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How to Technically Write Well: Grammar, alone, has the ability to reduce serious public warnings or heartfelt company statements to a laughing stock. But there are many cases where an error—even a small one—has led to a million-dollar lawsuit. Lawsuit-level grammar errors seldom result from misleading marketing content or a small spelling mistake; instead, they are often a result of confusing technical documentation that is intended to provide accurate information or instruction.
So how can writers avoid some of the common grammatical errors in technical writing? Grammar, Spelling and Technical Writing Grammar and spelling mistakes can strike anywhere and embarrass a writer.
In technical writing, the consequences can be more severe, because the primary purpose of technical writing is to provide instruction and guidelines. Therefore, technical writers are under more pressure than most to be concise in their written communication.
The Cost of Ambiguity Grammar is meant to provide clarity. In speech, additional factors such as the tone of voice, facial expression and limb movements help convey specific meaning.
These factors naturally eliminate the ambiguity in our sentences. The same cannot be said for written communication, however. Without proper and thoughtful use of grammar and spelling, your writing may be unclear. Between 60 percent and 85 percent of this equipment was perfectly functional, but the purchasers returned it because of confusing interfaces, features that were difficult to access, a lack of customer education and weak documentation.
These were all factors that excellent written communication could have solved—yet in its absence, many electronics companies found that they were frustrating customers to the point of initiating a product return, and their credibility was taking a hit.
Caution Pays Avoiding grammar and spelling mistakes is one of the most important skills you can cultivate as a technical writer. It is important for many reasons. First, any mistake you overlook in your text will most likely be caught by someone else. If that someone else is your senior manager or employer, it will reflect badly on your professional capabilities.
Poor writing often predicts poor attention to detail, inadequate critical-thinking skills and a lack of motivation among employees. Grammarly recently conducted a survey on grammar in the workplace and learned the following: Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their profiles achieved higher positions.
Those who failed to progress to a director-level position within the first 10 years of their careers made 2. Fewer grammar errors correlate with more promotions. Professionals with one to four promotions over their year careers made 45 percent more grammar errors than those with six to nine promotions in the same time frame.
Simply put, an erroneous technical document will compromise the credibility of the product as well as the company and the writer.
A little caution, on the other hand, will help you create a better professional reputation and achieve self-satisfaction. Common Mistakes Technical Writers Must Avoid If you are a professional technical writer, there is a good chance that a majority of your spelling mistakes are due to a lack of proofreading.
For instance, writing right instead of write, there instead of their, or than instead of then. Depending on the context and sentence structure, such mistakes may or may not have a significant impact on your intended meaning. On the other hand, some mistakes are more severe in nature.
These mistakes either compromise the clarity of your intended meaning or degrade the overall quality of your writing. Future Tense Technical writers should use the present tense as much as possible.
Present tense indicates established facts and knowledge, which all writers should have available when creating public-facing information about a product.
A broken antenna distorts signals. Using Too Many Nouns Technical writing is very different from creative writing. In the latter, use of modifiers such as strong adjectives or abstract nouns is acceptable, if not desirable. In the case of technical writing, using too many nouns can create confusion.
Take a look at this example: Pushing the button causes the termination of the program. Instead of using the abstract noun termination, it is better to write Pushing the button terminates the program.
Passive Voice Active voice is always preferable for technical writing because it sounds more natural than passive voice. Passive voice usually leads to longer sentences with confusing structures.Affordable Papers is an online writing service which has helped students from the UK, US, and Europe for more than 10 years.
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In this Article: Understanding the Purpose of a Newspaper Headline Writing a Newspaper Headline Formatting the Headline Community Q&A Choosing a limited number of words to convey the main point of an article is the key challenge when considering how to write a newspaper headline.
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