A GUIDE TO WRITING AS AN ENGINEER PDF
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Beer, David F. A guide to writing as an engineer / David Beer, Department of Electrical and Computer. Get Instant Access to A Guide To Writing As An Engineer By David Beer #b16e7d EBOOK EPUB. KINDLE PDF. Read Download Online A. The fourth edition of A Guide to Writing as an Engineer updates Beer and McMurrey's popular book on communication and technical writing for engineers. Used predominantly in freshmen engineering survey courses, the text is also applicable for specific courses on engineering writing.
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Everyone knows that engineers must be good at math, but many students fail to realize just how much writing engineering involves: reports, memos. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , D.F. Beer and others published A Guide to Writing as an Engineer. A guide to writing as an engineer / by David Beer and David is not intended as a straitjacket, but as a focal point to enable writers in the pro-.
Does adding or omitting a comma in a given sentence create noise, or does it improve clarity? If no possible confusion results, some technical writers omit unessential commas. However, others punctuate according to the structure of the sentence, which is discussed in the following. Introductory element commas. Here are further examples of missing commas causing noise. Punctuation 15 Punctuation problem: Punctuation problem: Try saying these sentences aloud with their intended meanings.
Serial commas. Most technical editors prefer to put a comma before the and for a list within a sentence: Notice how the serial comma is useful in the following sentences: Good uses of the serial comma: A serial comma may also prevent confusion: Potential punctuation problem: Rathjens, Technobuild, Johnson and Turblex build the best turbines for our purposes. Rathjens, Technobuild, Johnson, and Turblex build the best turbines for our purposes.
Commas for restrictive and nonrestrictive elements. The problem involved restrictive and nonrestrictive elements. Restrictive elements: The car that has a dented left fender is mine.
Heat that is generated by the air conditioning is used to make hot water. A net-zero energy home is one that requires no external energy source. Nonrestrictive elements: My car, which is a Ford Focus, has a dented left fender. Semicolons Like it or not, semicolons seem to be disappearing from engineering writing.
Often the semicolon is replaced by a comma, which is an error according to traditional punctuation rules. More frequently we simply use a period and start a new sentence, but then a psychological closeness might be lost.
Look at these examples: Your program is working well, however mine is a disaster. Your program is working well; however, mine is a disaster. Punctuation 17 Punctuation problem: Perhaps less noise seems to result from using a comma or a period and new sentence, as in the examples above. Note this pair of sentences: If you frequently use words like however, therefore, namely, consequently, and accordingly to link what could otherwise be two separate sentences, insert a semicolon before and a comma after them.
Use semicolons to separate a series of short statements listed in a sentence if any one of the statements contains internal punctuation. The semicolon will then divide the larger elements: Semicolon to clarify list elements with their own internal commas: I suggest you choose one social science course, such as psychology or philosophy; one natural science course, such as chemistry, physics, or biology; and one math course.
The team is made up of Seth Deleery, vice-president of marketing; Nat Beers, director of research; Ruth Ustby, assistant director of training and human relations; and Cate Kanapathy, chief avionics engineer. Revision possibilities: Notice in the revision with the colon that an independent clause—a statement that can stand by itself—comes before the colon.
Parentheses Use parentheses to set off facts or references in your writing—almost like a quick interjection in speech: Good uses of parentheses: Resistor R5 introduces feedback in the circuit see Figure 5. This reference book published in still contains useful information. Punctuating parenthetical elements: Typical indoor levels of radon average 1.
Whenever I design a circuit like this one , I determine the values of the components in advance. I have already calculated the values of the resistors.
R1 is The next step is to choose standard values. Punctuation 19 If your parenthetical material forms a complete sentence—as in the third example above—put the period inside the closing parenthesis.
Remember, it is best not to use parenthetical material too frequently since these marks force your readers to pause and are likely to distract them if only for a brief moment—see what we mean? He was tall, handsome, rich—and stupid. Since the em dash is considered less formal than the other parenthetical punctuation marks parentheses and commas , avoid overusing it in very formal writing. With this caution in mind, dashes are helpful for the following purposes: Reading all warnings, wearing safety glasses and hardhats, and avoiding hot materials— —all these practices are crucial to sensible workshop procedure.
