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Chapter 11

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  • 1. Ways to Structure Effective Sentences
      • Use lists.
      • Put new and important information at the end of the sentence.
      • Choose an appropriate sentence length.
      • Focus on the "real" subject.
      • Focus on the "real" verb.
      • Express parallel elements in parallel structures.
      • Use modifiers effectively.
  • 2. Guidelines for Creating Effective Lists
      • Set off each listed item with a number, a letter, or a symbol (usually a bullet).
      • Break up long lists.
      • Present the items in a parallel structure.
      • Structure and punctuate the lead-in correctly.
      • Punctuate the list correctly.
  • 3. Creating effective lists
    • Set off each item
    • Break up long lists:
    • Tool kit: Tool kit:
    • -hand saw - Saws
    • -hack saw - hand saw
    • -compass saw - hack saw
    • -box wrench - compass saw
    • -socket wrench -Wrenches
    • - box wrench
    • - socket wrench
  • 4.
    • Use parallel structure
    • Here is the sequence we plan to follow:
    • 1. construction of the preliminary proposal
    • 2. do library research
    • 3. interview with the vice president
    • 4. first draft
    • Here is the sequence we plan to follow:
    • 1. write the preliminary proposal
    • 2. do library research
    • 3. interview the vice president
    • 4. write the first draft
  • 5.
    • Use correct punctuation
    • The new facility will offer three advantages:
    • - lower leasing costs
    • - easier commuting distance
    • - a larger pool of potential workers
    • The new facility will offer three advantages:
    • - The leasing costs will be lower.
    • - The commuting distance will be shorter.
    • - The pool of potential workers will be larger.
  • 6. Put new and important info at the end of a sentence
    • The joint could fail under special circumstances.
    • Under special circumstances, the joint could fail.
  • 7. Choose Appropriate Sentence Length
      • Avoid overly long and overly short sentences.
      • Long sentences show relationships between ideas. Short sentences provide emphasis.
      • Focus on the “real” subject.
      • The use of this method would eliminate the problem.
      • This method would eliminate the problem.
      • There is no alternative for us except to withdraw the product.
      • We have no alternative except to withdraw the product.
  • 8.
    • Focus on the “real” verb.
    • Each preparation of the solution is done twice.
    • Each solution is prepared twice.
    • Avoid misplaced modifiers.
    • A large number of undeposited checks were found in the file cabinets worth over $40,000.
    • Avoid dangling modifiers.
    • When answering the question, his calculator fell to the floor.
  • 9.
    • Avoid run-on sentences.
    • Run-on: two main clauses joined without proper punctuation.
    • Wrong: I love technical communication it is a great class.
    • Correct: I love technical communication because it is a great class.
    • Wrong: Technical communication requires study, it can be difficult.
    • Correct: Technical communication requires study; it can be difficult.
    • Or: Technical communication requires study, and it can be difficult.
    • Wrong: It is hot today, however the rain should bring cooler weather.
    • Correct: It is hot today; however, the rain should bring cooler weather.
  • 10.
    • Verb must agree with its subject.
    • Wrong: Steve and Denise is in love.
    • Correct: Steve and Denise are in love.
    • Wrong: Bob or Jill are the candidate.
    • Correct: Bob or Jill is the candidate.
    • Wrong: Neither Steve nor Denise are in love.
    • Correct: Neither Steve nor Denise is in love.
    • Wrong: Each of my friends are students.
    • Correct: Each of my friends is a student.
  • 11. Choosing the Right Words and Phrases
      • Select an appropriate level of formality.
        • Informal
        • Moderately Formal
        • Formal
        • Think about: audience, subject, and purpose.
      • Be clear and specific.
      • Be concise.
      • Use inoffensive language.
  • 12. Two Reasons to Avoid an Informal Writing Style at the Office
      • Informal writing tends to be imprecise.
      • Informal writing can be embarrassing.
  • 13. Seven Guidelines to Make Your Writing Clear and Specific
      • Use the active voice and the passive voice appropriately.
      • Be specific.
      • Avoid unnecessary jargon.
      • Use positive constructions.
      • Avoid long noun strings.
      • Avoid clichés.
      • Avoid euphemisms.
  • 14. The Passive Voice is Acceptable in These Four Cases:
      • When the agent is clear from the context.
      • When the agent is unknown.
      • When the agent is less important than the action.
      • When a reference to the agent is embarrassing, dangerous, or in some other way inappropriate.
      • Active: Bob drove the van.
      • Passive: The van was driven by Bob.
  • 15.
