Writing for any purpose needs to meet certain expectations such as being organized, developed, clear, and correct. Whether you are writing an email, a resume, or an academic paper, all writing needs to be readable and well-developed, which includes these characteristics:

  1. Clear
    Your writing needs to make sense on a grammatical level and your ideas also need to be formed so that your reader can understand what you are trying to communicate. Your reader should never have to guess or assume what you mean or what you want to say.

  2. Complete
    Your writing needs to include all the necessary information. Being concise does not mean leaving out necessary information. Your reader should not be left with questions. Give all the information so that your reader does not have to assume or guess about what you have to say or what you need from him/her. 

  3. Concise
    Your writing needs to be to the point. This is especially true for professional communications. Make your point clear and state it directly and quickly. Your main point should be made at the beginning of your writing and not at the end. Also, don’t write extensive paragraphs to state your point or to explain your point if it can be done in one or two sentences. Being direct and concise helps your writing to become more readable. 

  4. Organized
    Your writing should be easy to follow for your reader. Be sure to use transitions when moving from one point to the next. Next, be sure that each section or paragraph focuses on a single point and fully develop that point before moving on to the next. Lastly, be sure that any writing you do has a beginning, middle, and end.


All writing needs to have an appropriate style, which can include these characteristics:

  1. Tone
    The tone of your writing is the attitude that is being delivered to your reader in your written work. Consider your audience when you write. You may want your writing to have a serious or professional tone, a friendly and relaxed tone, or an assertive tone depending on your audience. The attitude that you have when writing is often reflected in the tone of your written work. For example, if you don’t want your reader to get an angry tone from your email, be sure not to write it when you are feeling angry. Tone can also come across by the language you use.

  2. Grammar & Mechanics
    If your writing contains errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, this will distract your reader from your ideas and may even lead your reader to make assumptions about your attention to detail or your abilities. All writing needs to be free of writing errors so that your reader can focus on your ideas rather than your writing.

  3. Language
    Your writing should consider your audience and this will dictate the language you use. Don’t use language that your reader will not understand. If you are writing to a professional or academic audience, don’t use language that is too informal.

  4. Professionalism
    Your writing may need to be professional depending on your audience. Professional writing is more formal and less conversational. It is polite, direct, and organized with care. Professional writing uses the writing conventions of the profession, such as APA style.