Notice the em dash touches the let- ters at each end of it. The en dash is Insect cyborgs with backpacks shorter, slightly longer than a hyphen, and is used when you cite ranges of Engineers at University of Michigan numbers: Omitting them can sometimes For details, see the Preface for create real noise, as when we read coop the URL. Consen- sus is lacking on whether to hyphenate pairs of words acting as a unit before a noun—as in The transistor is a twentieth-century invention. Sometimes a recent dictionary can help, but here are some suggestions: You may have to distinguish, for example, between recover regain and re-cover or resent and re-sent.
A hyphen improves the second sentence of each of the following pairs: We used a 16 key keypad. We used a key keypad. We knew Marienet made klystrons would be able to generate a 9. We knew Marienet-made klystrons would be able to generate a 9. The equation assumes a one dimensional plane wave propagation inside the horn. The equation assumes a one-dimensional plane-wave propagation inside the horn. Research showed the computer aided students improved their grades dramatically.
Research showed the computer-aided students improved their grades dramatically. But how do you hyphenate really complex technical terms such as direct axis transient open circuit time constant?
Quotation Marks Use quotation marks to set off direct quotations in your text, and put any needed period or comma within them, even if the quoted item is only one word. Although British publishers use different guidelines, the American practice is always to put commas and periods inside quotes, and semicolons and colons outside: Good punctuation of quotations: Good punctuation of question marks in quotations: If you need to quote material that takes up more than two lines, use a blockquote in which you set it off from your regular text with vertical spaces, indent it from both right and left margin, and omit the quotation marks: Good use of a block quotation: The lead engineer delegates the writing of numerous sections to specialists, who may not be aware of the overall goals of the project, and may have parochial views about certain requirements.
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The importance of consistency cannot be overstressed in the production of. A problem can occur, however, when several words come between your subject and verb and you forget how you started the sentence.
If you are writing in a hurry and leave no time for editing, you might produce problems like these: Agreement problem: Only one of the pre high-rise structures were dam- aged in the quake.
Only one of the pre high-rise structures was damaged in the quake. Those plural nouns above components, buildings, structures are not the true subjects of their sentences. Style and grammar checkers on your word processor are not entirely reliable ways to check for these kinds of errors.
Sometimes a question arises in engineering writing with units of measurement. For example: Twelve ounces of adhesive was added. Twelve grams of acid was spilled. The reason for the singular verbs above is a matter of logic rather than grammar. Either the old manual or the recent procedures are acceptable. Either the recent procedures or the old manual is acceptable.
The verb agrees with the word following or or nor. For example, readers get the wrong impression or no impression about who is doing what in a sentence. Consider the following: Jumping briskly into the saddle, the horse galloped across the prairie. Jumping briskly into the saddle, the outlaw galloped across the prairie. After testing the mechanism, the theory behind it was easily understood. After testing the mechanism, we easily understood the theory.
I was ordered to get there as soon as possible by fax.
A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 5th Edition
I was ordered by fax to get there as soon as possible. By the age of 4, her father knew that she would be an engineer. By the time his daughter was 4, her father knew that she would be an engineer. The tone-detector circuit was too unreliable to be used in our telephone answering device, which was built of analog devices. The tone-detector circuit, which was built of analog devices, was too unreliable to be used in our telephone answering device.
The sentence would be correct if the telephone answering device was made of analog devices, but much more likely the writer is concerned with the inaccuracies of an analog tone-detector circuit, as shown in the revision. Unclear Pronouns When you use a pronoun in your writing, it is commonly assumed that you are referring to whatever noun or nouns come just before it in the sentence.
Thus, The promotion was given to Vicky, who really deserved it, is perfectly clear: The who refers to Vicky. Problems can occur, however, especially with the pronouns this and that, with their plurals, and with which and it: Pronoun problem: We will study the terrain by soil analysis and computer simulation before reaching a decision on whether construction can take place here.
This will also enable us to. This study will also enable us to. These prompted them to further investigate. These discoveries prompted the three to further investigate. Traditional Sentence Errors 25 What does the This refer to in the second sentence—study, terrain, analysis, simulation, decision, or construction?
The meaning is much clearer in the revision. Parallelism Parallelism refers to items in a list using the same style of phrasing.
