Technical Writing

Mechanical Power Department Faculty of Engineering Cairo University

2007- 2008
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Send your Questions to the following email:

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What You Will Learn
Introduction: The problem with Communications Planning your Report and Clarifying your Purpose Analyzing your Audience and Targeting their Needs Selecting the Information Main Parts of your Ph.D. Structuring the Report Keeping the Reader in Mind

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What You Will Learn
Writing a First Draft Efficiently and Rapidly Designing Illustrations (Use of Color, Visuals, Tables, Numbers, Units and Equations) Revising and Proof Reading your Report Tools to Make your Job Easier Avoiding Common English Pitfalls

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The exam of September 2007 with its answer are at the end of these notes 5 .

Introduction: The Problem with Communication 6 .

Introduction: The Problem with Communication Idea Encode Write / speak Transmit Same Idea? Decode Read / hear 7 .

• This means that we should take care to ensure that the parts of the process that we can control are clear. Some of the problems that occur are outside our control. simple and easily understood.The Problem with Communication • Communicating your thoughts and ideas is a complex process in both speech and in writing. At every stage of the process things can go wrong. 8 .

Planning your Report and Clarifying your Purpose 9 .

Group Order Pause . It is vital that you think a lot BEFORE you start writing.Order and number the themes appropriate to the aim .Establish and clarify the purpose .Be creative! Write all thoughts and information on 10 . 2. 4.Group the ideas into themes under headings. . Six steps to producing the correct structure: 1.Planning The Report and Clarifying your Purpose The biggest cause of problems is the failure to clarify thoughts before starting to write. Aim Gather data paper. Pause 3.

67Write a first draft Re-write . Only the last three involve writing.Planning The Report There is now a good outline – if appropriate get it approved at this stage. Note that the first four steps involve thinking.Write bearing in mind the rules of aim and language . Start writing only when you know what you want to say 5. This may save time and effort later. Revise and proofread . 11 .No body gets it right at the first time.Get some one else to read it.

12 .To inform? (or to record) .To explain? . The structure will follow logically once you have determined your objective.Defining Your Objective Is your objective: .To Persuade? Each objective has its own structure and tone.

When. How. Where? All these points concern the reader rather than the writer. What. 13 . Keeping the reader in mind will save a lot of time and help you make sure you hit the target. Who.Defining Your Objective: The six questions you must ask These six questions will Keep the objective and the reader in your mind: Why.

Defining Your Objective Why Do I write? Do I have to? Could I see the reader or phone him first? will they want to read it? am I writing to? what sort of person is the reader? Is he senior or junior? else is involved? do they want to know? do they know already? will they know after reading? do I want the reader to do? sort of tone should I use? Who What 14 .

Defining Your Objective How When will the reader react? can I make it clear? will it be read? Might it be read in years to come? has it got to be done? will it be read? Home or abroad? Internal or external to my organization? Where 15 .

Analyzing your Audience And Targeting their Needs 16 .

as will your contemporaries working on similar problems. 4. or will see its title only. the introduction. 3. 2. The department head will read the abstract. Most of the rest of the world will either NEVER hear of your report.Who Reads What ? I . At the end of the year. the title will be listed in the annual progress report.For an “Internal” Company Report: 1. and the conclusions and results. Your immediate supervisor will read it all. The vice-president will read the abstract. 17 . 5.

Readers will then judge. on the basis of your abstract.Who Reads What ? II. The title and abstract may be reprinted by an abstracting service for wider circulation. will read the abstract only. who wish to keep in touch with your field. who also happen to be working in your field. 18 . 3. whether or not to read your entire paper. will read it all. 2. For a Paper Published in an Academic Journal: 1. Subscribers to the journal. Subscribers to the journal.

so that the appropriate distribution of information can be made.It is important that you keep these audience groups in mind while you write the report. 19 .

Your Audience has Different View Points

Your first duty is to decide what is important about your work. To illustrate, let us assume that you are about to write report describing a series of products testing. What are significant results of the test? There might be several viewpoints.


“I had to add three quarts of oil during that series; the rear shaft seal let go. I’ll have to replace that before we run again.”

Test Engineer:
“That new carburetor looks pretty good, fuel consumption was down 5% and exhaust aldehydes were down nearly 23%.”

Engine Cycle Analyst:
“Improving the homogeneity of the air-fuel mixture raised the engine’s thermal efficiency to within 3% of its predicated value.”

Vice president, Marketing:
“We are pleased to announce a major breakthrough in our battle against smog.”

Selecting the Information


Data Gathering Techniques
Brain Storming Internet Searches Libraries Academic periodicals (e.g., Science Direct and Engineering Village) Interviews Newspapers Government Records


What different kinds of readers might you have? Ask yourself questions 24 .Generate ideas and write them .What questions would they ask? .Data Gathering Techniques: Brain Storming Explore the topic – not the problem .Keep returning to the problem Talk to your reader .Don't evaluate ideas now .

Brain Storming Journalistic questions • Who? • What? • Where? • When? • Why? • How? • So What? 25 .

belong to? .What other words mean about the same as -------? .How does the dictionary define -------? .What parts can divided into? .different from other things? .misunderstood? 26 .mean something now that it didn't years ago? If so.What are some concrete examples of -------? .What do I mean by -------? .When is the meaning of------. what? .What group of things does ------.Brain Storming Definition Questions .How is ------.Does ------.

What comes before (after) -------? 27 .Brain Storming Comparison/Contrast .------.What is the consequence of -------? .different from? In what ways? most unlike (like) what? How? Relationship .What is ------.What causes -------? .is superior (inferior) to what? How? .What are the effects of -------? .What is ------.What is the purpose of -------? .similar to? In what ways? .

Brain Storming
Testimony - What have I heard people say about -------? - What are some facts of statistics about -------? - Can I quote any proverbs, or sayings about -------? - Are there any laws about -------? Circumstance
- Is ------- possible or impossible?

- What conditions, or circumstances make ------ possible or impossible? - When did ------- happen previously? - If ------- starts, what makes it end? - What would prevent ------- from happening?

Brain Storming
- How is ------- different from things similar to it?

- How has ------- been different for me? - How much can ------- change and still be itself? - How is ------- changing? - How much does ------- change from day to day? - What are the different varieties of -------? - Where and when does ------- take place? - What is the larger thing of which ------- is a part? - What is the function of ------- in this larger thing?


Brain Storming
1. Describe it (colors, shapes, sizes, etc.)

2. Compare it (What is it similar to?) 3. Associate it (What does it make you think of?) 4. Analyze it (Tell how it's made) 5. Apply it (What can you do with it? How can it be used?) 6. Argue for or against it


Data Gathering Techniques: Internet Searches


32 . • Some search engines will search through several search engines at once.Internet Searches • A search engine is an Internet tool that locates web pages and sorts them according to specified keywords. • Always refine your search. Google and Alta Vista are the most useful search engines for beginning searches. • Use the advanced search options if possible. • Yahoo.

Types of Web Pages • Informative pages • Personal web pages • Political/interest group pages • Marketing-oriented pages 33 .

• NOT tells the search engine to find a reference that contains one term but not the other. 34 . usually within a few words.Refining your Internet Search • AND tells the search engine to find your first word AND your second word. • NEAR tells the search engine to find documents with both words but only when they appear near each other. • Use OR when a key term may appear in two different ways. • Northern Light at and • Excite at • HotBot at are metasearch engines ( 35 .metacrawler. • Alta Vista at http://www. they search other search engines) • All4one at allows simultaneous searching of 4 search • Open Text at • • Lycos at • Infoseek at • Dogpile at www.Some Search Engines • Google at http://www.opentext.

com (searches newsgroup postings) • People Search at (has electronic yellow pages) • WebSeer at http://webseer. • WebCrawler at • World Wide Web Worm at http://www. etc.) • Big Yellow at http://www1. (has a huge database of graphics) 36 .com/ (has online whitepage directories for telephone numbers.Some Search Engines • Snap at • DejaNews at http://www.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines • Looking for information about job opportunities? Look at some of the sites listing job vacancies. 37 . Or look through the websites of various large companies because they usually have a section on job opportunities in their company. Try university websites that sometimes list jobs through their placement offices. or try professional organizations which also sometimes list jobs in that field. • Looking for information likely to be discussed on newsgroups or chat rooms? Look through the lists of newsgroups or use a search engine like DejaVu.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines • Looking for information about a current topic? Check the newspaper and current newsmagazine ) or The White House (at http://www. • Looking for data that might have been collected on a government site? Start with sites such as the Library of Congress (at 38 . Most have a search engine for articles in their publications.whitehouse.

but do not yet have a specific topic.Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines Searching With a Subject Directory: Subject directories are valuable for web researchers who have an area on which they want to Invisible Web Open Directory Project Yahoo Big Hub Link2Go 39 . They can help a writer get general information or a "feel" for the topic. Some Subject Directories: About.

Searching with an Subject Directory: Example Go to Yahoo! (an index) Find a topic that interests you ("education") Follow it through specifics (“Rural Education". either by following the listed links or by using that phrase in a keyword search. “Rural Education Institute") “Rural Education Institute" is a specific topic that can be feasibly researched. 40 .

Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines Getting Engineering Information Argonne National Laboratory Engineering Connections the Internet Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Lockheed Martin Energy systems MIT Directory of Research National Institute of Standard and Technology National Science Foundation 41 .

Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines Getting Engineering Information The Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology The Online Material Information Resource National Renewable Energy Laboratory National Technology Transfer Center Oak Ridge National Laboratory Penn State University Libraries (Engineering Collection) Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students Mathematics Information Servers Math-Search 42 .

Medicine Information National Institute of Health World Health Organization Medscape Medweb Plus 43 .Don’t Limit Yourself to Search Engines Health.

Some marketing sites will offer misleading information in attempts to sell their products. 44 . Because Unlike most print sources. Virtually any person can publish almost anything on the Internet.But Be Careful. web sources do not have to be professionally accepted and edited to be published. but not necessarily facts. Some personal sites are used to express individual opinions about issues.

what can you find out about that group? • Is the site affiliated with a business or a university? • Can you purchase products at this site? 45 .Evaluating Web Sources • Who is the site’s creator and what is his authority or expertise? • What else comes up when you type the author’s name into a search engine? • Is the site sponsored by a political or business group? • If so.

