6 Tips for Achieving an Objective Tone in Writing
  • 5-minute read
  • 11th July 2021

6 Tips for Achieving an Objective Tone in Writing

An objective tone is standard in most formal business and academic writing. But how can you make your writing sound objective? Our top tips include:

  1. Try to avoid unnecessary use of the first person and first-person pronouns.
  2. Focus on facts and cite sources clearly to back up your claims.
  3. Aim to be balanced and consider multiple perspectives.
  4. Beware of emotive language that betrays a subjective opinion.
  5. Use a formal writing style throughout.
  6. Have your writing proofread to make sure it is always error-free.

For more detail on how to achieve an objective tone in writing, keep reading.

1. Try Not to Use the First Person

Objective writing aims for a neutral, impersonal tone. As such, you should try to minimise your use of the first person and first-person pronouns such as ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’, which put too much focus on you as the writer of the document.

One solution here is to use the passive voice. For instance:

I will outline the main arguments. -> The main arguments will be outlined.

However, this can sound awkward or leave your writing unclear (e.g. the sentence above does not specify who or what will outline the arguments). As such, it is often better to stick to the active voice and use the third person instead. For example:

This paper will outline the main arguments.

Here, the meaning is clear, but we avoid using any first-person pronouns.

2. Focus on Facts and Data

Objective writing should be clear and factual. As such, you will need to:

  • Research your topic extensively – Before you start writing, make sure to research the topic in detail so you are clear on the facts.
  • Always cite your sourcesCiting sources adds credibility to your writing by showing your reader where your information came from.
  • Consider your sources ­– Where you get information from matters. Your sources should be unbiased, especially for academic writing. Before citing something or quoting a fact, then, make sure it is coming from a trustworthy source.

If you can back up your claims with well-researched facts, your writing will come across as much more objective than if you simply make unsupported claims.

3. Be Fair and Balanced

If you present only one side of an argument in your writing, it could appear biased and lose credibility. To achieve an objective tone, then, you must show balance. And this means weighing different viewpoints and perspectives.

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This is especially important if you are presenting an argument in academic writing, where acknowledging potential counterarguments or competing points of view is a key part of testing the strength of your position. But it also applies to business writing, where considering multiple perspectives provides important context and shows that you have researched the issue thoroughly.

You don’t always have to give every opinion equal weight or present every possible argument, though, or you run the risk of overwhelming the reader with too much information. Instead, focus on the key perspectives in the subject area.

4. Avoid Emotive Language

Typically, objective writing should avoid emotive language or words that suggest a subjective opinion. For example:

Smith (2020) offers a brilliantly clever solution to this terrible problem.

Here, ‘brilliantly clever’ and ‘terrible’ don’t add anything substantive to the sentence. Rather, they signal something about the author’s opinion. And by adding this kind of emotive language, we prompt the reader to respond in a particular way (e.g. to see the solution as ‘brilliantly clever’).

This is not to say you should never offer an opinion in objective writing (e.g. you may need to weigh the benefits of certain actions and recommend the best option to meet a specific objective, which will inevitably involve an element of opinion). But you should present your opinions in a neutral tone and back them up with facts, not relying on emotive or otherwise subjective language to influence your reader.

5. Keep Your Writing Formal

As well as the subjective and emotive language discussed so far, objective writing should avoid informal and colloquial language. This includes:

  • Using standard spelling and grammar throughout.
  • Avoiding contractions (e.g. instead of using ‘can’t’, use ‘cannot’).
  • Cutting out all slang and informal figures of speech.
  • Using the correct technical language for your subject area.

This formal style is common in business and academic writing as it reduces the strength of the individual’s voice and thus contributes to an objective tone.

6. Have Your Work Proofread

Errors in writing suggest a lack of care or attention to detail (even when this isn’t true). To make sure your documents have a truly objective, authoritative tone, then, it pays to have them proofread by writing experts.

Our editors are available 24/7, all year round, so we are always here to help. You can even try our services for free! Get in touch today to find out more.

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