Faulty parallelism creates noise because it is grammatically inconsistent. Consider this example: Parallelism problem: After a lot of discussion, the team concluded that their alternatives were to call in a consultant, thus increasing the cost of the project, or having three more engineers reassigned to the team.
After a lot of discussion, the team concluded that their alternatives were to call in a consultant, thus increasing the cost of the project, or to have three more engineers reassigned to the team. The revision states that the alternatives are to call in a consultant.
See if you can recognize the lack of parallelism in the problem version: Keeping parallel structure is even more important when you construct lists, as Chapter 3 will show.
She decided to major in petroleum engineering. Nonproblem fragment: The Kinectimals video game lets players pet a virtual pet on their TV screen. But not actually groom their pets remotely! The Kinectimals video game lets players pet a virtual pet on their TV screen——but not actually groom their pets remotely!
The nonproblem fragment above is fun in a popular, journalistic context, but Cyborg insect warriors it could not stand alone and make sense. Researchers at DARPA are looking In your formal engineering writing you at ways to enable remote-control- would do well to avoid fragments. For details, see the Preface for the URL.
Two Latin Legacies Taught to us in the past, a few grammar rules do not hold up under careful linguistic or logical inspection. They were based on how Latin works, rather than English. To put it another way, noise seldom occurs when these rules are ignored. Here are the two main ones, together with comments and a caution. In reality, that is often the best word to end a sentence with. A purist might claim we should have just written. Compare the following pairs of example.
Hypercorrect version: Natural version: The team has been unable to, except for the lead engineer and one technician who is on temporary assignment with us, master the new program. Except for the lead engineer and one technician on temporary assignment with us, the team has been unable to master the new program.
The team has been unable to master the new program— —with the exception of the lead engineer and one technician who is on temporary assignment with us. In the following pairs, the problem versions are restrictive; the revised versions are inclusive. The revisions show how you can easily reword your sentences to include everyone they should: Sexist language: Every engineer should be at his workstation by 9 a.
Every engineer should be at his or her workstation by 9 a. Engineers should be at their workstations by 9 a. An employee can expect a lot of challenges during his career here. Employees can expect a lot of challenges during their careers here. Every technician must wear safety glasses when he enters the work area. Technicians must wear safety glasses when entering the work area. One title that still sneaks through, however, especially in organizations traditionally dominated by males, is chairman.
Sarah is chairman of the new committee on marketing strategy. Sarah is chair of the new committee on marketing strategy. Sarah is chairing the new committee on marketing strategy. Sentence Length When dealing with highly technical subjects, you should rarely write sentences over 20 words long. Even nontechnical ideas are hard to grasp in long-winded sentences: Technical Usage 29 Overly long sentence: Instead, they responded with a proposal to extend the project.
Nobody wants to be left breathless at the end of a mile-long sentence. The readability of your prose will be determined partly by the length of your sentences. Short, choppy sentences: It has outstanding performance. It offers a frequency range of 29—54 and — MHz. It includes 50 memory channels. The design is sleek. Individual channels can be locked out. They can also be delayed.
Individual channels can be locked out or delayed. Read on! Useless Jargon. In its negative sense, jargon is pure noise since it refers to unintelligi- ble speech or writing. High-tech jargon is some- times known as technobabble or scispeak. Fourier scaled emission 4.
Use only when you want to be sure no one understands you. Readers the URL. Useful Jargon. A chemical engineer might use the term deoxyribose around a group of peers without needing to explain it, just as a geologist could talk about the Paleozoic era or Devonian period with other geologists.
Computer engineers can safely refer to bytes, bauds, and packet switching—among themselves. Experts need specialized jargon. As an engineer, you know and use your technical jargon. The way to avoid noise when using technical terminology is to know your audience. Abbreviations Abbreviations are necessary in technical communication for the same reason that useful technical jargon is: They refer to concepts that would take too much space to spell out fully every time.
Good uses of acronyms: Then it goes into read-only memory ROM. Be aware that unnecessary capitalization creates noise—distractions that readers would prefer to skip. Some people make a distinction between initialisms and acronyms. Acronyms do the same but are pronounced as words: Some acronyms become so commonplace that we think of them as ordinary words and write them in lower case: Two usage pointers: Consider LEM lunar excursion module for example.
