You are on page 1of 23

Understanding

What Writing Is
(Harry Shaw, 1986)

Misconception 1:
Writing is a form of speaking.

A speech has been called an essay


walking on its legs, but effective
speaking is quite different from the oral
rendering of a written composition.
Written communication has been
prepared according to requirements
and specifications not applying to
speaking.

Key points:

More relaxed in talking than writing, less


worried about rules and errors

In speaking, our sentences are shorter or


should be than many we might construct
in writing.

Language is usually more direct and much


simpler in speech than in writing.

Take
note!

Most people are more eye-minded than


ear-minded.
Being able to speak well is no guarantee
that one can write well. Many effective
talkers are poor writers; few accomplished
writers are good speakers.

Misconception 2:
Writing should be as easy and simple as
speaking.

Perhaps if we had been writing as long


as and as much as we have been
speaking, writing would be easier and
simpler.

Most people speak more words in a


month than they write in a lifetime.

Misconception 3:
Writing requires inspiration.

Success in writing depends upon


constant, unremitting, earnest
application and not upon so-called
flashes of inspiration and sudden
bursts of effort.

Caught quotes!

The necessity of writing something, the


embarrassment produced by the
consciousness of having nothing to say, and
the desire to exhibit ability are three things
sufficient to render even a great man
ridiculous. Voltaire

Caught quotes!

There is no substitute for hard work and


Genius is one percent inspiration and
ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas Edison

Misconception 3:
Writing is a complicated series of DOs
and DONTs.

A major reason for the tightening up, or


partial paralysis, of people starting to write
is their attitude.
Actually, nearly everyone who can
communicate by speaking knows quite
enough grammar to write effectively.
What is bothersome is not grammar but
usage.

Technical Writing
Defined

A written communication about various


technical subjects in sciences, engineering, and
technology.

It is a specialized, structured way of writing,


where information is presented in a format and
manner that best suits the cognitive and
psychological needs of the readers.

It is ideally characterized by an attitude of


impartiality and objectivity for accuracy and
precision of information.

Examples of Technical Works

Progress reports, technical notebooks,


memoranda, proposals, letters, reference
documents, corporate annual reports, patent
disclosure, promotional brochures,
specifications, technical bulletins, instructional
manuals, handbooks, text books, magazine
articles, assembly instructions, contracts,
certification and accreditation activities,
presentations, corporate disclaimers

Technical versus
Literary Writings

Technical

Literary
Subject

Scientific/ Technical
Specific

Formal

Generally about life


Readership

General

Format

Informal
Purpose

Informative/Instructional

Informative-Entertaining

Technical

Literary
Language

Literal/Direct/Denotative
Impersonal/Simple

Serious/Unemotional

Figurative/Indirect/Connotative

Style

Personal/Elaborated

Tone

Light/Conversational
Content

Objective/neutral

Subjective/Opinionated

Basic Principles of
Technical Writing

Technical writing is written for a


specific person or group of people, real
or imaginary, and they are assumed to
be intelligent but uninformed.

Technical writing is written for a


purpose. (conciseness and coherence)

Technical writing uses simple,


concrete, and familiar language.

Technical writing should always have


the three parts: introduction, contents,
and conclusion.

Technical writing must be presentable


and attractive.

Qualities of A
Good Report

Available on the date that it is due


(punctuality)

Creates a good impression if it is


picked up and read through

Has the important preliminaries to


identify the report and disclose its
purpose and scope

Has a body that provides the


necessary information and that is
written clearly without jargon or
padding

Has a summary or conclusions that


reveal the results obtained

Reads coherently and cumulatively


from beginning to end

Is so designed that it can be read and


understood selectively: for instance,
by some users, only the abstract, by
other users, only the introduction and
conclusions and by still other users,
the entire report

Answers readers questions as these


questions arise in their minds

Has a rational and readily discernible


plan which is revealed in the table of
contents and a series of headings
throughout the report

Conveys an overall impression of


authority, thoroughness, soundness
and honest work