The following are four writing tasks for a Grammar and Editing course I completed in late 2017. They are each written to a brief.
Exploratory Analysis of Writing for Communications Professionals
This is a short exploratory analysis into writing for communications professionals. It was found there were more full-time positions offered than contract work. All roles require prior experience, and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree was necessary for full-time positions. The roles require various forms of writing skills, from short social media text to long business tenders. Managerial and work-flow skills were also necessary for most of the positions. This report aims to inform near graduates on the writing skills required in the workplace.
A broad search for job positions was conducted over the category of Marketing and Communications. The intention of the investigation was to ascertain the writing skills required in the target job category.
Using the job finding website Seek.com.au, seven advertised positions were selected. The parameters of the job were the classification ‘Marketing and Communications’, and search field ‘Writing’. Other fields were left blank.
No further criteria were applied to the selected positions, and they were sampled on a first come basis to remove bias of the search tools and the investigator. The first seven position statements were textually analysed.
4.1 Writing skills
The positions require competency in and the ability to perform a variety of writing tasks including content writing for tenders, websites, social media, emails and editing. There was no mention of the level of grammar knowledge required, or experience in following a specific style guide. Interestingly, of the seven positions selected, there were no requirements for portfolio writing experience.
4.2 Experience required
The full-time positions emphasised applicants were required to have up to three years previous experience and a communication or journalism bachelor’s degree. The contract roles required experience, though evidence of experience was not requested in the position descriptions. This is interesting that four of the positions required tender writing experience, though proof of hard copy evidence of said experience is not required as part of the application.
Of the seven jobs, only one specified the remuneration that would be received for the position ($85,000 AUD). Five positions were full-time, while two were contract/temporary.
4.4 Other tasks
All positions require the successful applicant to perform additional unrelated tasks on top of primary writing requirements. Additional requirements were generally some variation of project management, administrative duties, and processing of internal and external communications.
The positions analysed are all paid positions and require full-time commitment, two of the seven are six-month contracts. The positions are largely senior managerial roles with a key focus on writing and other additional tasks as part of day to day work. Writing for social media seems to be the most common requirement.
Based on the findings and conclusions, learning how to write for a variety of modalities would be beneficial. In addition, learning about work-flow and project management in a communications position would provide students with more skills to be able to seek better positions in organisations.
2 A Pitch
A Short History of Australian Leprosy
With the rise of anti-vaxxers and a push towards STEM there is an emerging opportunity for us to integrate our knowledge with Australian students. This will allow us to become more present with adolescents and trial our methodology for a larger global initiative. The students will become aware of leprosy and help us in our mission.
The Queensland State Government, wishes to incorporate a more comprehensive education of Australia’s history with communicable disease. We believe one section can be on the effects of leprosy. This component will be available for grade nine students (aged 14-15) in line with the Australian curriculum.
The objective will be for the students as part of their history subject, to discover more about the history of leprosy, its effects on Australia, and Queensland, and dispel any modern myths on the leprosy stigma today. Leprosy is curable. SMART goals guide our methods:
S – Create learning materials and an in-class multiple choice questionnaire and a take-home short essay.
M – Results can be submitted by teachers to show the materials have been absorbed.
A – This project can be incorporated into any existing syllabus as part of a module.
R – Keep the module small.
T – Understanding the number of topics that need to be covered by students, only three weeks of material.
The exercise will assist the student’s ability to comprehend historical documents and develop critical thinking skills. There are also the benefits of learning about segregation, acceptance, and the way things change. We can pitch it as “How it is, is not how it will be.”
To enact this proposal, we will need to research the number of leprosy suffers, the facilities, compile reports, and obtain diaries. This will allow us to create comprehensive learning materials, text books, and tests. The student portal on our website will have these materials, as well as photos, diagrams, and a short documentary. Our proposal to Queensland and Australian education, and schools will be much more readily accepted.
A short documentary, much like the ones we already have, will assist the students in absorbing the materials. It will be a series of photographs from state and national archives, and a short walk around the decaying lazaret on Peel and/or Stradbroke island). The script can explain our research.
As I mentioned before, we will need a student portal on our website. It will contain our learning material, our documentary, links to our existing content, and to other materials which are relevant. ABC radio national has a Hindsight clip on the lazaret on Peel island we can request access to this for educational purposes.
The documentary will be the largest item in the budget, it will total about $4000. This is for a narrator, boat hire, and video filmed and edited.
This graphic best represents the timeline of this project, which will be implemented in term two of 2018, which is April to May. The evaluation will begin in June or July 2018.
The teachers will submit the results, which will provide a clear understanding of the students learning. Additional feedback by the schools and heat maps on our website.
3 A Speech (prepared in style for Prince Harry, as briefed by the lecturer)
Welcome! To the Invictus games of 2018, here, in Sydney. This event is special to me, as it celebrates the unbroken spirit that all the athletes here today have. Cherishing and nurturing this spirit, so that all those who have returned from war will see, they cannot be conquered!