Evaluating Web Sources • Are there links to other credible sites with additional information? • Does the site provide a link for emailing the author or webmaster? • Does the material show signs of research. such as references to other sources. or a reference page? • Does the author consider opposing points of view? • How closely does the site match the information you already know about the topic? 46 . footnotes. hyperlinks.

additions. or subtractions to the material. – Date site was most recently updated. – More importantly.Evaluating Web Sources • Can you locate a date on the web page? • Dates on web pages can mean: – Date the author first wrote or developed the material. does the information cover recent changes or advances in the field or topic you are researching? 47 . – Date site was first available on the Internet for public access. including revisions.

D. Thesis 48 .Main Parts of your Ph.

this part will be the most widely published and most read because it will be published in Dissertation Abstracts International. Results and Discussion are usually combined in several chapters of a thesis. Then make a list. It will also be easier to write. to the best of my knowledge and belief. money. your method of solving it/them. Check the word limit. education. but as an example: Title/author/"A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Science/The University of New South Wales"/date.html (8 of 13)3/29/2006 10:33:47 PM . as well as this rather informal guide. In some cases.) Declaration Check the wording required by your its details should be included in the text of the abstract. except where due acknowledgment has been made in the text. When a reference is necessary. advice. http://www. it is often possible to present the ideas in different order. At this stage. you should make it quite clear who did which sections. Usually they do not contain references. Make sure that you consult that for its formal requirements. so that you end up with a list of points that corresponds to subsections or even to the paragraphs of your thesis. In any case. of what will go in each chapter. and whether there is a standard form. your results and conclusions. (signature/name/date)" Title page This may vary among institutions. Try to make this rather detailed. friendship etc. the Postgraduate Student Office will give you a thesis pack with various guide-lines and rules about thesis format. If you make a plan of each chapter and section before you sit down to write. genes. but not at the very last minute because you will probably need several drafts. Copyright waiver Your institution may have a form for this (UNSW does). and also indirectly by providing such essentials as food.A suggested thesis structure The list of contents and chapter headings below is appropriate for some theses. this standard page gives the university library the right to publish the work. Think about the plan of chapters and decide what is best to report your work. Many universities require something like: "I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and that. the result will probably be clearer and easier to read. possibly by microfilm or some other in point form. one or two of them may be irrelevant. help. and not all arrangements will be equally easy to follow.phys. think hard about the logic of the presentation: within chapters. (At UNSW.unsw. Abstract Of all your thesis. it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma of the university or other institute of higher learning. Acknowledgments Most thesis authors put in a page of thanks to those who have helped them in matters scientific. If any of your work is 49 collaborative. An abstract must be self-contained. It should be a distillation of the thesis: a concise description of the problem(s) addressed. It is best written towards the end.

or at least a word processor file. while keeping it short. you will already have much of the hard work done. If you didn't keep your literature notes up to date. year. volume and pages. For this section. has the same general background. but it will depend on the field. that is a matter of judgement. Did any make you want to read on? Which ones were boring? This section might go through several drafts to make it read well and logically. You are the world expert on the (narrow) topic of your thesis: you must demonstrate It helps to have the subheadings of each chapter. you can still do something useful: pass on the following advice to any beginning PhD students in your lab and tell them how useful this would have been to you. Literature review Where did the problem come from? What is already known about this problem? What other methods have been tried to solve it? Ideally. On the order of a hundred is reasonable. if you have been keeping up with the literature as you vowed to do three years ago. Your introduction should tell where the thesis is going.Table of contents The introduction starts on page 1. I think that it is a good idea to ask someone who is not a specialist to read it and to comment. tradition permits prose that is less dry than the scientific norm. but knows little of the literature or tricks that apply to your particular topic. the earlier pages should have roman numerals. Remember that the thesis may be used as a reference in the lab. for your literature review. Go to the library and read several thesis introductions. you can add key words (your own and theirs) and comments about its importance. so you will be very close to it. you should open a spread sheet file. or by potential employers to whom you might be sending the thesis in the next year or two. do not overestimate the reader's familiarity with your topic. but not all of them need be specialists in your particular topic. There are http://www. A political point: make sure that you do not omit relevant papers by researchers who are like to be your examiners. In other columns of the spread sheet. relevance to you and its quality. and this may become clearer during the writing.phys. then you have some good starting points for the review.unsw. If want to wax lyrical about your topic. but who was working in a different area. S/he is intelligent. Is it an adequate introduction? Is it easy to follow? There is an argument for writing this section---or least making a major revision of it---towards the end of the thesis writing. Introduction What is the topic and why is it important? State the problem(s) as simply as you can. so it helps to be able to find things easily. But you also write a summary (anything from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages.html (9 of 13)3/29/2006 10:33:47 PM 50 . When you start reading about a topic. authors. Remember that you have been working on this project for a few years. then you are unlikely to revive his/her interest in the materials and methods section. How many papers? How relevant do they have to be before you include them? If you have summarised those papers. It may help to imagine such a person---think of some researcher whom you might have met at a conference for your subject. You are writing for researchers in the general area. and if you have made notes about important papers over the years. Try to make the reader want to read the kilogram of A4 that has arrived uninvited on his/her desk. depending on the relevance). here is the place to do it. If you bore the reader here. The introduction should be interesting. How does it fit into the broader world of your discipline? Especially in the introduction. For the first paragraph or two. Try to step back mentally and take a broader view of the problem. Of course you write down the title. Middle chapters In some theses. as well as the chapter titles. the middle chapters are the journal articles of which the student was major author.

but you should not reproduce two pages of algebra that the reader could find in a standard text. Relatively often a researcher requests a thesis in order to obtain more detail about how a study was performed. you will usually need to include sufficient material to allow the reader to understand the arguments used and their physical bases. there may be more than one such chapter. Results and discussion The results and discussion are very often combined in theses.phys. the different disciplines should be indicated in the chapter titles. one usually has to reduce the number of figures. {first problem}.edu. It should be possible for a competent researcher to reproduce exactly what you have done by following your description. In many cases. In some theses. Theory When you are reporting theoretical work that is not original. Theory. or on a new set-up in a foreign country. particularly multi-disciplinary or developmental ones. Sometimes you will be able to present the theory ab initio. Think too about the order and style of presentation: the order in which you did the work may not be the clearest presentation. When writing this section. The division of Results and Discussion material into chapters is usually best done according to subject matter. Materials and Methods This varies enormously from thesis to thesis. another researcher will want to do a similar experiment either with your gear. {second problem}.html (10 of 13)3/29/2006 10:33:47 PM . you must include rather more detail.several disadvantages to this format. In this case. and may be absent in theoretical theses. to describe the experimental techniques. all of the interesting and relevant data can go in the thesis. Do not include theory that you are not going to relate to the work you have done. Here follow some comments on the elements Materials and Methods. 51 http://www. The degree of experimental detail is usually greater in a thesis. In some theses. Materials and Methods. the chapter headings might be: Theory. One is that a thesis is both allowed and expected to have more detail than a journal article. This is sensible because of the length of a thesis: you may have several chapters of results and. {third problem}. For journal articles. concentrate at least as much on the physical arguments as on the equations. For such a thesis. it might be appropriate to discuss different techniques in different chapters. There is a good chance that this test will be applied: sometime after you have left. the reader may have difficulty remembering what you are talking about. Suspense is not necessary in reporting science: you should tell the reader where you are going before you start. {proposed theory/model} and then the conclusion chapter. The exact structure in the middle chapters will vary among theses. What do the equations mean? What are the important cases? When you are reporting your own theoretical work. but you should consider moving lengthy derivations to appendices. and not just those which appeared in the journal. Please write for the benefit of that researcher. Another disadvantage is that your journal articles may have some common material in the introduction and the "Materials and Methods" sections. and then finally to present a model or a new theory based on the new work. Results and discussion which may or may not correspond to thesis chapters.unsw. then to report what was done on several different problems or different stages of the rather than to have a single Materials and Methods chapter. if you wait till they are all presented before you begin discussion. For other theses. it is necessary to establish some theory.

your results need discussion. because it must also include some other material. Use appropriate statistical file of the graph. UNSW student Mike Johnston has written a plotting routine that plots data with error bars and performs weighted least square regressions. You can just 'paste' your data into the input and it generates a . I think that it is a good idea to ask someone who is not a specialist to read this section and to comment. You should show error bars on the data.phys. and you have the space to be more explicit and more careful with qualifications. Remember that your examiners are likely to be older and more graph. The errors in different data are often different. there are some very useful and authoritative sources. References (See also under literature review) It is tempting to omit the titles of the articles cited. Does it have any implications that do not relate to the questions that you set out to answer? Final chapter. Where applicable. where this is the case.Make sure that you have described the conditions which obtained for each set of results.. if the rules of your institution permit it. So. don't use a web citation where you could reasonably use a "hard" citation. too. and the university allows this. You might find it helpful to put your conclusions in point form. the bars should be your best estimate of the experimental errors in each coordinate. regressions and fits should be weighted (i. references and appendices Conclusions and suggestions for further work Your abstract should include your conclusions in very brief form.. What do they mean? How do they fit into the existing body of knowledge? Are they consistent with current theories? Do they give new insights? Do they suggest new theories or mechanisms? Try to distance yourself from your usual perspective and look at your Nevertheless.html).phys. show measurement errors and standard errors on the graphs. The origin and intercepts are often important so. Some things which are typically included in appendices are: important and original 52 http://www. include it as an appendix. the reader can go to a library and check that the cited document and check whether or not it says what you say it did. the zeros of one or both scales should usually appear on the graph. and don't overuse such citations. A summary of conclusions is usually longer than the final section of the abstract. It is at http://www. but think of all the times when you have seen a reference in a paper and gone to look it up only to find that it was not helpful after all. What was held constant? What were the other relevant parameters? Make sure too that you have used appropriate statistical analyses. but also how other people in the field might see it.unsw. It is often the case with scientific investigations that more questions than answers are Take care plotting graphs. how? If you cite a journal article or book. so. unless the errors are very small.) You should give the URL and also the date you downloaded it. (Be cautious. As with the introduction.. Appendices If there is material that should be in the thesis but which would break up the flow or bore the reader unbearably. Should you reference web sites and.) (A common failing in many simple software packages that draw graphs and do regressions is that they do not treat errors adequately. So references to the web are usually less satisfactory. In particular. For single measurements. unless the ranges of your data make it impractical. and it may have been updated or changed completely. Do not just ask yourself what it means in terms of the orthodoxy of your own research group.html (11 of 13)3/29/2006 10:33:47 PM . they should minimize the sum of squares of the differences weighted inversely as the size of the errors. If there is a date on the site itself (last updated on . A web site may disappear. For multiple measurements these should include the standard error in the Does your work suggest any interesting further avenues? Are there ways in which your work could be improved by future workers? What are the practical implications of your work? This chapter should usually be reasonably short---a few pages perhaps..) you should included that. if so. it may be appropriate to cite web sites. In most cases.

