Recently I had the opportunity to review documents already edited by an aspiring technical writer. The issues below appeared time and time again, so I made him a checklist.
If you want to improve your technical writing, take note, and then take the quiz below!
- Avoid gender-specific language.
- Avoid “in order”.
- Do not precede lists starting with a partial phrase with a colon.
- Used closed punctuation (add a comma after the second-to-last item in a list, before the “and”).
- Don’t use “&” in text.
- Avoid commas before “such as”.
- A list starting with “such as” or “including” never ends with “etc.”
- Learn definition of “comprise”.
- Learn rules for capitalization.
- Learn rules for comma use.
- Spell out numbers smaller than ten.
- Use present tense; avoid past and future tenses.
- An apostrophe implies possession. Do not use for plurals. “60’s” is wrong.
The potential operator, need’s to consider the Equipment comprising the playground. He will require at least 8 types of Toys, including balls, swing sets, basketball hoops, etc. In order to start using the playground Margies children offered to supply: softballs, tennis balls & bowling pins.
Samples on request