Lesson 1 nature of technical writing


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Lesson 1 nature of technical writing

  1. 1. TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND BUSINESS ENGLISH (ENGL301) Leonessa D. Tabios ldtabios@ama.edu.ph
  2. 2. TOPIC: The Nature of Technical Writing
  3. 3. Objectives for this lesson: 1. Discuss the purposes of technical writing. 2. Explain the basic principles of technical writing. 3. Enumerate the guidelines for effective technical writing.
  4. 4. What is Technical Writing? Technical writing communicates specific and factual information to a defined audience for a defined purpose.
  5. 5. Purpose of Technical Writing 1.To inform, 2.To analyze events and their implications, 3.And to persuade and influence decisions.
  6. 6. Properties of Technical Writing 1. Purpose 2. Subject matter 3. Audience
  7. 7. Basic Principles of Technical Writing 1. Understanding the listener/reader. 2. Knowing the purpose of each technical report. 3. Knowing the subject matter. 4. Writing objectively 5. Using correct format 6. Adopting ethical standards
  8. 8. Effective Technical Writing 1. Write Clear Sentences  Keep the main idea on top "Doubts persist over World Cup 2007." (Note how the interest of the reader is immediately captured.) (Now the details follow.)"Clouds are gathering over the West Indies, and they are more than rain-bearing masses of cumulous. With eight months and a few days to go for the 2007 World Cup, doubts are increasingly being aired about the ability of the region to host a venture of such and complexity." Thus readers are informed about the crux of the problem so that they are interested to read on.
  9. 9. Effective Technical Writing  Use Normal Word Order  Subject-verb-object Read the following sentence. "Finance Minister on Tuesday backed the Central Bank's decision to increase interest rates, stating that the move was aimed at containing inflation." The sentence is clear, though a little long (23 words) and follows natural flow.
  10. 10. Effective Technical Writing  Use Normal Word Order  Subject-verb-object Example: In low water temperatures and high toxicity levels of oil, we tested how well the microorganisms survived. We tested how well the microorganisms survived in low water temperatures and high toxicity levels of oil.
  11. 11. Effective Technical Writing  Use Active Voice I completed the work in time (active voice as the subject acts here.) My mobile was stolen (passive voice as the subject is acted upon.) Manufacturers add preservatives to food products to increase their shelf-life (emphasis is on manufacturers, which is not correct.) Preservatives are added to food products to increase their shelf-life (emphasis is on preservatives, which is correct. In such cases, passive voice should be used.)
  12. 12. Effective Technical Writing  Use Active Voice The passive voice may be a better choice, however, when:  The doer of the action is unknown, unwanted, or unneeded in the sentence E.g. The ballots have been counted. Sometimes our efforts are not fully appreciated  The writer wishes to emphasize the action of the sentence rather than the doer of the action E.g. The high-jump record was finally broken last Saturday. A suspect was questioned for sixteen hours by the police.
  13. 13. Effective Technical Writing  Use Parallelism (wrong) The vendors promise that they will replace the old machine and to attend to the new order. (correct) The vendors promise that they will replace the old machine and will attend to the new order. (wrong) My friends never judged me by my actions or what I did. (correct) My friends never judged me by my words or my actions.
  14. 14. Effective Technical Writing  Repeat for Emphasis The doctrine of "No work, no pay" is a fundamental axioms in industrial relations. The philosophy is very simple. When a person is employed, he is expected to carry out the work assigned to him. When he does not do so, he is not eligible for payment of any salary. Even when a general strike disrupts public transport systems, and consequently employees are unable to reach their work places, the same principle prevails. Of course corporate may permit their staff to avail themselves of any leave to their credit. Even die-hard trade union leaders respect this principle. "No work, no pay" lays a strong foundation to industrial peace and harmony in the long run.
  15. 15. Effective Technical Writing  Repeat for Emphasis Provide Transitions Connect sentences by using words that signal a sequence or pattern. Sequence: first, second, next. Addition: and, further. Contrast: but, however, nevertheless.
  16. 16. Effective Technical Writing  Avoid Wordiness Examples of Wordiness Examples of Compactness Came to the conclusion Utilization of Make Revisions Make an amendment to Concluded Use Revise Amend
  17. 17. Effective Technical Writing  Avoid Redundancy During (the year) of 2006 (Needless to say) (New) innovation The (other) alternative is (already) existing at (the) present (time) (basic) fundamentals (completely) eliminate (continue to) remain Currently (being) (empty) space Introduced (a new) mix (together) Never (before) Now (at this time) Period (of time) Private (industry) (separate) entities Start (out) (still) persists
  18. 18. Effective Technical Writing 2. Choose a Tone A. Forceful tone - when the writer is in command  I have decided to introduce Performance Appraisal System forthwith in our organization. B. Passive voice - when the reader has more power than the writer  The instructions to implement the new Evaluation System has been complied with.
  19. 19. Effective Technical Writing 2. Choose a Tone C. Personal tone - implies that reader and writer are equal.  David, thanks for your suggestion about maintenance routine. It has given good results. D. Impersonal tone - employed when the writer is not important and the situation is neutral.  A proposal to introduce quality circle has been made.
  20. 20. Effective Technical Writing 3. Use Positive Words and Verbs Positive Words Advantage effective satisfied value success benefit asset profitable favorable Positive Verbs Positive verbs motivate your readers. Some of the verbs that motivate your readers into action are here. Accomplish plan achieve produce implement Prepare organize assess promote exceed
  21. 21. Effective Technical Writing 4. Tune to the Audience Remember the following points: Not all your readers will understand acronyms and abbreviations. Readers need glossaries. Provide extended definitions for technical terms. As multiple audiences have different levels of technical knowledge, choose carefully the amount of technical content in your document. Show your reader how he or she will benefit from your document.
  22. 22. For additional information visit the following websites: Parallelism http://www.towson.edu/ows/moduleparallel.htm Active and passive Voice http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples/e xamples-of-active-and-passive-voice.html Word order http://linguapress.com/grammar/word-order.htm
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