(1994) 'How to get a PhD : a handbook for students and their supervisors'.computer programs.M and Pugh. Cheshire. Open University Press. Conn.unsw. C (1999) 'Doing postgraduate research in Australia'. Tufte. data files that are too large to be represented simply in the results chapters.R. Graphics Press.html (12 of 13)3/29/2006 10:33:47 PM . Melbourne University Press. Phillips. K. Melbourne ISBN 0 522 84880 X. Buckingham.S. E. Some sites with related material How to survive a thesis defence Research resources and links supplied by Deakin University "Final year projects": a guide from Mike Hart at King Alfred's College.phys. 53 http://www. Conn. (1990) 'Envisioning information' Graphics Press.Professional Students (USA) Some relevant texts Stevens. Winchester. Cheshire. UK Postgraduate Student Resources supplied by University of Canberra A useful aid to surviving meetings with management The National Association of Graduate . England Tufte. and Asmar. E. (1983) 'The visual display of quantitative information'. pictures or diagrams of results which are not important enough to keep in the main text.

some additional content needed to support the objective • Some Weaknesses: Objective is difficult to determine. the content supports the objective • Acceptable Objective: is not immediately clear.Scoring Rules for Different Sections Strategy/Purpose: Does the document meet its intended objective? • Well done: The objective of the document is easily identified. additional content needed to support the objective • Problematic: The objective cannot be determined 54 .

some language used inappropriately (e. content of document reflects interests of writer but not of audience. too much jargon) • Some Weaknesses: Document is missing a substantial portion of content required by audience.g.. uses some inappropriate or ineffective language • Problematic: No organization apparent. inappropriate use of language 55 . and language of document geared to intended audience • Acceptable: Document is missing some content required by audience. structure.Strategy/Audience: Does the document address the intended audience? • Well done: Content. unfamiliar jargon.

document organized according to readers’ needs. thoughts in random order without connections between them. organization is evident but may be undermined by weak transitions or occasional digressions • Some Weaknesses: Subsections are not logical or do not accomplish their intended function. relationship between ideas clear • Acceptable: Coherence or function of subsections weaker.Structure: Does the organization reflect the purpose of the document and the needs of the audience? • Well done: Subsections thematically coherent and accomplish their intended functions. 56 . organization is confusing or unclear • Problematic: No clear organization.

relevant. some evidence not relevant • Some Weaknesses: Some evidence is provided. but data is not fully explained. and sufficient? • Well done: Argument is clearly supported by accurate evidence considered credible by the audience. or credible. but some are not fully elaborated or sufficiently specific. some data inaccurate • Problematic: Little or no data to support the main ideas of the argument. sufficient detail to support the main points of the document • Acceptable: Many details support argument. accurate. relevant to the argument. much of the data is inaccurate 57 .Support/Evidence: Is the evidence used to support the argument concrete. important pieces of evidence have not been included. credible.

e. one idea/theme runs through paragraph).Coherence: Do sentences in paragraphs relate to one another in a logical way? Are relationships between paragraphs clear? • Well done: Paragraphs are internally consistent (i.. transitions between paragraphs allow reader to easily follow thread of argument • Acceptable: A few paragraph lack internal consistency. paragraphs have little or no discernible relationship to one another 58 . many transitions are weak or used inappropriately • Problematic: Main idea in most paragraphs cannot be identified. a few weak or unclear transitions • Some Weaknesses: Many paragraphs lack internal consistency.

and easy to understand? • Well done: Sentences flow smoothly. or wordy • Problematic: More than 10 percent of sentences are awkward. incorrectly constructed. and convey the intended meaning. incorrectly constructed. or wordy 59 . incorrectly constructed. are structurally correct. succinct.Clarity/Conciseness: Are sentences structurally correct. or wordy • Some Weaknesses: Six to ten percent of sentences are awkward. no wordiness • Acceptable: Five percent or less of sentences are awkward.

elements are not always used consistently • Problematic: Formatting elements are confusing or inconsistent. lack of any formatting 60 . elements are used consistently throughout • Some Weaknesses: Formatting elements often do not support main points. formatting elements are used consistently throughout the document • Acceptable: Formatting elements do not always support main points.Formatting: Are formatting elements used appropriately to strengthen the document? • Well done: Formatting elements organize and highlight ideas as needed.

are easily comprehended. design makes it somewhat difficult for reader to interpret data • Some Weaknesses: They are disconnected from key points of the argument. crucial tables or graphs are missing. design makes it difficult for reader to interpret data.Use of Tables and Graphs: • Well done: They support key parts of the argument. table and graphs do not relate to the argument included 61 . They are not placed in the optimum position in relation to text • Problematic: They are disconnected from key points of the argument. design makes it impossible for the reader to interpret data. and are placed appropriately • Acceptable: They are not always tied to the key points of the argument.

or spelling errors? • Well done: No grammar. punctuation. punctuation. or spelling errors 62 . or spelling errors • Problematic: Seven or more grammar. or spelling errors • Some Weaknesses: Four to six grammar. punctuation. punctuation. punctuation. or spelling errors • Acceptable: No more than three grammar.Mechanics: Are there grammar.

Structuring the Report Keeping the Reader in Mind: •The Ten Rules for Clear Writing •Which Font to Use? •Connecting Words 63 .

A typewritten line.Ten Rules for Clear Writing Rule # 1: Keep Sentences Short Control sentence length by noticing the number of lines in each sentence. but worry about those that run more than two lines. 64 . averages 10 to 12 words. or a line in average handwriting. Remember to vary sentence length.

We get more practice in using the words as we speak. Beware of jargon/technical/professional words which the reader may not understand. 65 . so when we see a word which we do not use in conversation. Always try to use words whose meaning are precise. Use a short word (even two or three) instead of a long one. and not open to doubt. However. Try to keep long words below 10% of the total.Rule # 1: Keep Sentences Short: Why Simple Words? Small words are easier to read than the long words because they are easier to recognize and interpret. it is harder for understand. we need some long words for variety and precision. Never try to impress to reader by deliberately using long words.

change show can please 66 .Keep it Short and Simple Rather than using Discontinue Submit for consideration Proceed Commence Intelligible Occurrence Dispatch Make modification to Demonstrate Is in a position to We would be grateful If you would Use stop propose go start clear event send modify.Words to use .

Keep it Short and Simple Use do try use build lack fair rare end Rather than using Accomplish Attempt Utilize Construct Deficiency Equitable Infrequent Terminate But remember: Accuracy.Words to use . and clarity are more important than shortness 67 .

if the right word is a big word.Rule # 2: Prefer the Simple to the Complex We can't resist the use of four-syllable words. the complex form may be best. You need both simple and complex forms for clear expression. 68 . complexity is the one most violated. go ahead and use it. We write “utilization” when we could write "use. But if a shorter word does the job. Of the 10 rules." or "modification" when we could use "change”. use it. At times. This principle does not outlaw the use of a complex form. So.

Rule #2: Prefer the Simple to the Complex: Use about like encourage since adjust has consider Rather than using On the order of magnitude of In the nature of Give encouragement to In view of the fact that Make an adjustment in Is equipped with Take into consideration 69 .

to.000 most common words turn up 80 percent of the time and the 10. and. there are more than 500. The most familiar words are 10 short ones: the.000 words in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. is. The 50 words most often used make up 50 percent of written English.000 words most often used account for 98 percent of all that is written. exact meaning -. I. in. The 1. it. They make up 25 percent of all that is written and spoken in English. a.never to show off. of. 70 . Remember.Rule # 3: Prefer the Familiar Words Intelligent people use their large vocabulary only to give clear. that.

• Actually. wordy language used by those associated with a trade or profession. • Writers use jargon in an attempt to sound educated. technical terms. acronyms. 71 . or knowledgeable. jargon muddies and even distorts the message. sophisticated.Rule # 3: Prefer the Familiar Words: Jargon • Jargon is the technical. and abstract words. Often it is full of passive voice.

He has low grades because he doesn't do his homework. 72 .” The first paragraph above leaves the impression that Alex is a sociopath with a serious problem.Jargon: Compare the Following Two Paragraphs “Alex demonstrates a tendency to engage inappropriately in verbal social interaction during class time.” “Alex talks in class when he isn't supposed to. His grades are deficient because he suffers from an unwillingness to complete supplementary assignments between class periods. The second portrays him as a student who needs to talk less and work more.

Unnecessary words usually are included unconsciously. 73 .Rule # 4: Avoid Unnecessary Words Most reports can be cut in half and still say the same thing. Furthermore. a few minutes spent in going over each sentence and making it more concise will also pay off. One minute spent organizing a mass of details will save several minutes in its writing.

Rather than using 12 midnight 12 noon 3 am in the morning a person who is honest a total of 14 birds biography of her life end result Free gift Future plans period of four days Return again Small in size Square in shape Use midnight noon 3 am an honest person 14 birds biography result gift plans four days return small square 74 .

Passive Verb (Has less impact: i. Active Verb (direct and concise . road transport will be supplied. the same message in five words) James was hit by Bob Consider the following sentence: “in the event of rail strike.e.Rule # 5: Prefer Active Over Passive Verbs The verb is the most important part of the sentence.g.” Supplied by whom? – Not clear!!!! 75 . There are three types of verb: 1.e. It generally conveys action. a message in only three words) Bob Hit James 2.