    • That all this discussion is not merely academic semantics but rather hard facts of international politics can be testified to by those who have been involved in drafting this phrasing. (Nordenstreng, Journal of Communication, spring 1979.)
  • 16. Techniques for Being Specific
      • Use precise words.
      • Ford Taurus automobile
      • Provide adequate detail.
      • An engine on the plane experienced some difficulties.
      • The left engine on the Martin 411 lost power during flight.
      • Avoid ambiguity.
      • Ambiguous: After stirring by hand for 10 seconds, add three drops of the iodine mixture to the solution.
      • Better: Stir the iodine mixture by hand for 10 seconds. Then add three drops to the solution.
      • Or: Stir the solution by hand for 10 seconds. Then add three drops of the iodine mixture.
  • 17.
    • Avoid clich é s.
    • Afraid that we were between a rock and a hard place, we decided to throw caution to the winds with a grandstand play that would catch our competition with its pants down.
    • Afraid that we were in a difficult position, we decided on a risky, aggressive move that would surprise our competition.
    • Avoid euphemisms.
    • personnel surplus reduction dehiring
    • workforce imbalance correction decruiting
    • corporate downsizing indefinite idling
  • 18. Four Reasons to Avoid Unnecessary Jargon
      • It can be imprecise.
      • It can be confusing.
      • It is often seen as condescending.
      • It is often intimidating.
  • 19. Use Positive Constructions
    • If this analysis is correct, copyright and patent protection of knowledge may no longer be unnecessary. (Cyberspace and the American Dream, Release 1.2 August 22, 1994.)
  • 20. Five Ways to Be Concise
      • Avoid obvious statements .
      • The market for the sale of flash memory chips is dominated by two chip manufacturers: Intel and Advanced Micro Systems. These two chip manufacturers are responsible for 76 percent of the $1.3 billion market in flash memory chips last year.
      • The market for flash memory chips is dominated by Intel and Advanced Micro Systems, two companies that claimed 76 percent of the $1.3 billion industry last year.
  • 21.
      • Avoid filler.
      • I think that, basically, the board felt sort of betrayed, in a sense , by the kind of behavior the president displayed.
      • The board felt betrayed by the president’s behavior.
      • Avoid redundancy.
      • collaborate together each and every
      • past history still remain
      • end result completely eliminate
      • any and all very unique
      • at this point in time
  • 22.
      • Avoid unnecessary prepositional phrases.
      • Avoid wordy phrases.
      • I am of the opinion that, in regard to profit achievement, the statistics pertaining to this month will appear to indicate an upward tendency.
      • I think this month’s statistics will show an increase in profits.
      • Avoid pompous words and phrases.
      • expedite in view of the fact that
      • proficiency on a daily basis
      • employ prior to
      • utilize a majority of
      • attempt in the event that
      • endeavor at an early date
  • 23. Avoiding Sexist Language
      • Replace the male-gender words with non-gender-specific words. Chair or chairperson vs. chairman
      • Switch to a different form of the verb.
      • The operator must pass a test before he is promoted.
      • The operator must pass a test before being promoted.
      • Switch to the plural.
      • Operators must pass tests before they are promoted.
      • Switch to he or she , he/she , s/he , or his or her .
      • Address the reader directly.
  • 24. Five Guidelines for Writing about People with Disabilities
      • Refer to the person first, the disability second.
      • “ People with mental retardation,” not “the mentally retarded”
      • Don't confuse handicap with disability . A person can have a disability without being handicapped.
      • Don't refer to victimization.
      • “ a person with AIDS,” not “AIDS victim”
      • Don't refer to a person as "wheelchair bound" or "confined to a wheelchair."
      • Don't refer to people with disabilities as abnormal.
  • 25. Writing Numbers
    • When beginning a sentence with a number, spell it out. Seven people were invited to the party.
    • Spell out one through nine, except currency.
    • The test is six pages long.
    • Use numerals from 10 onward: My car gets 32 miles to the gallon.
    • Decades: 1960s, not 1960’s.
    • Currency: $43, not $43 dollars.
    • After the thousands (1,340): 110 thousand, four million, etc.
  • 26. Confusing words
    • Affect, Effect
    • Ensure, Insure, Assure
    • Discrete, Discreet
    • It’s, Its
    • To, Too
    • Than, Then
    • site, sight, cite
  • 27. Techniques to Make It Easy to Translate Your Writing into Other Languages
      • Use short sentences.
      • Use the active voice.
      • Use simple words.
      • Include a glossary.
      • Use words that have only one meaning.
      • Use pronouns carefully.
      • Avoid jokes, puns, and culture-bound references.