On day 165, we discussed the problem of preaching to your readers. To write persuasively and avoid angering your readers, revise your preaching sentences to objective sentences that connect an outcome to an action.
Here is the 5-step process we use:
- Identify the rhetorical subject, the one you want to do the action.
- Add the word can or will after the subject, followed by an action word.
- Add the purpose of the action (the “why”).
- Add the desired action (the “ought to” action).
- Remove can or will. This last step is optional, depending on whether or not it strengthens the sentence and whether or not the resulting sentence is grammatically correct.
This process works in almost every case. Let’s try it with the following sentence.
“To help more children read, this legislative body SHOULD allocate more money to schools.”
- This legislative body.
- This legislative body will help
- This legislative body will help children learn to read
- This legislative body will help children learn to read by allocating more money to schools.
- This legislative body help children learn to read by allocating more money to schools. (Removing “will” makes the sentence grammatically incorrect, so we used the sentence in the fourth step.)
Now, the outcome, “children learn to read,” is connected to the action of “allocating more money.” This is presented as an objective fact, not a moral statement or opinion.
Most importantly, the resulting objective statement is more likely to produce the action desired without creating a confrontation with the reader.