For example: The hitting of James was carried out by Bob Notice how the sentence is now made of nine words!!! 76 . The Verbal Noun: Totally not recommended This is usually used as padding as in school essays or in pompous pseudo legal writing.Rule # 5: Prefer Active Over Passive Verbs 3.

77 . The active leaves the reader with complete understanding and steers clear of ambiguity and vagueness. It is particularly risky to use the passive voice where action and procedures are involved – they may never get done by anyone. or should take the action.Rule # 5: Prefer Active Over Passive Verbs Active voice leads to writing which is clear and generally more emphatic. The active voice forces us to say exactly what we mean. and we have to accept full responsibility for our statements. We have to clarify who took.

” Active “We discussed the problem of the need to revise your stock taking procedures with Mr Brian Davis last year. It was pointed out that no responsibility could be accepted for the inadequacy of the system at that time.Rule # 5: Prefer Active Over Passive Verbs: Example Passive “The problem of the need for revision of stock taking procedures was discussed last year.” 78 . We pointed out that we thought that the system was inadequate then and we could not accept responsibility for it.

” To soften a passage which is predominantly active. e.g. “The computer was installed to mechanize the accounts” 79 . e.” .When To Use The Passive Voice?? To avoid the impression of being critical of people.The emphasis is on the object of the sentence rather than the subject.g. “Standards of safety have been allowed to deteriorate. particularly in scientific reports where “by whom” is self evident. “The accounts have not been completed.g. e.

involved sentences laden with multi-syllable words that usually occur in our writing. However. Most of us do talk rather untidy English. We pause.Rule # 6: Write Like you Talk "Write like you talk" has its limitations. 80 . We repeat ourselves. We hesitate. in our speech we do not use long.

the engineer might say "the alloy cracks when it is cold-rolled.Rule # 7: Use Terms Your Reader Can Picture An engineer might say an alloy is "not fabricable”. This is a general term that might mean several things. When asked for a more specific meaning." 81 .

They vary in meaning from person to person. remember that the meaning they give them will be determined entirely by their past experiences and purposes. 82 . It isn't enough to write so you will be understood.Rule # 8: Tie In With Your Reader's Experience Many communications fail because writers ignore readers' beliefs and experiences. Words are not fixed. You must write so you can't be misunderstood. the meaning depending upon the experience of that person and the pictures the words call to mind. In trying to persuade readers to accept your words.

structure. 83 . Variety is a main ingredient in the art of writing. Good writers work within a strict discipline of simplicity. you have failed. readers never think the writing is choppy or childish.Rule # 9: Make Full Use of Variety The style of your writing will grow as you write more and more. As a result. Only practice can lead to the facility that produces variety. But they introduce enough variety of sentence length. helps one gain facility more rapidly. however. If you get "caught" writing simply. and vocabulary so that the simplicity is not noticed. Being aware of the point.

Rule # 10: Write to Express. "I can't understand what he is saying. 84 . We often try to impress rather than express. and worry about grammar later. not to Impress A trap awaits the inexperienced writer. It's been a long time since any of us have heard anyone say. Few are fooled by fanciness in language. We try to be someone else. he must be highly intelligent.” Don't get lost in the rules of grammar. Pay attention to clear expression.

not to Impress: Example Written to impress: “Males of advancing years are often characterized by a deterioration of their recollective facilities” Written to express: “old men forget” Shakespeare 85 .Write to Express.

Computer users prefer Arial because the solid lines in Arial are easy to read on a backlit screen. which has slightly larger and rounder characters than Arial.Which Font to Use? For printed pages. most users prefer the type-style (Times New Roman) that is used in newspapers and paperbacks. 86 . Many computer users prefer Verdana.

87 . • They carry over a thought from one sentence to another. • Here is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue your reader in a given way. • Some lead your reader forward and imply the "building" of an idea or thought. from one idea to another. or from one paragraph to another with words or phrases. while others make your reader compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) • Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your report. They help the readers to interpret ideas in the way that YOU want them to understand.

Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) To add and. in contrast. nevertheless. in addition. conversely. furthermore. up against. too. first (second. but. again. on the contrary. yet. what's more. equally important. compared to. after all. nor. further. finally. meanwhile. next. etc…) To Compare whereas. besides. by comparison. balanced against. although. moreover. and then. although this may be true 88 . vis a vis. lastly. where. however. on the other hand.

however. in any case. besides. furthermore. in fact. for the same reason. indeed. therefore To Show Exception yet. once in a while. in spite of. but 89 . that is. nevertheless. still. in addition. obviously. sometimes.Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) To Prove because. evidently. of course. for. despite. moreover.

Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) To Show Time immediately. first (second. after a few hours. and then. in fact. later. surprisingly. indeed.). obviously. as soon as possible To Emphasize definitely. formerly. certainly. always. without a doubt. soon. unquestionably. next. etc. without reservation. undeniably. absolutely. finally. thereafter. never. forever. naturally. since. eternally. positively. extremely. emphatically. for sure 90 . previously. in any case.

third. simultaneously. then. and so forth. consequently. thus. at this point. as I have noted. next. finally. concurrently. subsequently. and then. next. since 91 . hence. A. before this. now. after. following this. soon.Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) To Repeat in brief. at this time. as I have said. therefore. second. C. B. previously. and so forth. afterward. as has been noted To Show Sequence first.

as I have said. as a result. thus. to demonstrate. as an illustration To Summarize or Conclude in brief. take the case of. as I have shown. therefore. hence. on the whole. accordingly. for instance. in this case. summing up. on this occasion.Connecting Words (Transitional Devices) To Give an Example for example. as has been shown. to illustrate. in another case. in this situation. to conclude. consequently 92 . in conclusion.

Writing A First Draft Efficiently And Rapidly • Higher Order Concerns and Lower Order Concerns • Coping with Writing Anxiety 93 .

• What is the writing anxiety and how to cope with it? 94 . Ignore Lower Order Concerns (LOC) for now. Focus ONLY on Higher Order Concerns (HOC).Writing A First Draft Efficiently And Rapidly • While writing your first draft. You also have to cope with the writing anxiety.

Higher Order Concerns and Lower Order Concerns When you are writing your report. not every element have an equal priority. you can then turn your attention to the "Lower Order Concerns" such as sentence structure and grammar. After you have addressed these important elements. often called "Higher Order Concerns" are the "big picture" elements such as logic or focus. 95 . reader and purpose. organization. The most important parts of your report. and development.

Examples of Higher Order Concerns Focus: • Does the report have a central thesis? • Can you offer a one-sentence explanation or summary of what the report is about? • Ask someone to read the first paragraph or two and tell you what he or she thinks the report will discuss. Reader and Purpose: • Do you have an appropriate redears in mind? Can you describe them? • Do you have a clear purpose for the report? What is it intended to do or accomplish? • Why would someone want to read this report? • Does the purpose match the assignment? 96 .

Development: • Are there places in the report where more details. 97 . or support. or specifics are needed? • Do any paragraphs seem much shorter and in need of more material than others? • Ask someone to read the report and comment if something is unclear and needs more description explanation. examples.

98 .Examples of Lower Order Concerns • • • • • • Sentence structure Tenses Word choice Spelling Punctuation Etc…..

• Ask yourself why you put punctuation marks in certain places. • Read the paper aloud watching and listening for anything that sounds incorrect. Do you need to check any punctuation rules? 99 .Examples of Lower Order Concerns • Are there a few problems that frequently occur? Keep a list of problems that recur and check for those.

If we control that anxiety we can make it work for us. we might not perform as well. One way to do that is to use some of the coping strategies listed below. If we let our anxiety overwhelm us.Coping with Writing Anxiety Many situations or activities. it can cause problems. such as writing. 100 . It's important to remember that a moderate level of anxiety is helpful and productive. may make us anxious or apprehensive. taking tests. However. Without it. or speaking before a large audience.

and revise it later. • Think of the present draft as a practice run. • Stop the non-productive comments running through your head and replace them with productive ones. • Break the task up into steps. Write the draft quickly. 101 . • If you have some "rituals" for writing success.Coping Strategies • Focus your energy by rehearsing the task in your head. use them.

• Resign yourself to the fact that you have to write the report.Coping Strategies • Begin in the middle • Talk the paper • Tape the paper • Imagine changing the reader • Take a break: physically walk away from the situation for a few minutes if you can. 102 .

• Breathe deeply. be careful not to use an imperative. Relax and then go on to another muscle group. Hold each breath until it hurts. • Try tensing and releasing various muscle groups. • If you choose a word. stretch as many muscle groups as possible while staying seated.Relaxation Strategies • Some relaxation techniques are proved to help you cope with the writing anxiety and refresh your energy • Stretch! If you can't stand up. fill your chest cavity slowly by taking four of five short deep breaths. Starting from your toes. • Use a calming word or mental image to focus on while relaxing. Don't command yourself to "Calm down!" or "Relax!" 103 . tense up for perhaps five to ten seconds and then let go. Close your eyes: then. and then let it out slowly.

Designing Illustrations •Significant Digits •Effective Use of White space •Visuals •Figures •Tables •Numbers •Units •Equations •Significant Digits 104 .

• The number of significant figures equals the number of figures between and including the least-significant digit and the most-significant digit EXAMPLE: How many significant figures are there in each of the following ? 10. nonzero* digit. *IF there is a decimal point.58 4 010580 5 105 . • The least-significant digit (LSD) is the rightmost. nonzero digit. then the LSD also includes zero.Rules of Significant Figures • The most-significant digit (MSD) is the leftmost.5800 6 105800 4 10.

084 106 .EXAMPLE: How Many Significant Figures? 027.08450 MSD LSD Number of significant figures = 7 Rounded off to 5 significant figures = 27.

MUST have NO more than one digit after the decimal point. 19.Working with Significant Digits: Adding or Subtracting Two Numbers Because 8. the answer.2 has only one digit to the right of the decimal point. 107 .4.

the answer. 10. MUST have NO more than two significant digits. 108 .2 has only two significant digits.Working with Significant Digits: Multiplying or Dividing Two Numbers Because 8.

