Tips for Transactional Writing

What is transactional writing?

A transaction is defined as buying or selling something. As an example, you may be trying to sell your point of view in a piece of writing. This type of writing could include a letter, a speech or an article.

Transactional writing tasks are asking you to communicate an idea to a specific audience, for a specific reason. For those of you taking AQA English Language, the following tips apply to Paper 2 Section B.

Tip 1: Avoid Unnecessary Words

It can be tempting to use more words than you can actually need. When you edit your work, cut out any words you don’t actually need. See this example:

The car travels at the speed of 70 mph.

The following is far more effective:

The car travels at 70 mph.

Edit these two sentences:

  1. It takes seven hours in time to drive from Newcastle to Inverness.
  2. The cup contains a quarter of a pint in volume.

See how it has more impact?

Tip 2: Avoid Qualifiers

We often use qualifiers in our writing but more often than not they don't really add anything other than clutter.

Watch out for words like essentially and totally. 

Go through a piece of your writing and spot the qualifiers. Can you get rid of any of them?

Tip 3: Use the Active Voice

The active voice has far more punch than the passive voice. Find out what this means here.

Check out the difference:

Passive: The ball was kicked into the net by the star player.

Active: The star player kicked the ball into the back of the net.

When you have written a piece of work cut and paste into Hemingway App - it will immediately show you which sentences to change from passive to active voice.

Tip 4: Use Adjectives in Moderation

You may have been taught the power of the adjective when writing creative descriptions, but in transactional they should be limited, and used only when they add something to the point you are making. Using empty adjectives can make it look as though you are padding your writing out and makes it less compelling and convincing (two adjectives that characterise top band writing!).

Tip 5: Beware the Exclamation Mark!

Too many of these and your writing will look amateurish. Use judiciously, for example when really emphasising a point. Otherwise, use with caution. In journalism, exclamation marks are known as 'screamers' - and you definitely don't want your written work to scream at the reader.

Tip 6: The 5Ws

Whether your transactional writing is a speech, a letter or an article the same advice applies: address the 5Ws near the start of your work. This is a simple strategy that never goes out of fashion. If your work does not answer the following questions in some way, then it should.





Why? How?