What are the properties of a well-written text? Whenever there is something to be done, most people try to visualize the output so that they could check how close they were in accomplishing that task. Now that you know the nature of a text—that it is connected discourse—you must already have a clear picture in your mind of what you should try to achieve in your writing. You should be able to distinguish good writing from a bad one by now. You are supposed to be aware that for a writer to be able to express meaning in writing, he or she must consider unity and logical arrangement of ideas; appropriateness of language use; and proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and format. Those considerations make up a well-written text.
So, if you are to write anything, your writing must have the following characteristics:
- Coherence and cohesion
- Appropriate language use
- Proper mechanics
The first and primordial property of a well-written text is organization. It refers to the arrangement of ideas in a text. You can easily follow good organization when you create an outline of your ideas before you start. An outline is like the skeleton of the human body—the latter gives the body form while the former gives your writing basically the same thing. The form will make the readers see which ones are the major parts and which ones are the minor parts. An outline can be useful because it provides a format in which ideas can be arranged in a hierarchy—that is, it distinguishes the general ideas from the specific or subordinating ideas.
Coherence and Cohesion
Coherence and cohesion refer to the connection of ideas and connection between sentences and between paragraphs. As you have read previously, a text is connected discourse. This means that the ideas you will write on a topic will not be considered a well-written text if they do not stick together. In order for you to assure coherence and cohesion, you need to use transitional and cohesive devices. For instance, to provide coherence, you may use phrases that signal that you are adding more information (e.g. in addition, moreover), or referring to the previous statement (e.g. as mentioned earlier), or contrasting the previous statement (e.g. however), and so on. For providing cohesion, you must organize old and new information in your text. Organizing old and new information can be done by using certain vocabularies such as synonyms and antonyms, or repetition of words from the previous sentence, or using pronouns and conjunctions.
Appropriate Language Use
Appropriate language use refers to the acceptable style of language for a particular form of text. For business correspondences, for instance, the style must be concise and formal which is why writers of such texts should not use wordy phrases and must have a courteous tone to it. For literary pieces, on the other hand, the language and style may be less formal and more creative.
Mechanics refers to the conventions of writing which include capitalization, punctuation, spelling, numerals, abbreviations, acronyms, and contractions. You may have experienced being confused as to whether you have committed an error in grammar or mechanics when you accidentally put an apostrophe in the possessive pronoun it’s or in the plural form of a noun such as cats. These errors are not errors in grammar since you have demonstrated that you know the rules in forming the possessive pronoun and plural. Since you made a mistake in the use of punctuation, you committed an error in mechanics.