Grant applications should be written in what we call assert-justify style. The first sentence in each paragraph carries the message of the paragraph. The sentence makes an assertion or statement. The remainder of the paragraph justifies or explains the statement that was made in the first sentence.
There are two obvious reasons to use assert-justify style for grant-applications.
- Speed-readers, who typically only read the first line of each paragraph, will get the message because the message will always be in the first line of the paragraph.
- Assert-justify style sustains the interest of the reader because it tells them what is important immediately. Then, if they need to be convinced they can read what could be a relatively lengthy justification for the statement.
The only difficulty about assert-justify style is that many writers, particularly academics, find it difficult to write a statement until they have written the justification. For this reason it is necessary to check what you have written and, if necessary, convert it into assert-justify style as follows.
- Read each paragraph carefully.
- Find the sentence that carries the message.
- Move the message sentence to the beginning of the paragraph.
- Then edit the remaining sentences so that the paragraph still makes sense.
In my next post a less obvious reason for using assert-justify style will become clear. It makes it possible for you to generate a first draft of the most difficult and important part of the case for support with no effort at all.