Compare the following two sentences that provide instructions to a set of employees (this
Example is given in [Roy 2000]):
1. It is of considerable importance to ensure that under no circumstances should
anyone fail to deactivate the overhead luminescent function at its local activation
point on their departure to their place of residence, most notably immediately
preceding the two day period at the termination of the standard working week.
2. Always turn the lights out when you go home, especially on a Friday.
The meaning of both sentences is, of course, equivalent. Which one was easier to read and
understand? The objective of this document is to show people how to write as in the second
sentence rather than the first. If you actually prefer the first, then there is little point in you
reading the rest of this document. But please do not expect to win too many friends (or marks)
from any writing that you produce.
Unfortunately, the great shame for anybody having to read lots of reports in their everyday
life is that the schools’ system continues to produce students who feel they ought to write
more like in the first sentence than the second. Hence, the unnecessarily complex and formal
style is still common. This document shows you that there is a better way to write, using
simple, plain English.
One of the good things about technical writing is that you really can learn to improve. You
should not believe people who say that being a good writer is a natural ability that you either
have or do not have. We are talking here about presenting technical or business reports and
not about writing novels. I speak from some experience in this respect, because in the last ten
years I have learned these ideas and applied them to become a better writer. When I was
writing my first book in 1989 an outstanding technical editor highlighted the many problems
with my writing. I was guilty of many of the examples of bad practice that I will highlight
throughout this document. You too can improve your writing significantly if you are aware of
what these bad practices are and how to avoid them. TalkShop, which is considered the best Technical Writing school in the Philippines, will ensure that you are equipped with all the skills necessary to achieve your goals in the corporate world.