Given form follows function, it’s not surprising that explicating causal and correlational relationships warrants some fairly long winded sentences. Professional writing is fundamentally transactional: usually if you are writing it is because you are trying to solve some kind of a problem. Effective professional and technical writing is honest, accurate, correct, and complete. English commonly uses a noun as an adjective, which can cause unwieldy phrases. Here are the rules. Use the convention appropriate for the type of writing, but even more importantly, use the same convention all the way through the document or project. Free short videos are available from TWFred (an author of Wikiversity's Technical Writing Course) explaining technical writing strategies and techniques. With adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people: (But: I'm visiting The United States of America next week. Often, you can clarify this with a hyphen between, for example, two nouns used as adjectives (as in the phrase "flat-bed plotter"). All they want is to get the information they came for as quickly as possible. Never say, "...as has been said before," "..each and every," "...point in time," etc. IOWs, they are likely to be willing to move beyond traditional genres and alphabetical text to embrace the possibility of new media. In technical writing, the gender-neutral pronouns, they, them, or their, are preferable to the verbose he or she/his or her/him or her. If the audience habitually uses a particular metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, you can use it too. Technical audiences are fickle, distracted, and easily confused. For additional information, please visit some of our other blogs: Or consider taking our technical writing workshop!  Do not use irregular contractions, or contractions that reflect future tense or passive voice—e.g., "...the motor'll start.". Academic writing, depending on audience, can have extremely long paragraphs. Do what is reasonable in your circumstance. Avoid unnecessary repetition, redundant jargon, and passive voice. If they are writing technical documentation, then the style should be formal, devoid of the emotion you get with creative writing. Get tips, tutorials, and updates sent straight to your inbox when you sign up for our newsletter. Use active voice, appropriate grammatical person, present tense, and the imperative mood. Readers aren’t reading for pleasure. Modern technical writing directly addresses the reader in an unpretentious way. Split long sentences into two or more chunks. OUTLINE Introduction (3) Characters and Actions (3) Nominalizations (6) Concision (6) Most people can associate between five and nine data items together. You need to check and double check your facts. The audience for professional and technical writers is quite different than the audience for academic texts. Technical writing is about producing clear, plain instructions for a specific audience. Each of these events happen in the present, so good technical writing uses the present tense almost exclusively. Source: by Barry Millman, Ph.D. For best results, use them often and in the formal writing setting. Again, there is no iron rule. Good writing is original and clear. A Technical Writing Prose Style often shares a number of universally praised stylistic attributes, including. Participating Author: Susan F. Dictionaries, thesauruses and grammar checkers, Structuring Descriptions, Steps, and Outcomes, https://en.wikiversity.org/w/index.php?title=Technical_writing/Style&oldid=2234234, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. How procedures can save money, time and lives. Understand the audience and speak directly to the reader. Every now and then, we need revisit the basic principles of technical writing. While it is good to have a wide vocabulary, technical writing is not the place for showing off linguistic abilities. This doesn’t mean sentences should adopt a primer style but it does mean that sentences need to move from the given to the new and keep the same grammatical subject from sentence to sentence (when possible) in order to create flow. Write clearly, using words the audience understands. Often, it is possible to replace an entire phrase with a single word. A Beginner’s View. The second person point of view addresses a reader or listener directly. In contrast, professional and technical writing rarely deploys long paragraphs. Technical writing is information delivery. "Jargon" is a field's specialist vocabulary. Readers process and understand short, active voice sentences. Here is an example of the imperative mood with the pronoun your: Plain language specifications generally specify that you use contractions where appropriate. Technical Writing Prose Style is a style of writing that typifies the texts of professional and technical writers. ), (But: we're having lunch with the Morgans tomorrow.).
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