RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 17

Subject: RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 17
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com" <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 12:48:10 +0000

Message: 47
From: Becca <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

I'm taking a tech writing class. My teacher says that I shouldn't use an infinitive clause to introduce a series of steps (To install Sigil:) but should use a dependent clause (To install Sigil, follow these steps:) or words to that effect.=0A=A0=0AI really don't like that formulation - it seems to me that "follow these steps" part is unnecessary and is implied by the fact that steps follow. but she's the teacher, so I guess I've gotta follow her style.
Is there a more graceful way of phrasing things? How do you introduce a series of steps?

There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays
And every single one of them is right!
--Rudyard Kipling


End of TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 17


In my role I write and edit for an internal audience, with "just in time" instructions for completing processes that users have already been trained on but may not use frequently.

We rarely use more than a heading, since the user is often on the phone with a customer. Some examples from within an article:

"Enable Bridge Mode"

"Disable NAT Mode"

"Disable Bridge Mode"

In your class you are constrained somewhat by the "style guide" given by your professor. In the real world, you will be constrained by the Style Guide produced by your manager or department or company. The most important thing you can do when faced with any style guide is to understand why. Without challenging your professor or trying to say she is wrong, find out the "why" of her style philosophy. It may be experience with writing for a certain type of audience that you can file away and call back up in the future when you run into a similar situation. It will also help you better articulate your own reasons "why" when you are the one developing or updating the Style Guide for your writing team.

The documentation I work on is online and often changes with technology; however, it's driven more by the needs of our audience for fast and quick instructions at the exact moment they need it to resolve the problem the customer is calling them to report.

Good luck!

Kenneth Nuckols


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