Technical Writing Style

Subject: Technical Writing Style
From: Paul Hanson <PHanson -at- Quintrex -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:40:24 -0600

Mark's comment sent me for my copy of "Handbook of Technical Writing"
3rd Edition (Brusaw/Alred/Olin), which defines Technical Writing Style

Technical writing style is standard exposition in which the tone is
objective, with the author's voice taking a back seat to the subject
matter . . . the language is utilitarian emphasizing exactness rather
than elegance for its own sake. Thus the writing is usually not adorned
with figurative language, except when a figure of speech would
facilitate understanding . . . Good technical writing avoids overusing
the passive voice. Its vocabulary is appropriately technical, although
the general word is preferable to the technical word. Gobbledygook and
jargon are poor substitutes for clear and direct writing. Do not use a
big or technical term merely because you know it --make sure that your
readers also understand it. . . .Technical writing is direct and often
is aimed at readers who are not experts in the subject . . .

I agree that this is a description of technical writing style and,
though holes can be poked into the tightest yarn of logic, it seems
based in a logic to which I can easily adhere.


Mark Baker said "Technical writing is a job title, not a writing

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