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Lower Order Concerns: Does Your Document Look Professional?

Summary:

When you are revising your résumé or other business messages, there are priorities of concerns in choosing what to look for and work on. This handout provides tips for reviewing the content and quality of your business documents.

Save the Lower Order Concerns, the LOCs, for the last draft, when you are ready to look closely at specific points of grammar and mechanics. Many authors overlook the importance of LOCs, thinking that grammar and mechanics don't matter to busy professionals. However, language, tone, grammar and mechanics influence your communication's readability and persuasiveness. If your audience can't read your sentences because they are riddled with errors, your persuasiveness will decrease and your credibility will suffer. Though you are looking for LOCs after you deal with HOCs, LOCs are just as important as the HOCs in business writing.

Sentence Structure, Punctuation, Word Choice, and Spelling

Clarity, consistency, and conciseness are essential to business writing that presents information accurately, efficiently, and persuasively. Your attention to details will increase the rhetorical effectiveness of your document.

  • Have you used clear language?
    • Use the BLUF method: you don't want to bluff your audience, so put the Bottom Line Up Front. See the Paramedic Method page for details on clarity.
  • Have you used parallelism, the use of similar structures for similar ideas, to make your document consistent?
  • Have you chosen appropriate voice, active or passive, for each sentence?
  • Have you checked for possible spelling and grammatical errors?
    • Proofread out loud. Give your document to someone else to proof. If possible, have your audience read the document and provide feedback. See the Audience Analysis page for details on readers.
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.