Re: redundancy

Subject: Re: redundancy
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 1994 17:10:15 -0800

Pete Praetorius writes:


> So what do you all think of this sentence? Should the material after the
> "slash" (/) mark be deleted? And is there ever a place for redundancy
> in technical writing?

> "Always operate at speeds that allow you to have complete control of the
> tractor / and can maneuver safely or stop in case of an emergency."

Not the most elegant sentence in the world, true. Perhaps you can edit it
so that it's more understandable (e.g., "Always operate the tractor at
speeds that allow you complete control so that you can maneuver safely and
stop in case of emergencies.")

Is there ever room for redundancy in tech writing? Sure! Whenever you need
to absolutely positively in no uncertain terms get your point across. Or,
for that matter, whenever you need to provide information to the user and
you're afraid the information won't get noticed (e.g., when the instruction
is on page 5 but the warning/note/exception hasn't been mentioned since page
2. Our job is to convey information -- even if it takes a sledge hammer.

Weiss (?) has quite a bit to say about that in "Creating Usable User Manuals"
(sorry, I'm not at my office [the net workstation is in the hall on the other
side of the building], so I'm not sure of the exact reference. The theory is
that in modular documentation you'd rather repeat the information than make
the user turn the page.

Just my $.02

Sue Gallagher
Technical Writer
StarBase Corp, Irvine CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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