CHAPTER 3: STYLE IN TECHNICAL WRITING (Summary)
Technical style is the way you write when dealing with technical subject matter. Technical writing style is distinguished by a calm, restrained tone, by an absence of any attempt to arouse emotion, by the use of specialized terminology, and by an accepted convention of the use of abbreviations, numbers, and symbols.
Knowing the reader and the purpose of a report permits what is generally called “reader adaptation”, that is, writing the report to suit the needs, knowledge, and interests of the reader. The Scientific Attitude
Long established convention dictates that formal reports be written in the third person, generally in the passive voice. Exclusion of personal pronouns produces a style consistent in tone with objectivity, and that the use of the passive voice permits placing emphasis on the subject matter of the report rather than upon who worked with the subject matter.
It is also necessary to exclude words and phrases of an emotional sort unwarranted by the subject matter. Making Sentences Say What You Mean
The technical writer must be certain that he is expressing his thought accurately. A great deal of bad writing results from the writer’s failure to think carefully enough about what his sentences actually say.
To avoid mistakes of this kind, put aside a piece of writing for as long as you can after finishing the first draft. Leave it until you can see the words instead of the pictures in your head. Precision in the Use of Words
*Knowing what words mean
Many words are used incorrectly in technical writing. Reference to a good dictionary will help. *Avoiding vague words
Precision of meaning is not lost through outright error in the use of terms but by the use of words which do not convey the exact meaning demanded. *Leaving out unnecessary words
Words which serve no useful purpose should be rigorously weeded out of your reports during the process of revision....
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