June 20, 2024

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Emphasis and Subordination in Writing

2 min read

Sometimes, a single paragraph can be used to discuss multiple ideas. Despite the presence of several concepts, however, we’d normally want to keep readers’ attention on one of them, relegating all the others as background. How do you do that? By using appropriate emphasis and subordination within your text.

There are several ways to give ideas emphasis and subordination to your ideas, some of which you’ll be probably feel more comfortable using over others. We suggest working towards incorporating them all into your writing, though. It will help vary your construction, enabling your writing to sound more dynamic and fresh. We’re not sure about the specific English writing software you’re using, but some of them do integrate similar concepts in their suggestions.

Sentence length. Want to give an emphasis? Put it in a short sentence where it receives all the attention from the reader. On the opposite end, you can subordinate the same idea by placing it within a compound or complex structure. The shorter and more straightforward a sentence is, the more forceful the idea it communicates usually gets across.

Active and passive voice. Active voice puts emphasis on the actor – the one carrying out the action in the sentence. Passive voice, on the other hand, places more attention on action being performed. Use both according to what each sentence you write aims to accomplish.

Position. Ideas found in your introduction and your conclusion usually receive the most emphasis, making those two parts of a document the most crucial for conveying desired information. If you’re fine with a concept staying in the background, keep it out of those two places and put it in the body.

Adjectives. Putting a modifier, such as “incredibly vital,” before an idea is one way to emphasize it. Calling it a “minor point,” on the other hand, works out very well to keep it out of the limelight.

Repetition. The most important ideas are usually repeated several times in a text, while subordinated ones tend to make singular appearances.

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