I always seem to have students who believe that effective writing is verbose. If they exceed the page minimum, they expect a high grade. These students tend to applaud themselves for the hard work on essay assignments, and it can be very difficult to convince them that their style of writing is actually quite lazy. As English teachers, we try to teach students that writing should be precise and concise. In order for students to accomplish this goal, they must have an extensive vocabulary and clear command of syntax. In short, we teach the adage:
It is important for students to understand an author's purpose, but to also be able to write for a specific purpose--to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. The following article helps students learn the differences between the purposes of writing (to inform, to entertain, to persuade) to be able to determine an author's purpose, and to identify methods to fulfill a specific purpose in their own writing.