GPT-4 Tuning for Writing Style
Here's an example of what you'd get if you asked GPT-4 "Please draft a three paragraph argument in favor of open borders":
Open borders have long been a subject of contentious debate; however, there are compelling reasons to consider the merits of such a policy. The concept of open borders calls for the free movement of people across national boundaries, promoting a more inclusive and integrated global community. A fundamental argument in favor of open borders is rooted in the principles of human rights and equality. By advocating for the unrestricted movement of people, open borders dismantle barriers that perpetuate inequality and discrimination based on nationality or socioeconomic status. Every individual, regardless of their country of origin, should be granted equal opportunities to seek a better life, education, and employment.
Another compelling argument in favor of open borders is the potential for economic growth and increased global prosperity. By allowing for the free movement of labor, countries can benefit from an influx of skilled and unskilled workers, filling gaps in the labor market and contributing to the nation's overall productivity. Research has shown that immigrants often complement native-born workers, rather than competing with them, leading to a more robust and efficient economy. Furthermore, open borders facilitate international trade, investment, and the exchange of ideas and technology, promoting innovation and economic development on a global scale.
Lastly, open borders can be a driving force for cultural diversity and social enrichment. As people from various backgrounds, traditions, and belief systems interact and integrate, societies become more diverse, open-minded, and tolerant. Cultural exchange fosters a deeper understanding of different perspectives and promotes empathy, helping to build bridges between communities and challenge stereotypes. Embracing open borders contributes to the creation of a more harmonious and interconnected world, in which our shared humanity is celebrated and cultural differences are seen as a source of richness and growth, rather than division.
But suppose you gave it the following prompts first instead:
Hello! I would like to ask for your help with writing. But before we start I want to give you some instructions on the style of writing I would like you to adopt. If that’s okay, please answer, “Okay.”
It says, "Okay"
Great! I would like you to follow the style guidelines recommended by the late Joseph M. Williams, who taught writing at the Little Red Schoolhouse at the University of Chicago. Williams taught that clear and graceful writing obeyed principles, including the following:
Characters as Subjects. Whenever possible the subject of a sentence should be a character, and when possible a flesh-and-blood person.
Actions as Verbs. Whenever possible, the verbs of a sentence should be specific actions that could be taken by a flesh-and-blood person.
Together, principles 1 and 2 mean avoiding nominalizations, which means turning verbs into abstract nouns — when we nominalize “nominalize” we create the nominalization “nominalization.” Using flesh-and-blood characters as subjects and actions as verbs turns writing into a story, which is clearer and easier for readers to understand than sentences constructed from nominalizations and generic verbs. But there can be useful exceptions to the rule against using nominalizations. Nominalizations are okay in a subject that refers to the previous sentence. For example, “These arguments all depend on a single unproven claim.” A succinct nominalization can also replace an awkward “the fact that.” For example, “Her acknowledgment of the problem impressed me” is better than “The fact that she acknowledged the problem impressed me.” And nominalizations are okay when they are used to name what would be the object of the verb: “I accepted her request” is better than “I accepted what she requested.”
Williams also recommended maintaining cohesion or a sense of flow by starting the next sentence in a paragraph with information that appeared toward the end of the previous sentence. Use of passive voice is okay when it is used to provide cohesion and a sense of flow. In addition, Williams recommended maintaining coherence in writing by beginning each sentence in a paragraph with words that together are related to each other and can tell us what the passage is about. These words are usually the subject of the sentences. For clarity, Williams recommended that important new concepts should be introduced at the sentence’s end. For example, it is clearer to end sentences with long and complex phrases or new information, particularly technical terms. Emphasis occurs naturally at a sentence’s end. Williams also taught five principles of concision, including:
Delete words that mean little or nothing
Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words
Delete words implied by other words
Replace a phrase with a word
Change negatives to affirmatives
Being more concise by using these principles makes writing clearer. But some metadiscourse, such as an outline of what you’re going to tell the reader is okay. For example, “First, I’m going to talk about apples. Second I’m going to talk about oranges.” And some hedging words, such as “perhaps,” “seems,” and “could” are also okay. Williams also offered rules of thumb for how to shape prose. Rule of Thumb 1: Get to the subject quickly, avoiding sentences that start with long introductory phrases or clauses. Rule of Thumb Two: Get past the subject to its verbs quickly, by keeping subjects short and avoiding or shortening any phrases between the subject and verb. Williams also recommended avoiding sprawling sentences with many coordinating clauses by using modifiers, including resumptive, summative, and free modifiers. When coordinating, elements should be arranged to go from shorter to longer. If you understand, please answer, “Okay.”
It says, "Okay"
Now if you ask it for the same prompt, but after the tuning:
Please draft a three paragraph argument in favor of open borders that conforms to Williams's style.
Here's an example of what you would get:
The world's nations have long grappled with the complexities of immigration. Open borders, however, present a solution that could benefit both immigrants and host countries. By adopting this policy, countries could experience economic growth, cultural enrichment, and a reduction in global inequality.
Economic growth often follows the introduction of open borders. When workers move freely between countries, they fill labor shortages and bring valuable skills, boosting the host nation's productivity. Additionally, immigrants contribute to the economy through taxes and consumer spending, which in turn creates new job opportunities. Cultural enrichment is another advantage of open borders. As people with diverse backgrounds come together, they share their unique customs, languages, and ideas. This exchange fosters creativity, innovation, and mutual understanding between different cultures.
Admittedly, concerns about security and the strain on public services arise when discussing open borders. However, by implementing proper screening processes and resource management, these challenges can be addressed. In the long run, open borders could help reduce global inequality by providing opportunities for people from impoverished countries to seek better lives. In conclusion, embracing open borders promises numerous benefits, including economic growth, cultural enrichment, and a more equitable world for all.
I find this flabbergasting. You can teach it how to write. It learns faster than people do. You can also ask GPT-4 to explain how its writing follows Williams's principles, and GPT-4 will explain. I can't get over my excitement about this tool.