Readers may not normally sit down and read a whole page. or sections with headings. Adding white space is just one method. A page is easier to read if it is broken into groups of ideas. but they tend to skim. Those sections should then contain paragraphs that are smaller visual blocks.Effective Use of White space • Effective report formatting can greatly increase readability and appeal. • A page should not run on and on. So use meaningful titles to pull them into relevant sections. 109 . • This way readers can skip around to the areas that most interest them.

Why Visuals? Visuals help to increase the amount of information being understood. Visuals have more impact than plain text. Designing Visuals How much detail do YOU want to include? What design format would you like to use? How can you keep it consistent? How can color improve or detract from your presentation? 110 . Readers will remember more when they see visuals.

Scale markings (ticks) 111 . Title 2.Figures Figures are used to quickly convey an understanding of the relationships between the variables of a problem. Certain information must appear on each figure: 1. Each figure must be self explanatory. The title should give a clear description of the figure so that the reader can quickly understand what is being shown. Axis labels 3.

The independent variable (the cause) is placed on the horizontal axis and the dependent variable (the result) is placed on the vertical axis. 112 . For example.Figures Describe what exactly is plotted as function of what. • • If you measure the resistance as function of the temperature: Place the resistance on the vertical axis. If you measure the temperature as function of a heater resistance: Place the temperature on the vertical axis.

g. When comparing two results. if there is lack of space and you place it vertically. and special phrases on your slides.Figures Indicate the variable (preferably a symbol) and the units: e. 113 . and acronyms. Be careful when using abbreviations. Near the vertical axis place the axis label horizontally or. use exactly the same layout for the results being compared. I [mA] or t [s] near ach axes. it should be readable from the right.

Carefully track the decimal points. A decimal point which occurs right at the intersection of two major grid lines may be concealed and lost. Critically important data should be tabulated as well as shown in figures.Figures Include peripheral information wherever YOU feel is necessary to prevent the reader from missing or misunderstanding the point of the figure. Keep in mind the space that will be lost due to the binding of the report. 114 .

Realize what is useful and/or common. Divide the axes in multiples of 1. etc… (ticks). 2. Usually the axes go preferably through the origin (0. Do not put ticks every 3 or 4 units! Have enough (but not too many) ticks. 5. Consider the use of logarithmic divisions. 10. If you don’t start at 0. 115 .Divisions on the Axis The space should be used efficiently.0). it’s good to show it (but cumbersome with Excel).

The Power of the Y Axis Notice how the same information looks very different based on the scales of the Y.axis 116 .

Measurement Points Include all the measurement points. Make them sufficiently large for the reader to see them after you draw a curve through them. 117 . Make sure during the measurement phase that the points will be well distributed. also the ones that seem to be out of range. Where the graph behaves strangely (resonance peaks and so on) there should be more points (hopefully you realized that when doing the measurement!) Often it is useful to indicate an estimation of the inaccuracy using error bars (especially when large or critical).

draw a straight through the points. 118 ..Curves Draw a smooth curve between the points without trying to exactly force it through all of them. such as theory and measurement (solid.). dashed. If the theory predicts that the points lie on a straight line.. show the origin in the graph. especially for curves that are close together or have a different meaning. Use different curve styles. in accord with theory (expectation) and common sense (error bars are helpful for that). If the theory predicts the line to go through the origin.

Example: A Poor Figure Fig. 1: Results 119 .

2. 120 .Example: A Better Figure Fig. Measurement of evaporation rate as a function of input power (third order fit).

17.g. In the heading above each column mention: The contents. Choose the unit to be convenient in size. 121 .g. often using a symbol (e.0173 V Choose the sequence of columns in a logical way (put together what belongs together).g.Tables The table must be self explanatory. U).3 mV instead of 0. [mV]). The unit between brackets (e. e. The title should give a clear description of the table so that the reader can quickly understand what is being shown.

Tables Shift repetitive information from the columns to the heading. It is better for the reader if you put them in an appendix or split them up in smaller tables. 122 . Consider rounding the number of digits for easier understanding (45000 versus 49487.876) Don’t put very long or wide tables in the text if not necessary. Avoid that tables continue from one page to another.

Tables Better not to make horizontal tables: They save space but are difficult to read: The vertical table has the cause in the left and the result in the right and is much earlier to read and comprehend Each table must have a heading 123 .

For example." "The voltage across a forward-biased silicon diode is about 0." OR “The voltage across a forward-biased silicon diode is small (about 0." 124 .7 V).Use of Numbers in Technical Reports Whenever possible. "The voltage across a forward-biased silicon diode is small.7 V. give numerical values in statements and avoid ambiguous words.

However. also "mileage" was expanded to the proper "gasoline per mile".” • The improved sentence is longer because words were added to make the consumption of gasoline refer. the increase in sentence length is justified. 125 . properly. to the automobile and not to the transmission. but not much.” • NEW: “A car with a CVT consumes 102% of the gasoline per mile on the highway compared to the same car with a manual transmission.Use of Numbers in Technical Reports • OLD: “The CVT's highway mileage is slightly less than a manual's.

47 The intent of this rule is to make it more difficult for the reader to overlook the decimal point.. numbers with at least five digits on either side of the decimal point may have a space inserted between groups of three digits. "1. This rule is important because a comma is used as a decimal point in some countries (e. not .000" is wrong).47.g. For example. use 0. (e.g. This is a violation of international scientific and engineering practice.Use of Numbers in Technical Reports Do not insert commas into numbers of more than three digits. insert a zero to the left of the decimal point in order to avoid a "naked decimal point". For numbers between -1 and +1. Germany). 126 . Instead of commas..

then X and Y must have the same dimensions. “In this design R was chosen to be larger than C. “The current through the zener diode must be less than its power rating.Use of Numbers in Technical Reports If the values of X and Y are compared.” The writer may be is saying that the power rating of the zener diode should not be exceeded.” The writer probably intended to compare R to the capacitive reactance. 127 . Watch out for phrases like "400 volts of ac current". Current does not have units of volts.

even if people had lifetimes longer than 200 years. One might also ask if even 72 years of experience is meaningful: experience gained in the 1920s and 1930s with short-range propeller aircraft is not relevant to modern long-range jet aircraft. It is not possible than any person at the combined Delta/Finnair firm has 145 years of experience with these airlines.Improper Addition of Numbers In 1996. 128 . The problem is that experience is not additive. Delta Airlines and Finnair announced a new partnership "with 145 years of experience". They based the number 145 on the fact that Delta had 72 years of experience and Finnair had 73 years of experience.

but only 100°C.Improper Addition of Numbers Another example along the same lines is having four pots of boiling water on the stove. If one poured all of the water into one container. each pot with a temperature of 100°C. Note that temperature is not additive: one liter of water at 100°C when mixed with one liter of water at 0°C produces two liters of water at 50°C. then the water would not have a temperature of 400°C of water. 129 .

e. accuracy.Zero and Infinity Be careful with zero’s and Infinities in laboratory measurements. Don’t just say that it is zero. instead of a long-winded discussion of least significant digits. resolution. When tempted to claim that some value is “unmeasurably small".. When using "unmeasurably small" in an analysis and discussion. try to compute an upper or lower bound. it is better to give an estimate of the smallest nonzero magnitude that could be detected. "Vout was less than 5 mV". A concise way to phrase this is to write. and precision.g. 130 .

Avoid These Situations The voltage across the diode is smaller. for example: The voltage across the diode is smaller than the voltage across resistor R1.” (and the writer better be able to prove it to Crudso's attorneys!) 131 . “ Sudso gets your clothes cleaner than Crudso. Sudso gets your clothes cleaner. The range of options in the comparison must be specified.

g. 132 . The bill will not exceed one hundred (100) dollars.Five or 5? In general. "5 A"). Repeat numbers in legal or commercial writing. Use figures for all numbers when there are numbers of two or more digits for related quantities in the same sentence .” 2. such as "6 of 23 physicians recommend ……. 3. Always use figures when a unit of measurement follows (e. most people spell out numbers that can be expressed in one or two words and use figures for other numbers: There are several exceptions to this simple rule: 1..

Always spell approximate values. "round numbers“. If this rule produces a result that looks awkward. For example: about five years two orders of magnitude about four times larger several kilovolts a few tens of megahertz 5. 133 .Five or 5? 4. it may be better to rewrite the sentence to avoid starting with a number. then the unit is not abbreviated. When a number is at the beginning of a sentence it is always spelled-out. If the approximate value is followed by a unit.

(may cause the reader to read '690' as one number. six oranges. Unclear: The club celebrated the birthdays of 6 90-year-olds who were born in the city. and 3 bananas 115 feet by 90 feet OR 115' x 90' The vote was 9 in favor and 5 opposed 7. two apples.Five or 5? 6.Use a combination of figures and words for numbers when such a combination will keep your writing clear.) Clearer: The club celebrated the birthdays of six 90-year-olds who were born in the city.Numbers in series and statistics should be consistent. 134 . and three bananas NOT: two apples. 6 oranges.

the twentieth century the 1980's or the 1980s Time of Day 8:00 A.m. (or) half-past four in the afternoon Addresses 16 Tenth Street 3 West 114 Street 135 . (or) p. 1965 or 12 December 1965 A.D.M.Five or 5?: Examples of Specific Situations • • • • • • • • • • Days and Years December 12. 1066 in 1900 in 1971-72 or in 1971-1972 the eighties.m.M. (or) a. (or) eight o'clock in the morning 4:30 P.

5 million 136 .000 (or) 17.Five or 5?: Examples of Specific Situations Identification Numbers Room 5 • Interstate 68 • Channel 16 Henry VIII Page and Division of Books and Plays • Page 36 • Chapter 8 • In act 5.047 metric ton Large Round Numbers • Five billion dollars (or) $5 billion • 17.500.7 average • 12 1/4 percent • 0. Scene vi Decimals and Percentages • A 3. scene 6 (or) in Act V.

2. have a lower-case first letter when written out (not abbreviated). However. the units may be specified at the top of the column. volt. hertz" for units. If there are two numbers in a phrase with the same units (e. farad. ampere. 137 . in a table of numbers.Use of Units with Numbers 1. then put the units only after the second number. All units. including those that are named for a person. In general..g. Thus. the units must follow the numerical value every time. provided all of the values have the same units. coulomb. "frequency between 4 and 5 kHz"). All numerical values that have dimensions must have their units specified. write "ohm.

