Tag Archives: style

Readability tests

I once had a colleague/SME asking me if I used readability tests for checking the technical documentation. “Something like Flesch-Kincaid” he said. I had no idea what he was talking about. It sounded sinister with the name ‘Flesch-Kincaid’ and I … Continue reading

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Serial comma (Oxford comma)

  Commas seem to cause a lot of dismay among writers and subs generally. Their purpose, how they work, where to place them seems to cause unending consternation. I think that might be one reason there is some hostility to … Continue reading

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Latin abbreviations in technical writing

Many style guides as well as simplified English and plain English campaigners share a common goal of wanting to eradicate Latin loan-words from English, and this includes Latin abbreviations. This post from a 2012 entry on ferswriteshoe blog is nice … Continue reading

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Shall vs. Will

In an earlier post, one in which I was trying to be funny, I mentioned shall or indeed, shalt, as a sign that god was a technical writer. But, when do you use shall or will? What is the difference? … Continue reading

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Killing interest in your documentation and how to fix it

Imagine you are sitting on a train and looking out the window. The landscape you are passing through is flat and brown; fields at the bordering time of year between winter and spring. One field looks like another, with electrical … Continue reading

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The long and short of it: Conciseness and quickness in writing

One of the greatest Italian writers of any century, Italo Calvino, was supposed to deliver a set of lectures in Harvard in 1985-86 but tragically died just beforehand. However, the drafts of the lectures he was going to give have … Continue reading

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You don’t read with your head but with your heart

As it is just after Valentine’s Day, I thought this would be an apt subject to write about. Technical writing is one of the most conservative corners of the documentation/writing world. We pull faces when we see a new¬†unapproved¬†word being … Continue reading

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