Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"

Subject: Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 1996 09:38:55 PDT

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.)

Thus:

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
you think?]

But not:

4. Cut the red wire leading to the detonator assembly. But first, ground
the blue wire.

-- Robert
--
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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