• Only metric prefixes for 10+6 or more have an upper-case abbreviation (e.). In particular. all other units have a lower-case first letter. etc..g.Abbreviations for Units • Units that are named for a person have an upper-case first letter when abbreviated. M = 10+6. a practice that is both incorrect and misleading. The difference between an uppercase M and a lower-case m is nine orders of magnitude! • One should be warned that American manufacturers of capacitors often use "mF" or "MF" to indicate microfarads. 138 . • The proper abbreviation for "kilohertz" is "kHz": only the "H" is upper case. G = 10+9. note that the prefix m indicates 10-3 and M indicates 10+6.

(The only exception is in.) • The proper abbreviations for "alternating current. 139 . then the entire abbreviation is upper case: "AC. direct current. RMS". if the term appears in a title or as the first letter in a sentence. dc. • A period is not placed after an abbreviated unit. unless it is at the end of the sentence. not "sec". rms". and root mean-square" are lower case "ac. However. DC.Abbreviations for Units • Note that the proper abbreviation for "second" is "s". • The same abbreviation is used for the singular and plural form of a unit.

Units of measurement ("kHz") are nouns and can not be used to modify another noun ("frequency").Watch Out for Expressions such as: The signal generator had a 15 kHz frequency. The proper phrasing could be: The signal generator had a frequency of 15 kHz. 6 cm long The proper phrasing could be: 6 cm in length The length is 6 cm Having a length of 6 cm 140 .

or has the multiplication already been done? Maybe the number 3 on the axis of the graph or in a column of text means 3000 V. the author should have written 3 kV Maybe the number 3 on the axis of the graph or in a column of text means 0. the author should have written 3 mV 141 . In such a case.003 V. which is 3 x 10-3.Units with Axis Avoid labeling the axis on a graph or a column in a table as. which times 10-3 is just 3. In such a case. volts x 10-3 This is ambiguous: are the numbers to be multiplied by the reader. for example.

1 and 1000. choose a metric prefix that will make the numerical value between 0. "mmF"). instead of the modern preferred unit. "pF" for picofarad. for "micro-micro-farad". However. • Never use a double metric prefix. in older American literature.Units with Prefixes • In general. one will find small capacitances expressed in "μμF" (or. 142 . For example. worse. the value of a parameter or a variable over the range of a few paragraphs or in a table should have the same metric prefix to allow easy comparison of different values.

• There is no space between the metric prefix and the base unit. the space between number and unit should be a non-breaking space. 143 . so the number will always appear on the same line as its unit.Spaces with Units • There should always be one blank space between a number and a unit: "5 kHz". not "5kHz” • In modern word processors.

If each term has some physical significance. then consider introducing new variables for terms in the equation. For example: D(t) is a damped oscillation that is superposed on a sinusoidal oscillation to give the total voltage. since this is such a standard choice of variable. (One might be excused for not saying that t is the time.) • If an equation is so long that it requires more than one line. it will also make it easier for the reader to understand the equation. 144 . V(t).Equations in Technical Reports • One must identify each of the variables and parameters by name when they first appear.

Some rules apply: • Do not embed equations in a line of text: every equation goes on its own line.Equations in Technical Reports • Technical writing often contains equations. • Number each equation at the right-hand margin. 145 . someone may want to refer to the equation in a letter or future publication. Even if it is not necessary to refer to the equation by number in the text.

they should be treated as part of the sentence: To calculate the strain. 146 . we used equation 1: ε = σ E . (1) where σ is the stress estimated by FEPC and E is the modulus of elasticity of aluminum.Equations in Technical Reports Although equations are separated by white space. ε.

3. in a resistor is given by V = I R. For the special case of a resistor. P. the relation between voltage and current. (3) The power.Equations in Technical Reports The voltage. (4) where I is the current in the device and V is the voltage across the device. 5. and current. dissipated in any two-terminal device is given by P = I V. (5) Notice the period at the end of Eq. since it is the end of a sentence. V. Eq. 147 . I. can be used to express the power as a function of only voltage: P = V2/R.

Reviewing the Report: •Things to check if your report will be translated into another language •Proof Reading Strategies •Checking Lower Order Concerns 148 .

what they expect from the report. religions. what they know about the subject matter. User friendly products and manuals may make the difference between success and failure. Good translations will improve customer satisfaction and help control product liability claims You must be aware of the audience that will be reading the report. attitudes. and how they want the information delivered to them.If your Report will be Translated into Another Language Your report may end up being read by some one who does not know English In our competitive environment. political beliefs. many products are similar in quality and price. their culture. affiliations. socioeconomic status. country or region of origin. Both the author-and the translator-must be knowledgable about the target readers' characteristics: the level of education. etc… 149 .

If your Report will be Translated into Another Language Avoid culture-bound references (i. historical heroes. there is a universal "you". however. politicians. slang. athletes. In English. Be consistent in your terminology. Is it always a box. jokes.. Be careful with pronouns: If the meaning is unclear in the original English.e. Also avoid acronyms and abbreviations. or sometimes have you used the words case or casing! 150 . idioms. The same "you" is applied when addressing children. the ambiguity will probably lead to mistranslation in the target language. In many other languages. The incorrect usage of this pronoun may result in offending the reader. national figures and/or events including sports. friends or elders. and the like). Provide glossaries for key technical terms and definitions. national holidays. there is a familiar and a formal "you".

Text expansion can range anywhere from 20% to 40% depending on the target language. means stop/danger. Design your source documents to allow for text expansion: This will make the page design and page numbers consistent across several translated versions. numbering. The color white in China means authority while for Muslims it means peace and purity. tabloid).If your Report will be Translated into Another Language Be careful with pictures.S. date formats. colors. addresses. 151 . technical support information. Structure documents in small modules to give the translator and the reader breathing room. etc… The color red in the U. telephone numbers. A4. in China it means prosperity and in India it means life. Provide your translator with source files. paper size (letter. English words are often shorter than their equivalents in other languages. warranty information. units.

2eme. 2000 Mardi. le 11 Janvier. 2000 Martes.61 1 107.S.01.61 1st. 2nd.S. 2000 Dienstag. 3rd 1er.A FRANCE GERMANY 1.00 11.Examples on How Numbers and Dates are Written in Different Cultures CARDINAL NUMBERS ORDINAL NUMBERS U. 3erne 1.00 11/1/00 152 . U. 11 Januar.107..A FRANCE GERMANY MEXICO LONG DATES Tuesday. 11 de enero. 3. 2000 SHORT DATES 1/11/00 11.61 1. January 11.107. 2..1.

4. 3.Try to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n as you read through a paper: That will help your eye catch mistakes. 153 .Have another person check it over as well.Proof Reading Strategies 1. line-by-line review of the report.Begin by taking a break: Allow yourself some time between writing and proof reading. Even a five-minute break is productive because it will help get some distance from what you have written. The goal is to return with a fresh eye and mind. 2.Try reading with a "cover." Sliding a blank sheet of paper down the page as you read encourages you to make a detailed.

Checking Lower Order Concerns • • • • • Paragraphs Sentences Tenses Spelling Punctuations 154 .

Paragraphs • Does each paragraph have a topic sentence which states the main idea? • Have you used examples and vivid specific details to describe your topic? • Have you used explanatory sentences to give your opinion or judgment on the topic? • Have you included sentences which pertain only to that idea? • Are transitions used between sentences and paragraphs? • Is there a concluding sentence? 155 .

a verb.Sentences • Does each sentence follow clearly and logically from the one before it? Have you used some type of transitional device between each sentence? • Check each sentence to make sure it has a subject. • Have you run two sentences together incorrectly without a period. and a complete thought. conjunction or semicolon separating them? • Compute the average number of words per sentence. How close is that number compared to the average of 22? 156 .

like emphasis) 157 . • Is the rhythm of your paper interrupted? (except for a good reason. break them into shorter units. • Sentences that are very short tend to produce a jerky style of writing.Sentences • Have you varied the length of sentences in each paragraph? • If your sentences are too long.

Tenses • Have you incorrectly jumped between different tenses? • Have you used the correct form of the verb to express the tense you want? • Do your subjects and verbs agree? 158 .

streets." and words with one or more sets of double letters. countries. • If you are unsure of the spelling of a certain word. words which add "-ing" and "ed.Spelling • Check any word you have doubts about. and titles? 159 . look it up. • Be especially careful of the words listed as spelling nightmares: "ei" and "ie" words. • Have you capitalized names of persons. cities.

man can not live” 160 . can not live” “women without her. question mark.Punctuation • Have you ended every sentence with a period. or exclamation point? • Are your thoughts within sentences broken up correctly by commas for easier understanding? • Have you broken up series with commas? • Have you used a period after abbreviations? • Consider these two sentences: “women without her man.

Tools To Make Your Job Easier 161 .

freezing pans and repeating rows at top in Excel Macros and goal seek 162 .Tools To Make Your Job Easier Microsoft Office Tools: (You can try these tools your self in front of a computer) Spelling and grammar checks Format copier Word count Synonyms and antonyms Auto correct Hyper Links Hiding columns.

Tools To Make Your Job Easier Microsoft Office Tools: Merge Track changes Meta data Other Tools: Babylon dictionary and its glossaries Online translation and dictionary resources Printing to pdf Speech Digitizing figures (with Grab it) Converting pdf files into word Optical Character Recognition 163 .

Study the Meta data on your own 164 .

jsp The Gunning fog index is a test designed to measure the readability of a sample of English writing. If a passage has a fog index of 12.Tools To Make Your Job Easier The Gunning Fog Index it has the reading level of a U. The resulting number is an indication of the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading. Texts that are designed for a wide audience generally require a fog index of less than 12. 165 . high school senior.

and so a superficial examination of their work might lead one to believe that it is all nonsense. from the Wikipedia article on "logorrhea".The Gunning Fog Index: Examples The sentence: “I love you” has a fog index of 1. it often seems as though it makes no sense and all the words are excessive.” 166 . often fail to include extensive concrete examples of their ideas. If you have a fog index higher than 13. such as philosophy and especially postmodernism.2 Readers Digest has a Fog Index of between 8 and 9. your writing is hard to read. Time magazine has a Fog Index of about 11. The following paragraph.5: “ The word logorrhoea is often used pejoratively to describe prose that is highly abstract and contains little concrete language. Since abstract writing is hard to visualize. Writers in academic fields that concern themselves mostly with the abstract. has a Gunning-Fog Index of 17.

