ciceronian movement in the seventeenth century. This movement, according to Robert S. Alexander [“The Baroque Style in Prose,” (1929)] began with Montaigne and Bacon and continued with such men as Donne, Browne, Taylor, Pascal. To Montaigne, its art was the art of being natural; to Pascal, its eloquence was the eloquence that mocks formal eloquence; to Bacon, it presented knowledge, 'Contemporary Rhetoric: A Conceptual Background with Readings,' p.348)
Periodic sentence 
In general, a periodic sentence places the main point in the middle or at the end of the sentence. In the former case, the main point is modified by subordinate clauses before and after its position in the sentence. In the latter case, the main point is modified by preceding subordinate clauses.
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. (Henry David Thoreau)
The purpose of such form is well-stated by Adams Sherman Hill in The Foundation of Rhetoric (1897):
To secure force in a sentence, it is necessary not only to choose the strongest words and to be as concise as is consistent with clearness, but also to arrange words, phrases, and clauses in the order which gives a commanding position to what is most important, and thus fixes the attention on the central idea.
Balanced sentence 
A balanced sentence is characterized by parallel structure: two or more parts of the sentence have the same form, emphasizing similarities or differences.
Depending on the mode in which the writer is writing, diction--the writer's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a work--can also affect the writer's style. Argumentative and expository prose on a particular subject matter frequently makes use of a set of jargon in which the subject matter is commonly discussed. By contrast, narrative and descriptive prose is open to the vast variety of words. Insofar as a style of diction can be discerned, however, it is best to examine the diction against a number of spectrums:
- Abstract-concrete: how much of the diction is physical?
- General-specific: to what degree is the diction precise, to what degree is it vague?
Other attributes of diction include:
The connotation of a word refers to the special meaning, apart from its dictionary definition, that it may convey. Connotation especially depends on the audience. The word "dog" denotes any animal from the genus canis, but it may connote friendship to one reader and terror to another. This partly depends on the reader's personal dealings with dogs, but the author can provide context to guide the reader's interpretation.
Deliberate use of connotation may involve selection of a word to convey more than its dictionary meaning, or substitution of another word that has a different shade of meaning. The many words for dogs have a spectrum of implications regarding the dog's training, obedience, or expected role, and may even make a statement about the social status of its owner ("lap dog" versus "cur"). Even synonyms have different connotations: slender, thin, skinny may each convey different images to the reader's mind. The writer should choose the connotation, positive, negative, or neutral, that supports the mood.
Writing for the learned, connotation may involve etymology or make reference to classic works. In schoolbooks, awareness of connotation can avoid attracting extraneous ideas (as when writing "Napoleon was a bigger influence than Frederick the Great on world history" provokes thoughts of Napoleon's physical stature). In encyclopedias, words should connote authority and dispassion; the writer should avoid words whose connotations suggest bias, such as pejorative words.
Punctuation is generally so standardized that it rarely is a factor in a writer's style. The same is true for gratuitous changes to spelling and grammar, unless the goal is to represent a regional or ethnic dialect in which such changes are customary. There are, however, a number of punctuation marks that still cause frustration and confusion such as where to put an apostrophe or how to use a semi-colon. Because of these uncertainties, a thriving business in producing or proofing text has grown up over the last 10–15 years.
Some figures of speech are phrases that briefly describe a complicated concept through connotation. However, some of these phrases are used so frequently that they have lost their novelty, sincerity, and perhaps even their meaning. They are disparagingly referred to as clichés or bromides. Whether a given expression has fallen into this category is a matter of opinion. A reader who knows, or is a member of, the target audience may have a strong opinion that one or the other alternative seems better-written.
- Fawcett, Susan (2004). Evergreen: A Guide to Writing With Readings. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-618-27387-5.
- Polking, Kirk (1990). Writing A to Z. Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-556-7.
- Rozakis, Laurie (2003). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style, 2nd Edition. Alpha. ISBN 1-59257-115-8
- Shaw, Harry (1965). A Complete Course in Freshman English. Harper & Row.
- Strunk, William and E. B. White. (1959). The Elements of Style. MacMillan Publishing Co. ISBN 0-02-418220-6.
- Watkins, Floyd C., William B. Dillingham, and Edwin T. Martin. (1974). Practical English Handbook. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-16822-8.
- Williams, Joseph (2007) Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Pearson Longman ISBN 0-321-47935-1 ISBN 978-032-147935-8
- Zinsser, William (2001). On Writing Well. Quill. ISBN 0-06-000664-1.
See also 
- Creative nonfiction
- Fiction writing
- "Politics and the English Language," by George Orwell
- Show, don't tell
- Stream of consciousness writing
- Style (fiction)
- Style guide
- Writer's voice
- Writing process
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