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What is Professional Writing? - Definition, Lesson & Quiz

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Vivian Taylor

Professional writing is a type of written communication used in the workplace. Learn its function and examine examples in this lesson. Comprehension will be gauged with a quiz.

We also recommend watching How to Write an Outline and Writing for Your Audience

Definition

Professional writing is a style of written communication used in a workplace environment that allows professionals (e.g. businesspeople, professors, doctors, lawyers, etc.) to make informed decisions. Professional writing typically has a formal tone and differs from written text that is considered literary or artistic, which generally seeks to entertain and/or convey a philosophical truth.

Purpose

The general purpose of professional writing is to convey information to readers within a workplace context. The specific function of professional writing can be one or a mixture of the following, depending on context:

  • To encourage action
  • To instruct
  • To persuade
  • To inform
  • To affirm shared goals

Professional writing allows various types of professionals to communicate ideas to each other despite their different areas of expertise. For example, an engineer can explain her newly invented solar panel to the sales team by writing a paper.

Examples

No matter what you do or where you work, you're likely to see numerous examples of professional writing. A few include:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles are found in academic or scholarly publications and meant to further research and knowledge on a particular topic
  • Newsletters are used either within or outside a company to explain new happenings
  • Codes of ethics in which a workplace spells out what they consider acceptable conduct
  • White papers wherein an authority on a subject writes a paper to convince other, less-knowledgeable parties of a certain position
  • Service charters that let employees know what duties they should provide customers of their organization
  • Government statistics and reports detailing anything U.S. citizens or businesses might need to know
  • Business proposals that attempt to convince a buyer of a product or service
  • Operations manuals that explain how to work a piece of equipment or simply how to conduct oneself
  • Brochures to inform or sell in bite-sized, visually appealing ways

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