top-rated free essay

Technical Writing

By beiancaflor Nov 20, 2012 889 Words
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.

Part I
Reader Adaptation
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. *Using simple, familiar, concrete words
One of the essential qualities of a good report is that it clear, concise and convenient and adds that “the use of technical words should be limited as far as possible to those which those prospective readers are familiar”. *Avoiding overworked words and phrases

Trite words and phrasesare not necessarily wrong, their frequent use makes them tiresome to discriminating readers. *Avoiding Technical Jargon
Avoid shoptalk or technical slang. Such work may be clear to workers in your scientific or technical field but they will not serve your purpose if they are not known to your readers. Sentence Structure and Length

Good technical writing calls for a natural word order, simple sentence structure, and fairly short sentences.
The normal, natural order of elements in English sentences is (1) subject, (2) verb and (3) object or complement. Each of this element may be modified or qualified by adjectives or adverbs.
Make most of your sentences simple in structure and natural in order, but to vary the pattern enough to avoid unpleasant monotony and to provide proper emphasis.
You should also be careful about sentence length.
Paragraph Structure and Length
Typically, a paragraph begins with a sentence (the topic sentence) which sates the gist of the idea to be developed. The other sentences of the paragraph develop, support and clarify this center idea.

The requirements of technical style urge you to follow the tried practice of placing the topic sentence first in the paragraph, or, at the very latest, just after whatever transitional sentences appear.

Two considerations govern paragraph length: unity of the thought and the eye relief for the reader.
To sum up, remember that all sentences in a paragraph must be about the same topic; but also remember that paragraph should not be too long.

Part II
Common Errors in Usage
*Special subject-verb relationship
Two constructions give inexperienced writers a great deal of trouble: (1) sentences in which the subject is essentially plural but technically (or grammatically) singular and (2) sentences with relative clauses. Remember that the verb following a relative pronoun must agree with the noun to which the pronoun refers. *Vague use of “This”, “Which” and “It”

Since a pronoun conveys no information in itself but is meaningful only in reference to the word or phrase for which it stands, the references should be unmistakably clear. “Ambiguity” is the fault when reference is not clear. *Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is one which has nothing to modify logically or grammatically, or one which seems to modify a word it cannot possibly modify. Remember that any phrase expressing action must be related to a specific word that names the actor. *Lack of Parallel Structure

Parallelism means the use of similar grammatical structure in writing clauses, phrases or words expressing ideas or facts which are roughly equal in value. A failure to maintain parallelism results in what is called a “shifted construction”. Mechanics of Style

Mechanics of style is the use of abbreviations, numbers, symbols, word forms, capitals, italics, and punctuation.
Abbreviations should be used only when they are certain to be understood by the reader. Otherwise, the terms should be spelled out.
Symbols are generally to be avoided in text.
The sole purpose of punctuation is to clarify thought, to make reading easy. Punctuation which does not contribute to this purpose should be avoided.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Technical writing

    ...Technical, Scientific, and Business English Lesson Title Lesson Target Lesson No. Date 01 21 Oct 2013 Definition and Nature of Technical Writing Discuss the nature of technical writing. References Title Author Handbook for Technical Writing, Technical Writing Style Shelton, James. Handbook for Technical Writing. Illinio...

    Read More
  • The Nature of Technical Writing

    ... Technical, Scientific, and Business English Lesson No. 01 Date 21 Oct 2013 Lesson Title Definition and Nature of Technical Writing Lesson Target Discuss the nature of technical writing. References Title Handbook for Technical Writing, Technical Writing Style Author Shelton, James. ...

    Read More
  • Technical writing

    ...1. What is the generic term of technical writing? according to Tyagi and Misra (2012), the generic term of technical writing is writing. 2. Define what Technical writing is and discuss its nature. technical writing - Written communications done on the job, especially in fields with specialized vocabularies, such as science, engineeri...

    Read More
  • Fundamentals of Technical Writing

    ...Fundamentals of Technical Writing ENG221 University of Phoenix Technical writing and expository writing are both designed to instruct the reader, however technical writing expects the reader to take some sort of action based upon the reading. In the workplace technical wr...

    Read More
  • technical writing

    ...Technical writing is any written form of technical communication used in a variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. The Society for Technical Communication defines technical communication as any form of c...

    Read More
  • technical writing style

    ... Technical Writing Style As you draft and edit, it is helpful to keep in mind the effective ways to present sentences and paragraphs. When you revise your drafts, check the language and remove any area of possible confusion. If you have repeated any word, see whether you can change the sentence. The following passages will help you to be ...

    Read More
  • Technical Writing

    ...Definitions of Technical Writing Technical writing refers to straightforward explanations and/or instructions dealing with a particular technical subject. The subject being written about may be abstract or tangible. Regardless, the writing must be easy to understand and follow. As with any writing project, the audience understanding level must ...

    Read More
  • Scientific and Techhnical Writing

    ...Business 1.1 Definition of Technical Writing……………………………………………………………..……6 1.2 Distinction among Business English, Literary English and Technical English…………………7 1.3 Business English………………………………………………………………………...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.