I have served in war overseas, and have seen the horrors first hand, the sacrifice, the honour, and the courage; that is why the rehabilitation of the survivors of war is dear to my heart. These games are just one of the ways that we can assist those who are in need of assistance.
There is also the Defence’s Recovery Program, which helps those who have suffered both mentally and physically. I hope they see our athletes here today as source of comfort and encouragement.
Sydney is here to host the fourth Invictus Games, larger than ever: we have 18 nations here today, 500 prime athletes, and over 1000 family and friends in fantastic support. Our athletes here, among us, show there is no obstacle war or life can throw at us, which can bring down those who fight on.
The Invictus Games are a positive way for those who have been knocked down, to find a path to recovery and rehabilitation. While you all want to win, the competition drives us, the spirit of the games is so much more than that, it is the camaraderie, the losses, the strength of will, this is what defines Invictus, what separates it from any other games.
Everyone has had their share of dark days, yet, you, you rose to the challenge. What is it that you are here for? Is it for the chance to win? To show family, friends, society, you are still capable? Do you need a drive for yourself, something greater, to once again achieve? All of these things are possible, Invictus.
Our Foundation and trustees have done brilliant work in bring the games together, their passion for you and compassion for those who are recovering is unceasing. The games are the culmination of the work which brings sport and challenge to the wounded and injured, so they can be reminded, they are Invictus.
I know you are ready. I know that you all can succeed. I know that our veterans, our athletes can be a beacon of light in this world. I know there is no challenge that cannot be overcome through teamwork and will. I know you are Invictus.
Over the next four days we have 10 adaptive sports for our athletes, and they will show us the heights that can be achieved. This will be a brilliant show in memory of fallen comrades, and a show of strength for all those affected by war.
I am so proud of you all, for being here and showing us your unconquerable spirit. Invictus!
4 A Style Guide Entry
Style Guide Entry
Nominalising verbs creates indirect and vague sentences which can lead to other writing errors. Verbs ought to be doing the work of the sentence: do not make them nouns to cloud the sentence’s meaning. They can also make sentences feel passive rather than active.
A noun is a naming word, a noun tells you who is doing what. Proper nouns are the names of people and places, they are capitalised. Examples include, Kim, Robert, Brisbane, and Australia. Other nouns are objects such as, fire, water, rocks, and beer. The object is tangible and we can know what it is made of.
Verbs describe an action, occurrence, or state of being. An action could be to, run, jump, or swim. An occurrence could be it, glitters, decays, or just happens. A state of being could be, to feel happy, to be sad, or it seems to be that way. These do not describe tangible objects, but express the relation between a subject and object. Verbs provide a specific image of what is happening.
Identifying a nominalisation
Another way to describe a nominalisation is as an abstract noun, ‘announcement’ refers to nothing tangible. Instead say to announce, which then refers to the noun following the verb.
See the following example:
Kim made an announcement, she is graduating from university.
By turning a verb into a noun, the sentence no longer provides a clear image of what is happening, and it is harder to know what is being done.
Kim announced she is graduating from university.
This sentence is concise, tells us what Kim is doing, and correctly relates the parts of a sentence. Note that graduating could also become a nominalisation by changing it to graduation.
Kim announced her graduation from university.
There are common words used in professional writing which are often nominalised.
One of the easiest ways to spot a nominalisation is to look at the conjugation of the verb, the suffix appended to it. You can also look for other nouns in the sentence to see if they directly relate to the verb and the object.
You do not have to avoid every nominalisation, they work well in titles, as closure, and to lead into another group of nouns.
To make your body text concise avoid nominalising verbs where possible.
Petelin, R. 2016. How Writing Works: A Field Guide to Effective Writing. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin
Jerz, D. 2011. “Nominalization: Don’t Overuse Abstract Nouns”. Jerz’s Literacy Weblog. https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/grammar-and-syntax/nominalization/
Patricia. 2010. “Nominalization: Changing into Nouns”. Pearson Adult Learning Centre. http://palc.sd40.bc.ca/palc/feature/2010/nominalization.html
Precise Edit. 2012. “Action Verbs Good. Nominalizations Bad”. Precise Edit’s Blog. https://preciseedit.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/action-verbs-good-nominalizations-bad/
The Tongue United. 2012. “Verb Types: Intransitive”. The Tongue Untied. http://www.grammaruntied.com/blog/?p=588
The Tongue United. 2012. “Verbs: the basics”. The Tongue Untied. http://www.grammaruntied.com/blog/?p=466
The Tongue United. 2013. “Nouns: The basics”. The Tongue Untied. http://www.grammaruntied.com/blog/?p=670
UEFAP. ND. “Nominalisation. Grammar in EAP“. Using English for Academic Purposes For Students in Higher Education. http://www.uefap.net/grammar/grammar-in-eap-nouns/grammar-in-eap-nominalisation
UNE. ND. “Sentences: Active/passive voice and nominalisation”. University of New England. https://www.une.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/9452/WC_Sentences-Active-passive-voice-and-nominalisation.pdf