Some Online Translation and Dictionary Resources 167 .

Avoiding Common English Pitfalls: • Using Hyphens • Some spelling Rules and Mistakes • Commonly Confused Words 168 .

Use a hyphen to avoid confusion or an awkward combination of letters: re-sign a petition (vs. semi-independent (but semiconscious). 2.Using Hyphens 1. : 3. The author was well known. when compound modifiers come after a noun. shell-like (but childlike) 169 .Use a hyphen with compound numbers: forty-six. resign from a job).Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun: a one-way street. well-known author However. Our much-loved teacher was sixty-three years old. chocolate-covered peanuts. they are not hyphenated: The peanuts were chocolate covered.

mid-September. and don't put two-letter suffixes at the beginning of a new line: lovely (Do not separate to leave ly beginning a new the end of a line. ex-husband. self-conscious Never put the first or last letter of a word at the end or beginning of a line.For line breaks. mid-1980s 5. all. pre-Civil War.. self-assured.(meaning former ). between a prefix and a capitalized word.) eval-u-ate (Separate only on either side of the u..Use a hyphen with the prefixes ex. T-shirt.) 170 . self.Using Hyphens 4. all-inclusive. do not leave the initial e . divide already hyphenated words only at the hyphen: mass-produced.

freight. the rule is relatively simple and worthwhile 171 remembering. . and seizure. conceit • This rule does not work with words pronounced "ay" as in eight. friend. height. feint. seize. neither.Some Spelling Rules Rule # 1: I before E except after C • receive and chief • achieve. thief. conceive. hygiene. brief. perceive. vein. deceive. patience. grief. believe. neighbour. chief. weird. foreign. deceit. receive. receipt. forfeit. leisure. sleigh. • Still. pierce. priest • ceiling. and weigh • There are many exceptions to the rule: either. weight.

without that e after the g.surprising • However. argued. truly) • Exceptions: to avoid confusion and mispronunciation.likeness • (However. • (The word manageable. keep the final e: Advancement .Some Spelling Rules Rule # 2: Dropping Final E • When adding an ending to a word that ends with a silent e. drop the final e if the ending begins with a vowel: Advancing . would be pronounced with a hard g sound. drop the e when adding any ending: argument. noticeable. courageous. for example. the final e is kept in words such as mileage and words where the final e is preceded by a soft g or c: changeable. manageable.) 172 . if the silent e is preceded by another vowel. if the ending begins with a consonant.

Studying • Nor does it apply when the final y is preceded by a vowel: Obeyed .Saying 173 . change the y to i when it is preceded by a consonant.Some Spelling Rules Rule # 3: Dropping Final Y • When adding an ending to a word that ends with y. however: Crying . • supply becomes supplies • worry becomes worried • merry becomes merrier • This does not apply to the ending -ing.

dissatisfied. the word misspelling is one of the most often misspelled words in English. disinterested. For some reason. unnecessary. misinform 174 . adding a prefix to a word does not change its spelling.Some Spelling Rules Rule # 4: Adding Prefixes • Generally.

American Spelling Center Spelling: Between the Americans and the British British Spelling centre Theater Check theatre cheque Tire Gray License Realize Criticize Color Humor tyre grey licence realise criticise colour humour Labor Valor Judgment labour valour judgement Canceled cancelled 175 .

Commonly Confused Words 176 .

• Except is a preposition meaning but. • Expect is a verb meaning anticipate. excluding.Accept/Except/Expect • Accept is a verb meaning receive. Examples This client expects (demands) nothing except (but) the most sophisticated options available. 177 . Will you accept (bear) the responsibility for this decision? We expect (anticipate) everyone to come except (excluding) John. assume. bear. demand.

Examples We advise (suggest to) you to proceed carefully. It rhymes with wise. warn. 178 .Advice/Advise • Advice is a noun meaning suggestion. It rhymes with ice. suggestions. • Advise is a verb meaning suggest to. That was the best advice (suggestion) I've received so far.

Examples At age four. We had already (previously. previously. Alex is reading already (as early as this). Are we all ready (completely ready) to go? 179 . by this time.Already/All Ready Already is an adverb meaning as early as this. by this time) finished. totally ready. All ready means completely ready.

The audience responded all together (simultaneously). Examples These claims are altogether (entirely) false. 180 . completely.Altogether/All Together • Altogether is an adverb meaning entirely. • All together means simultaneously.

it means cause. As a verb. • Effect as a noun means consequence. 181 . Affected. pretentious. imitate. Examples How will this plan affect (alter) our jobs? What effect (consequence) will this restructuring have on profits? He affected (imitated) an English accent. inspire or move emotionally. The affected (pretentious) speech fooled no one.Affect/Effect • Affect is a verb meaning alter. besides being the past tense of affect. can also be used as an adjective meaning imitated.

182 .Always Split These Two All right. There's no such word as alright A lot. There's no such word as alot.

• Break as a verb means separate. Examples During our break (pause) we spotted a break (crack) in the pipeline. opportunity. As a noun. As a noun. drag. it means hindrance. it means separation. Brake (slow) gently when driving on ice by applying slight pressure to the brake (drag). crack. shatter.Brake/Break • Brake as a verb means slow. stop. pause. adjourn. 183 .

• Every day means each day. usual. The workers sort the merchandise every day (each day). 184 . Examples These are our everyday (usual) prices.Everyday/Every Day • Everyday is an adjective meaning ordinary.

Example: Maybe (perhaps) the next batch will be better than this one. • May be is a verb phrase meaning might be. it maybe (might be) worse. On the other hand.Maybe/May be • Maybe is an adverb meaning perhaps. 185 .

It rhymes with red.Lead/Led/Lead Lead as a verb means guide. direct. Gold is much more expensive than lead This gas station sells lead-free gasoline 186 . the past tense of lead. Led is a verb. meaning guided. It rhymes with red. It rhymes with seed. directed. Examples Mike led (guided) the small band to safety. We hope the next elected officials will lead (guide) us to economic recovery. it means front position. Lead is a noun that is the name of a metal. As a noun.

Quite/Quit/Quiet • Quite is an adverb meaning completely. cease or stopped. very. peacefulness. • Quit is a verb meaning stop. It rhymes with sit. silent. It rhymes with fight. entirely. ceased. As a verb. Example: The firm was quite (very) surprised when its most productive investment specialist quit (stopped) work and opted for quiet (calm) life. • Quiet as an adjective means calm. calm. It almost rhymes with riot. noiseless. it means soothe. it means tranquility. 187 . As a noun.

ritual. opposite of left. inscribe.Right/Write/Rite • Right is an adjective meaning correct. • Rite is a noun meaning ceremony. Example I will write (record) the exact procedures so you will be able to perform the rite (ceremony) in the right (proper) way. proper. • Write is a verb meaning record. 188 .

transmitted. the past tense of send.Sent/Cent/Scent • Sent is a verb.01 of a dollar. I sent (dispatched) it to my grandmother. a coin worth . 189 . It means dispatched. smell. • Cent is a noun meaning one penny. • Scent is a noun meaning odor. Example For ten cents (pennies) I bought an envelope perfumed with the scent (odor) of jasmine.

As a verb. it means see. This is the proposed site (location) for the new building. make reference to. 190 . • Cite is a verb meaning quote. • Site is a noun meaning location. position. You must cite all the references you used in the report.Sight/Site/Cite • Sight as a noun means ability to see. Examples At ninety-five my grandmother's sight (ability to see) was acute enough to sight (spot) even the smallest error in a painting. spot.

to explode. or before a verb. to his laboratory. to his castle. Use it only to introduce a prepositional phrase. etc. to my home.To/Too/Two • To is a preposition or part of an infinitive. to propose. to badly botch. etc. to the science room. to write. to our advantage. to seek. Use to for introducing a prepositional phrase: to the store. to a song. to our garden. to carefully examine. to jump. Use to as an infinitive (to followed by a verb. to an open door. to sorely need. sometimes separated by adverbs): to run. to want badly. which usually answers the question where. to the top. 191 .

two. very. 192 .To/Too/Two • Too is an adverb meaning also. as in one. Example The couple went to (preposition) the deli to (infinitive) pick up two (the number) plate dinners because both of them were too (very) hungry. • Two is an adjective. the name of a number. three.

Where/Wear/Were • Where is an adverb referring to place. The tires showed excessive wear (deterioration) Where (location) are the clothes you were (form of be) planning to wear (put on) tomorrow? 193 . it means deterioration. • Wear as a verb means put on. • Were is a verb. the plural past tense of be. Examples These shirts were (form of be) too tight. tire. As a noun. location.

Examples The first runner passed (transferred) the baton to the second just as she passed (went by) the stands. meaning transferred. Three seconds passed (elapsed) before the next runner came by. it means former.Passed/Past • Passed is a verb. the past tense of pass. My great grand father passed away by in 1970 194 . went ahead or by. • Past as a noun means history. She passed (finished) her bar exam on the first try. As an adjective. finished. elapsed.

repair. Example If you can piece (patch) together the pieces (bits) of this story. • Piece as a noun means division. it means patch. As a verb. perhaps we can have some peace (tranquility) around here. creation.Peace/piece • Peace is a noun meaning tranquility. 195 .

• Personnel is a noun meaning staff. Examples The director of personnel (staff) keeps all the personnel (employee) files in order and guards any personal (private) information they contain. 196 .Personal/Personnel • Personal is an adjective meaning private. employees or an adjective meaning dealing with staff or employees.

197 . law. The principal (primary) objective is to make decisions that do not violate with our principles (beliefs). major. belief. As an adjective.Principal/Principle • Principal as a noun refers to the head of a school or an investment. Examples The principal (head) of the school used the principal (investment) of an endowment fund to cover this month's salaries. it means primary. • Principle is a noun meaning rule.

