Avoiding the "Duh" Factor

Avoiding the “Duh” Factor
For a printable copy, click here: Avoiding the duh factor

One of the most difficult challenges of writing for college is trying to inform your audience without offending them by sounding patronizing. Professional readers are intelligent, but perhaps unknowledgeable about your specific subject. They want to learn about it without being “taught”. But how can that be done?

• The idea is to keep in mind that you are not trying to impress them with your knowledge or opinions. You are just giving them the facts.

• It is also important to imagine that since you may be writing to multiple readers, teachers, other students, etc., you can never be sure exactly how much some of them know about your subject. Perhaps some readers know quite a bit about it. Others may know nothing. And others may have known at one time, but the information is buried in their memories somewhere.

Here are some techniques to avoid offending readers by telling them what they already know, thus avoiding the “duh” factor from creeping into their thoughts.

Example 1
Before
There are many legal forms assistance companies in Phoenix. The Divorce Store is one of them. Adams, Letner, and Melander has been losing some of our potential customers.

(Duh factor: Many readers in your company probably know there are these kinds of companies already. Use since to show that it is already a given. Because and while can sometimes also be used.)

After
Since legal forms assistance companies, like the Divorce Store, may provide similar services to ours at cheaper prices, Adams, Letner, and Melander has been losing some of our potential customers.

Example 2
Before
When businesses are successful, the accounting system controls are weakened. This allows employee fraud to go unseen.

(Duh factor: Probably the manager already knows that something is wrong, and he undoubtedly knows his business is successful. Use the to show that the information is already a given.)

After
The weakened accounting system controls that have followed our business’ success are allowing employee fraud to go unseen.

Another example of using the: Of the numerous methods recreational facilities can use to increase participation and thus increase profits, training, advertising, and customer relations are the most effective.

Example 3
Before
There are many problems with Internet security. Some of them are identity fraud, security, and copyright infringement. This report will deal with each one.

(Duh factor: Most readers a quite aware of these problems. Use an appositive phrase to show that the information is already a given.)

After
Problems with Internet security, identity fraud, security, and copyright infringement, are concerns that will be dealt with in this report.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: