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Step-by-step instructions are generally a series of imperative sentences:
"Do this, do that." Rather than buck the flow and stick clauses ahead
of the verb, I like to use a stubby little sentence first, then put
the blah-blah-blah details afterwards. This allows the expert reader
to find what he's looking for with a minumum of hunting. The hesitant
user will read everything (up to a point), so they're okay. (Non-readers
are beyond the writer's influence.)
1. Pound the nail into the wall. Use a hammer. [The triviality of these
examples really detracts from the points we're trying to make, don't
4. Cut the red wire leading to the detonator assembly. But first, ground
the blue wire.
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139
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