Cadets will complete a Final Essay that will be 3 – 5 pages long
Army writing structure is generally characterized by the following principles:
1. Begin with the main idea. The greatest weakness in ineffective writing is that it doesn’t quickly transmit a focused message. Too much writing hides the main point. The “bottom line” needs to come first. Start with the information you would keep if you had to get rid of all the rest.
2. Specific packaging of all writing. Packaging, is the framework of the Army writing style. Packaging is not format. Formatting begins after packaging to tailor the writing to a specific purpose. To package–
a. Open with a short, clear purpose sentence.
b. Put the recommendation, conclusion, or most important information (the main point) next. (Some writing combines the purpose and the main point.)
c. Clearly separate each major section. Use paragraphs, headings, or section titles.
3. Use a specific format if one is directed and or available.
The following mechanical rules apply to the Army writing style:
1. Use short sentences (an average of 15 or fewer words).
2. Use short words (three syllables or fewer).
3. Write paragraphs that, with few exceptions, are no more than 10 lines deep.
4. Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
5. Use “I,”“you” and “we” as subjects of sentences instead of “this office,”“this headquarters,”“all individuals,” and so forth, for most kinds of writing.
6. Use the active voice.
a. Use active voice rather than passive voice. Many Army writers overuse the passive voice and create sentences that are indirect and unfocused, and that slow communication. The passive voice hides the doer of the action, blocking communication. Active example: Army beat Navy. Passive example: The Navy has been beaten by Army.
b. The active voice is direct, natural, and forceful.
c. The active voice does more than make sentences clearer – it shortens sentences. Eliminating the passive voice reduces a piece of writing by about 20 percent.
d. The passive voice is actually very easy to recognize: it uses one of the eight forms of to be plus a verb usually ending in –en or –ed. Example: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been plus the –en, –ed word (is requested, were eaten).
The following resources will provide you with useful writing tools and they will act as your primary resource for meeting the Army writing style.
TRADOC Action Officer Staff Writing Guide. Feb 2013, available online at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/plainlanguage/ActionOfficer_StaffWriting.pdf ,
AR 25-50, Preparing and Managing Army Correspondence, Chapter 1, available online, http://www.apd.army.mil/ will provide you with the tools and act as your primary resource for meeting the Army writing style.
Additional resources can be found at the end of this Student Reading.
Additional Writing Resources:
Department of Defense: Official DoD Plain Language Website
Federal Plain Language Guidelines Website
Federal Plain Language Guidelines (PDF)
University of Maryland University College: Writing Resource Center – Paragraph Structure
Monash University: Language and Learning Online – Writing Effective Paragraphs
Perdue Online Writing Lab
University of Louisville Writing Center
University of North Carolina Writing Center
Lindsey Wilson College Resources for Writing
http://www.lindsey.edu/offices-and-services/writing-center/resources-for-writers.aspx. For more information on A Cadet Essay see this:
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