Technical Writing Style Lecture-5 (28-02-12) By: Syed Abrar Hussain Shah
Today… • Guideline for Writing Clear Sentence • Guideline for writing Clear Paragraph • Guideline for Revising for Clarity • Guidelines for Organizing Clearly
Guideline for Writing Clear Sentence • Use Normal Word Order • Write Sentences of 12 to 25 Words • Use Active Voice • Use Parallel Structure • Put Main Idea First
1- Use Normal Word Order • The normal word order in English is subject-verb-object. • That order usually produce the clearest, most concise sentences. • Clear: Patients write memos to doctors. • Wordy: Memos to doctors are kinds of writing done by patients.
Write Sentences of 12 to 25 Words • An easy-to-read sentence is 12 to 25 words long. • Shorter or longer sentences are weaker because they become too simple or complicated.
Use Active Voice • The active voice is more direct than the passive voice. • Active Voice: Aslam started his business. • Passive Voice: Business was started by Aslam.
Use Parallel Structure • Using parallel structure means using similar structure for similar elements. • Faulty: Management guarantees that the old system will be replaced and to consider the new proposal. • Parallel: Management guarantees that the old system will be replaced and to consider the new proposal will be considered.
Put Main Idea First • Place the sentence’s main idea -its subject- first. • When you do so you provide the context to what follows.
2- Guideline for writing Clear Paragraph • Put the Topic Sentence First • Structure Paragraphs Coherently
Put the Topic Sentence First • In technical writing, almost all paragraphs begin with a topic sentence, followed by several sentences that explain the central idea. • Researchers have discovered that readers comprehend a paragraph more quickly if the general or topic idea is placed first. (Slater) • This structure, called deductive, gives your paragraphs the direct, straightforward style preferred by most report readers.
Structure Paragraphs Coherently • In a coherent paragraph, each sentence relates clearly to the topic sentence or controlling idea, but there is more to coherence than this. • If a paragraph is coherent, each sentence flows smoothly into the next without obvious shifts or jumps.
3- Guideline for Revising for Clarity • Avoid String of Choppy Sentences • Avoid Wordiness • Avoid Redundant Phrases • Avoid Abstract and General Terms • Use There Are Sparingly • Avoid Nominalizations • Avoid Noun Clusters • Use You Correctly
4- Guidelines for Organizing Clearly • Use Context-Setting Introductions • Place Important Material First • Use Preview Lists • Use Repetition and Sequencing • Use Structural Parallelism
Use Context-Setting Introductions • Your introduction should supply an overall framework so that the reader can grasp the later details that explain and fill it. • You can use an introduction to orient readers to the context of the document in one of three ways: • To define terms, • To tell why you are writing, and • To tell the document’s purpose.
Place Important Material First • The beginning of a section or paragraph is an emphatic spot. • Placing important material first emphasizes its importance. • This strategy orients readers quickly and give them a context so that they know what to look for as they read further.
Use Preview Lists • Preview lists contain the key words to be in the document. • You can use lists in any writing situations to indicate organizations.
Use Repetition and Sequencing • Repetition means restarting key subject words or phrases from the preview list. • Sequencing means placing the key words in the same order in the text as in the list.
Use Structural Parallelism • Structural parallelism means that each section of a document has the same organization.