Business Writing

A Useful Tool to Check Your Writing

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A few days ago I discovered a useful text analysis tool. It seems it’s used regularly in education these days, so some of you may already be familiar with it.

You can use this tool before you write, to plan your writing, and you can use it at the end to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

The tool is SOAPSTONE.

When we look at the first part of the word, SOAPS, each letter stands for something that we need to think about with our writing

S           speaker

O           occasion

A            audience

P            purpose

S            subject

The final part of the word, Tone, refers to the tone of our writing.

To use this tool effectively there are a series of questions to ask yourself.


  • Who are you?
  • What is your perspective on what you are writing?
  • What are your values in relation to what you are writing?
  • What details will you reveal?
  • Why is it important that your audience know who you are?


  • How does your knowledge of the occasion affect what you are writing about?
  • What are you writing for, and how does it fit into the bigger picture?


  • What are the characteristics of your audience? And their values?
  • What assumptions are you making about your audience?
  • How are the audience members related to you?
  • Why are you addressing them?


  • What to you hope to accomplish with your writing?
  • How would you like your audience to respond?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • What evidence are you going to provide to your audience?


  • What are you talking about?


  • What do you want your audience to feel?
  • How will your attitude make the piece of writing more effective?
  • What is your attitude? (Try choosing a few words before you write that accurately reflect the attitude you want to convey)

Try using this tool next time you write. Thinking about, and answering, each of these questions will help you make sure that your writing achieves what you want it to achieve.