16 Easy and Simple Tips To Write Your Report In English
On certain occasions, you might be required to submit a report as part of doing your coursework or your job. Hence, report writing is an essential skill for anyone who is working or even studying. Reports are used for presenting factual information and observations about a situation, process, or events to a particular audience. It may also be used to document projects completed, present research findings, or to define and analyze problems and recommend solutions or strategy. Reports are written with a definite purpose, ergo to meet its requirements and target, it has to be written in a report style writing. To write an easy to understand report while maintaining clarity and professionalism, here’s a guide you can use when writing it.
1. Write your report in the English language
English is an international business language, hence often the preferred language to be used when presenting formal writing. As reports are meant to be read by different people involved in a certain project, it must be written in a language where all its readers will understand it. English can serve as your bridge language to readers who speak in a different language to yours.
2. Use simple language
Since your report includes a lot of details, it should be written in a manner that is easy to understand. To achieve this, use plain English. Refrain from using jargon, or specialist words to allow readers with a little background about the subject understand it easily as well. If you opt to use industry or profession-specific words, explain it as you use them. Your vocabulary choice must be suitable for your audience, their expertise, and level of knowledge on the subject. Using hifalutin or highly technical words to impress will not make your report better but only more confusing. A well-written report intended to communicate better is more preferred and useful.
3. Strive for clarity
People agree with what is presented to them when they understand its points clearly. This also applies to report writing. To strive for clarity in your report, use precise terms, and avoid words that are vague and don’t give any exact details. Moreover, if you are going to use names, consistently use the same name throughout your report. Meanwhile, for special characters, define it the first time you use it. Also, you can avoid being ambiguous by ensuring that each word included in the report is relevant and contributes to the development of your main point.
4. Use formal language
Reports should be written in a formal language. It must not include flowery, colloquial, or slang terms. Fillers and unnecessary words must also be eliminated. Aim to express your writing in a professional sounding manner. Do this by using easy to understand formal words.
5. Avoid using emotive words
Reports are expected to be presented and interpreted objectively. Using emotive words to describe facts creates a personal tone in the text. Although it appeals to emotions, it may diminish the credibility of your report of being evidently sound. Also, using it is being discouraged as it can prevent an objective analysis on a subject. As it includes emotion in the report, it may be perceived that you are attempting to incite an emotional reaction from your target readers.
6. Refrain from using judgmental words
Another way to achieve an objective tone in your report is by avoiding the use of judgemental words. This kind of words reveals that you are making a personal judgment as you express your personal stand and opinions. Readers may perceive that instead of allowing evidence to be the support for your report, you base your conclusions on previously-held beliefs and values. To make your writing credibly sound and objective focus on presenting what the evidence suggests instead of referring to what you think and avoid judgemental language.
7. Stick to the facts
When writing a report always stick to facts and what the evidence tells you. Avoiding opinions and unsupported conclusions will make your report bias-free. Keep in mind the purpose of your report and target readers while writing it to determine the details you need to include in the report.
8. Write concisely
To improve readability, simplify your sentences. Avoid complex sentence structures and use short sentences instead. Some sentences are longer because they are too wordy. Also, some include redundant words, repetitive points, and multiple punctuations. Keep your sentence on point to avoid being wordy and lengthy. Omit anything unnecessary and make sure that it’s not exceedingly detailed nor has insufficient descriptions. If the sentences are longer than it should be, break it up and create multiple sentences out of it. Do this by limiting your sentences to a single idea per sentence.
9. Use linking words for coherence
Your report should be coherent and clearly shows the relationship between details. This can be made possible by using connectors, reference words, and signal words or phrases within and between your paragraphs. This will enable your reader to easily follow your points and see the connections of the details you included.
10. Use appropriate pronouns
There are differing opinions on whether to use personal pronouns or not in report writing. Some claim that not using personal pronouns will keep the objectivity of a report, while others suggest otherwise. To determine whether to use personal pronouns or not, it is best to consider your target readers. The type of report you are doing whether it is formal or semi-formal will also help you to figure out the appropriate pronoun to use. If you want to keep your report independent from your presence as a writer, avoid using first-person pronouns such as ‘I’, and ‘we’. Meanwhile, if you want to make your report impersonal and formal, refrain from using ‘you’. The pronoun ‘you’ directly addresses the reader, ergo makes the report sound more conversational and less formal.
11. Use correct tenses and be consistent
Follow the general rules when writing your report. Use past tense if you are writing the method and results section or anything that was done and happened in the past. Meanwhile, if it is a fact use the present tense. Also, for introduction, conclusion and summary use present tense. Make sure that you remain consistent with the tenses that you use throughout paragraphs.
12. Use the right voice of the verb
There are also different opinions on whether to use passive or active voice in report writing. To identify which one should you use, it is better to consider the purpose, content, readers, and level of formality you intend your report to sound. Also, determine the significant elements you wanted to be highlighted in your report. Passive voice is used when you want to emphasize events and processes. It is also utilized to show the effect of an action on a person or thing. This is good to use when the ‘doer’ is unknown, irrelevant on the report or it is already obvious thus not need to be mentioned. Another reason why some prefer to use this is because writing in the passive voice makes your report sound more formal. Meanwhile, others support the use of active voice because it is easier to understand. Plus active voice uses fewer words thus simpler to write. This is good to use if you want to emphasize the person or thing responsible for the action.
13. Use the right punctuation
Writing sentences with correct punctuation marks enhances the readability of your report. It guides your reader to understand your report better by giving them the right cues. Hence it is imperative not to forget including punctuation marks, neither making your sentences overly punctuated nor using punctuation interchangeably.
14. Avoid contractions
In report writing words in full form is preferred. Contractions made of combined two abbreviated words are avoided as it sounds conversational and less formal. If you need to use abbreviations, it is important to briefly explain it. Writing your words in full form enables your readers to understand the text clearly as it spelled in its original form.
15. Write numbers correctly
Part of writing reports is also including numbers to show results or estimates. It gives significant details and shows sequence, hence must be presented properly to be interpreted appropriately. When writing numbers, spell out one to nine. Hundred, thousand and million are also written in words. Meanwhile, if the number follows a unit of measurement, it should be written in numerals.
Even if you have carefully written your report, it is still best to edit and proofread your text to check if it’s easy to comprehend. Check any typographical errors, grammar lapses, and inconsistencies, punctuation errors, and omit redundant and unnecessary words. Also check if there are missing, or irrelevant details and whether its organization is illogical. By going through your work again, you will be able to see if there are any flaws in your work before it will be read by your target readers.
Regardless of your report’s length, the content will depend on what you are writing about and who you are writing it for. By following the guidelines above you’ll be able to follow the general standard in report style writing. It will help you to achieve a clear, concise, and easy to understand report.
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