RE: Rhetoric and technical writing

Subject: RE: Rhetoric and technical writing
From: "Sharon Burton" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "Stuart Burnfield" <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 06:58:58 -0800

I found this site and use it sometimes in my classes. It talks about the
rhetorical devices in writing and I find it easy to make it relevant to
technical writing. It's not active voice, etc. It's how to logically
construct information to lead the reader thru what you are telling them in a
way that supports them understanding what you are saying.


Sharon Burton
CEO, Anthrobytes Consulting
Immediate Past President of IESTC

>From Stuart:

But this did get me to wondering what rhetoric _does_ mean when applied
to tech writing. My dictionary has as its primary definition: "the study
of the techniques of using language effectively." There are other
definitions, including "the use of language to inform and persuade" and
"excessive ornamentation and contrivance in spoken or written discourse;
bombast" (which I guess is the meaning Tony was alluding to) but I
assume the first definition describes how rhetoric is usually applied in
TW courses.

Can anyone tell me in a little more detail how rhetoric is taught in
college TW courses? Do they tend to have standalone units on rhetoric,
or are rhetorical techniques folded into the specialised TW units?

What are the main rhetorical techniques? Or are they pretty much the
usual writing issues that come up often on the list--chunking, active
versus passive voice, first person versus second person, vocabulary,
consistency, and so on.


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Rhetoric and technical writing: From: Stuart Burnfield

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