Tech writing


1 - Tech writing introduction. The masthead is a very good indicator of the function of the newsletter, because it makes clear who the target audience is and how up to date it is. There is nothing particularly distinctive about it, however, and people who do not know the publication already may need to look around to the left or below to find out what exactly it is that is being “spotted”.

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2. The picture is an ideal illustration of the main topic of floods. It shows the rising water at the edge of a road, indicating what is happening, and what a devastating effect it is having on communications, without being too dramatic or emotional. It looks scientific and serious.

3. The text alignment is well designed, with the main article wrapped around the picture, and a table of contents column in a different color to the left. In the main article, however, the text is somewhat crowded, leaving very little space for margins and this gives a cluttered impression, especially in the portion to the right of the picture. It would have been better to cut the text a little, and give it more space.

4. The text continues on page 2 but this is not very clear when just looking at page 1, because the end of the text on page one could be a finishing sentence. It is only when you turn the page over, and see that there is no new heading and the same typefact, with more text on the same topic, that you realise the article continues. There perhaps should have been a jump line to inform the reader of this.


1.Graphics are a good initial strategy when communication with readers from different cultural backgrounds. It is also a good idea to to provide both short and more detailed definitions and some examples to help clarify the meaning of the graphics.

2. Parenthetical definition: “The department is using shareware (software that is available for use at no cost) in its drafting course”

3. Catylist sentence definition: A catalyst is a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction, but is not affected by that reaction.

  Catylist example: An enzyme is a catalyst which breaks down food.

4. A circular definition is one which merely repeats the concept and adds no more information. A circular definition is a definition which is circular.

5. A stipulative definition is one which defines how the terms mentioned are to be used in a particular document.

6. 6 typical locations for a definition in a document are:

In a glossary
In a list of key words
In a parenthesis after the word being defined
In a separate sentence after the word being defined
In a footnote
Attached to a graphical illustration
7. A general description describes the whole range of possible types of an item while  a specific description describes only one particular item or type of item.

8. The two basic organizational principles for descriptions of mechanisms or objects are functional based on how they are used, and spatial, based on the physical structure of the object.

9. Common techniques for concluding technical descriptions are: to sum up the previous parts so that emphasis is not put on just the last mentioned part or to state briefly how all the parts work together.

10. A specification includes a lot of technical fine detail. Its purpose is to describe exactly what something is or how a process is to be done.

11. Parenthetical definitions are given in the words entire  and message which appear in brackets after the Greek words and these are contained within the first sentence, which itself is a sentence definition. After that an example is given to show how the term is encountered in real life.


1. An MMOG (Massive(ly) Multiplayer Online Game) is a computer mediated simulation of human activity in the form of a game. It is massive in so far as its membership may be as many as millions of people, and it is multiplayer because many players can interact in the game at the same time. The delivery method is online, using connections over the internet, and the players usually pay either for the game software, or for membership of the game, or in some cases for both. The most famous MMOG is World of Warcraft, which depicts magical beings doing quests and killing monsters, but there are many different types of MMOG including business simulations, social entertainment like the SIMS, for example, and virtual worlds offering many sub games such as Second Life and  There.


 abacus (image source : )

An abacus (from the Greek word meaning “counting table”) is an ancient counting machine made from a frame holding several parallel strings or wires. The strings can be horizontal or vertical, and the frame can stand upright or be laid flat. Sets of different colored counting beads are arranged on the strings in such a way that they can be moved to one side or the other of the frame. The purpose of the abacus is to facilitate arithmetic calculations by allowing the counter to visualise the individual steps of adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc. This tool is still used today in Asian countries for everyday counting purposes, and all over the world in educational contexts for teaching elementary Arithmetic.

3. Memorandum         From : Joe Smith

                                   To: Mary Jones

                                   Re: Tridor Sliding doors instruction sheet

Thanks for sending across the draft of the Tridor Sliding doors instruction sheet. It is a really good idea to have this available for the team using them, and I like the visual demonstration of the product use. There are a few adjustments, however, that I would like you arrange, so that the document can be even clearer for the users. It needs a nice clear title at the top, with the relevant model name in large bold type. The safety indication starting with the word “Caution” needs to be in red and much more visible. I think also, that more color throughout the instructions would be a good idea because the graphics are quite faint. The only other suggestion I would have is to ensure that all the article words like “the” and “a” should be inserted so that it reads like proper English and there is no mistaking what is referred to. I am sure you will be able to adjust these details by next Wednesday for the meeting, and I am grateful for your help on this task. Thanks,



The Segway brochure is very attractive from the outset, with large and colorful photographs showing a variety of smiling individuals using the product. It uses commonsense arguments, citing the difficulty of commuting on roads in busy suburban areas, and contrasting this with the ease and flexibility of the Segway product. It is successful in convincing readers that this machine can be seen as an extension to the walking self in a city, somewhere between the speed of a car and the friendliness of walking among people. The particular examples of shopping and police on duty are convincing, especially with the matching pictures. The suggestion that the military use the machine sounds a little far fetched.

Where the brochure fails to connect with the reader is in the part which presents the product as a cool, offroad sporting machine. It just looks clumsy and out of place in a forest, and the testimonies such as “allows me to get gritty without damaging the trail” sound like they are made up just for the brochure.  People don’t tend to say “get gritty” and going offroad is something that normally goes with speed and excitement, not with calm and wildlife watching. This part does not make much sense to the reader. There is useful information on the capacity of the machine, its range and its requirements for recharging, along with its eco-friendly credentials, and this information is presented in the testimonies as well as summarized in a grey block towards the end. The layout is slick and professional, and altogether this is a successful brochure.


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