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TECHNICAL WRITING STYLE(do’s)

24 Nov

Technical writing

One specific area of communication that involves transmitting and understanding the knowledge of a technical subject to others that need to know the basics and details of the subject in question. In written form, this type of communication is called technical writing.

Goal of a technical writer

Remember that your aim as a technical writer is not to impress, but to inform.

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In Technical Writing Style

DO’s

  • •     Important information first
  • •     Normal word order
  • •     Sentence length
  • •     Active voice
  • •     Parallel structure
  • •     Preview List
  • •     Keep it real

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FIRST

By putting important information at the beginning of a sentence, we make that sentence easier to understand(or in paragraph). It also serves to clarify what is the most important part of the sentence.

Important information first

•     Unclear: Its unwise to walk  area near the cliff edge, walking there may result in a dangerous fall and therefore it is recommended that one remains a safe distance to maintain personal safety.

•     Clear:

Danger — Stay away from the cliff its very steep.

NORMAL WORD ORDER:

Subject verb order(SVO). By using this order the sentences become more clarified.

SUBJECT VERB OBJECT

Umer eats apple.

Many  people hate America.

SENTENCE LENGTH

The length of a sentence is vitally important in conveying information, which is of course the primary task of the technical writer. The ideal sentence length for technical writing is somewhere between 15 and 25 words, and varying the length of your sentences makes for lively reading.

ACTIVE VOICE

In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb. Active voice is shorter and more interesting to read.

For passive voice object becomes the subject and vice versa.

PARALLEL STRUCTURE

Parallel construction signals to the reader that two ideas are of equal importance. If two or more ideas or items are connected by a coordinating conjunction such as “and”, “but” or “or”, then those ideas should be expressed in parallel or equivalent grammatical constructs. Items and ideas of equal importance should be presented using equivalent grammatical structures.

•    Not Parallel:
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.

•     Parallel:
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.

PREVIEW LIST

Lists are a useful tool in technical writing.  Preview list contains the keywords to be used in the document. They can be presented in both ways : vertical and horizontal.

Preview list example

Communication is divided into two types

•     Verbal communication

•     Non-verbal communication

KEEP IT REAL(You):

Maintain focus and only give information about the task at hand .Write what you have experienced. Use “you” to point to the reader.

•     e.g.  I took the training course so that you could experience the problems firsthand.

•             I took the training course so that I could experience the problems firsthand.

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4 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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4 responses to “TECHNICAL WRITING STYLE(do’s)

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    February 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

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