It is occasionally used as a verb or adjective meaning level. simple. What is your plan for tomorrow? 198 . clear. As a noun.Plain/Plane/plan • Plain as an adjective means ordinary. Examples They wore plain (ordinary) clothes. • Plane is a noun meaning airship or flat surface. it refers to flat country. It was plain (clear) to us that the enemy did not see our plane (airship) sitting on the open plain (flat country). also sometimes written as plains.

site. • Seen is a verb. 199 . meaning observed. commotion. the past participle of see. noticed.Scene/Seen • Scene is a noun meaning view. It was the worst we had ever seen (observed). Example We caused quite a scene (commotion) at the scene (site) of the accident.

through the lobby.Threw/Through • Threw is a verb. 200 . Example Tom threw (tossed) the ball through (in one side and out the other) the pipe. Use through to introduce a prepositional phrase: through the door. • Through is an adverb or a preposition meaning in one side and out the other. meaning tossed. the past tense of throw. though the mist.

powerless. Example The patient's heartbeat was so weak (frail) that the doctor was certain he would be dead within a week (seven days).Weak/Week • Weak is an adjective meaning flimsy. frail. • Week is a noun meaning a period of seven days. 201 .

• Which is a pronoun dealing with choice. As an adverb, it introduces a subordinate clause. • Witch is a noun meaning sorceress, enchantress. Examples Which (choice) one do you want? This car, which (introduces subordinate clause) I have never driven, is the one I'm thinking about buying. He did not know which (choice) witch (enchantress) he should ask. I told him to avoid all of them.


Interactive Activity
Select the Correct Word in the Parentheses below: 1. The package will be (sent, cent, scent) if you add another (sent, cent, scent) of postage. 2. We noticed the distinct (sent, cent, scent) of cat litter when we entered the room. 3. Was I (right, write, rite) in assuming I was to (right, write, rite) you a memo about this matter? 4. Who will be performing the (right, write, rite) at tomorrow's service?

Interactive Activity
5. If you will simply be (quite, quit, quiet), I will be (quite, quit, quiet) happy to (quite, quit, quiet) annoying you with my constant request for a (quite, quit, quiet) atmosphere. 6. Our marching band (lead, led) the parade. 7. Mike, carrying a baton made of (lead, led), will (lead, led) the band. 8. Over the next ridge we will be able to (sight, site, cite) the (sight, site, cite) we've chosen for our new home.

Interactive Activity
9. I would be honored to have you (sight, site, cite) me in your research. 10. Even though these trousers (where, wear, were) expensive, they are showing (where, wear, were) along the seams. 11. (Where, wear, were) did you buy those earrings? 12. (Which, Witch) (which, witch) scares you the most?


break) in the concrete road. break) to avoid the (brake. 14. witch) couldn't decide (which. through) the door. 206 . The confused (which. break) when she saw the car ahead (brake. seen) in the movie? 16. Gerald (threw. through) away his opportunity when he walked (threw. seen) that pathetic (scene. Sally slammed on the (brake. witch) stick to use.Interactive Activity 13. 15. Have you (scene.

week) linkage in this machine.Interactive Activity 17. past) the record it had established in the (passed. 20. 207 . 18. piece) of mind. past) year. piece) of news should give you some (peace. plane) brown packages were loaded on the (plain. The sales department has (passed. 19. The (plain. We'll need at least a (weak. This (peace. plane). week) to repair the (weak.

Interactive Activity
21. I (where, wear, were) my (everyday, every day) clothes almost (everyday, every day). 22. (Maybe, may be) we should design a new model. It (maybe, may be) just the thing to brighten our financial picture. 23. If you had been (already, all ready), we could have (already, all ready) begun. 24. You'll be (alright, all right) if you follow the instructions.


1. sent, cent 2. scent 3. right, write 4. rite 5. quiet, quite, quit, quiet 6. led 7. lead, lead 8. sight, site 9. cite 10. were, wear 11. Where 12. Which, witch 13. threw, through 14. brake, brake, break 15. seen, scene 16. witch, which 17. passed, past 18. week, weak 19. piece, peace 20. plain, plane 21. wear, everyday, every day 22. Maybe, may be 23. all ready, already 24. all right

Answers to the Interactive Activity

Cairo University Mechanical Power Department Final Exam – September 2007

Faculty of Engineering Technical Language Two Hours

Answer all questions. Use your time wisely. The maximum grade is 70 points. Answer each question in a new page. You must answer clearly and neatly to get full credit. Question # 1: (15 points) State the different parts of a M.Sc or Ph.D. thesis. Describe in few lines the contents of each part.

Question # 2: Explain in details ONLY ONE of the following three subjects: A- Meta data B- Fog index C- Search tools on the internet

(15 points)

Question # 3: Give ten thought starter questions related to your research topic.

(15 points)

Question # 4: (15 points) State ten of the electronic tools that you may use to facilitate your technical writing job. Describe in few lines each of them.

Question # 5: (10 points) Give an example of a technically-correct table and an example of a technically-deficient table.

Best Wishes


Answer to Question # 1:

(15 points)

State the different parts of a M.Sc or Ph.D. thesis. Describe in few lines the contents of each part. The student should state the different parts of a M.Sc or Ph.D. thesis: Title page, copy right waiver (optional), acknowledgments, table of content, list of figures, list of tables, abstract, introduction, review of previous work, middle chapters (the middle chapters are the back bone of the thesis and vary according to the methodology and topic. Student should give examples for an experimentally-oriented thesis in which the middle chapters would be: -description of experimental setup, experimental results and discussions, error analysis and/or numerically-oriented thesis: -Theory, numerical methods/computer code, results and discussions and error analysis), summary and conclusions, recommendations for further work, references and appendices. The student should describe the content of each part briefly in few lines. Overall answer should be in two to three pages.


where the topic was decided according to the first letter in his etc…) as well as the advanced search options in the search engine (searching for a specific file format like pdf or ppt. It includes (but not limited to) the author name. ocw. Texts that are designed for a wide audience generally require a fog index of less than • www. the date on which the file was created/modified or accessed. There are some online tools that estimate the fog index for a certain The resulting number is an indication of the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading. the changes made to the file (if it in MS word format) Excite at http://www. For students electing to answer part a: Meta data is data about data. Examples include but are not limited to: Yahoo at www. etc…. The student may indicate the existence of some metasearch engines (engines that search other search engines) such as • www. It can be eliminated by printing the MS file to pdf.Search tools on the internet (15 points) Note: The instructor requested a report on ONLY one of these three subjects. high school senior. This usually requires saving the file with a different name. etc….Fog index C. For students electing to answer part c: The student should give examples of many search engines on the internet (not just google). etc… (open course ware at MIT). 212 .com Open Text at Lycos at http://www. or by downloading and installing a tool from MS office website that eliminates this type of data. it has the reading level of a Alta Vista at http://www. If a passage has a fog index of • All4one at http://www. OR.) The student may give reference to some specific Engineering websites such as sciencedirect.Meta data B.all4one. For student electing to answer part b: The fog index is a test designed to measure the readability of a sample of English Northern Light at (allows simultaneous searching of 4 search engines) The student MUST show his understanding of the search tools (such as AND.Answer to Question # 2: Explain in details ONLY ONE of the following three subjects: A. Each student had to do a report on ONLY one of these three topics. for a specific domain name like edu or gov or com. engineeringvillage.

or sayings about ____? . conditions.What other words mean about the same as ____? .When is the meaning of ____ misunderstood? . Examples of the thought starter questions include but are not limited to: .Who can do ____? .What is the function of ____ in this larger thing? 213 .What would it take for ____ to happen now? . what makes it end? .What parts can ____ be divided into? .What are the effects of ____? . poems.What are the different varieties of ____? .What is the purpose of ____? . or circumstances make ____ possible or impossible? .What do I mean by ____? .What would prevent ___ from happening? .What causes ____? .What qualities.What is the larger thing of which ___ is a part? .What is ____ different from? In what ways? .What have I heard people say about ____? .____ is superior (inferior) to what? How? .How much does ____ change from day to day? .How has ____ been different for me? .What is the consequence of ____? .How much can ____ change and still be itself? .Can I quote any proverbs.Answer to Question # 3: Give ten thought starter questions related to your research topic.Is ____ possible or impossible? .When did ____ happen previously? .Are there any laws about ____? (15 points) .If ____ starts.What group of things does ____ belong to? .How is ____ changing? .Does ____ mean something now that it didn't years ago? If so.What are some facts of statistics about ____? .What are some concrete examples of ____? .____ is most unlike (like) what? How? .How is ____ different from things similar to it? .How is ____ different from other things? .What comes before (after) ____? .Where and when does ____ take place? . what? .What is ____ similar to? In what ways? .

) *Compare* it (What is it similar to?) *Associate* it (What does it make you think of?) *Analyze* it (Tell how it's made) *Apply* it (What can you do with it? How can it be used?) *Argue* for or against it 214 . etc.*Describe* it (colors. shapes. sizes.

215 .Answer to Question # 4: (15 points) State ten of the electronic tools that you may use to facilitate your technical writing job. Some of the examples include. Describe in few lines each of them. but are not limited to: Spelling and grammar checks Format copier Word count Synonyms and antonyms Auto correct Hyper Links Hiding columns. freezing pans and repeating rows at top in Excel Macros Merge Track changes Meta data Babylon dictionary and its glossaries Printing to pdf Text to speech Digitizing figures (Example: Grab it) Converting pdf files into word Optical Character Recognition Online translation and dictionary resources The student should describe briefly the content of each topic in two to three lines.

etc…) U E 0 1 2 2 4 3 6 4 8 5 10 6 12 7 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Example of a technically-proper table: (vertical. with variable names and units.Answer to Question number 5: (10 points) Give an example of a technically-correct table and an example of a technically-deficient table. m/s 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Hot-wire voltage. without variable names nor units. etc…) Velocity. without table heading. volt 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Table 3.1: The variation of hot-wire voltage (E) with flow velocity (U) 216 . with table heading. E. Example of a technically-poor table: (horizontal. U.

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