Form the plural of acronyms and initializations by adding a lowercase s. Only put an apostrophe between the abbreviation and the s if you are indicating a possessive form: We ordered three CRTs.
Numbers Engineering means working with numbers a great deal. Here, much written noise can occur due to typos, incorrect or inexact numbers, and inconsistencies. Obviously, you can avoid serious noise by making certain any number you write is accurate. Also, give numbers to the necessary degree of precision: Know whether Numbers are expressed as words twelve or numerals Cardinal numbers are one, two, three, etc. Avoid noise from inconsistent use of numbers by following these guidelines: However, if the numeric value represents a critical value, and you are writing in a technical context, use the numeral.
If the numeric value is not critical, use the word: She presented three arguments to support her assertion. Use words, not numbers, when expressing rounded or approximate numbers: There are now thousands of apps for the iPhone.
On Wikipedia, there are over three million articles in English. When more than one number appears in a sentence, write them all the same: The IPET has members and chapters in 6 regions. Technical Usage 33 5.
If two numeric values occur in a sequence, make one of them a word and the other numerals: The project calls for eight 6-foot boards. Spell out ordinal numbers only if they are single words. Write the rest as numerals plus the last two letters of the ordinal: Thirty-two computers were manufactured today.
Last year, engines were manufactured in this division.
Some countries use periods as decimal markers. Thus 10,, and 10 and Form the plural of a numeral by adding an s, with no apostrophe. Make a written number plural by adding s, es, or by dropping the y and adding ies: Place a zero before the decimal point for numbers less than one.
Omit all trailing zeros unless they are needed to indicate precision. Write fractions as numerals when they are joined by a whole number. Connect the whole number and the fraction by a hyphen: Time can be written out when not followed by a.
Use numerals to express time in hours and minutes when followed by a. Choose the best format and be consistent: The vital rule is not to mix English and metric units unless you are forced to.
If you do not write out the complete word, be sure to use the commonly accepted abbreviation or symbol for a unit, and leave a space between the numeral and the unit. A great deal of noise or disaster could result if you confused the following, for example: Note that when the name can take a plural form, an s is not added to the abbreviation KB equals 2 MB.
Symbols and abbreviations are indispensable to an engineer, but use them sparingly when writing for an audience other than your peers. Many word-processing programs now make it easy to write equations in text. In other words, bioluminescent bacteria.
Normally, center equations and num- For details, see the Preface for ber them sequentially in parentheses to the URL. See Figure Leave a space between your text and any equation, and between lines of equations. If you have more than one equation in your document, keep the equal signs and reference numbers parallel throughout: Figure Examples of multiline equations. Notice the standard punctuation marks at the appropriate places.
We could all produce better written documents if we always: For an engineer, time is frequently a problem. How much time you invest in editing should be in direct proportion to the importance of the document. Collaborative Proofreading Nothing is wrong with having someone look over your writing before you submit it to its intended audience. In industry, experts often cooperate in writing reports, proposals, and other documents just as they work together on engineering projects.
In fact, most lengthy documents are produced by team effort, where different team members use their particular strengths. Collaborative editing can be as simple as asking a friend for his or her opinion of your work and using those comments to improve your writing. The more skilled and frank your friend is, the better. With a long document, however, collaborative editing can be done by having different team members check the document for different potential kinds of noise.
Write as a Team. Bibliography 39 2. What makes it effective, noise-free writing? List and give examples of the ways in which the writer has carefully observed many of the guidelines given in this chapter.
Then investigate how the author uses technical terminology. Is it appropriate for the audience?
Related Cover Letter & Resumes
In technical journals, review how reports or articles use abbreviations, numbers, units of measurement, and equations. Are they consistent internally? Do they vary between reports and journals? In the case of journals, does the journal provide a style guide for contributing writers? Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age, rev. San Francisco: HardWired, Pearsall, Thomas E. The Elements of Technical Writing, 2nd ed. Rude, Carolyn and Angela Eaton. Technical Editing, 5th ed. Longman, Strunk, William.
The Elements of Style: The Original Edition. Dover, The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. The University of Chicago Press, What is sometimes forgotten is that the relationship of form and content applies to documents as well as to physical phenomena.
Without some type of form, be it well or poorly structured, no content can be communicated. Attention is. These guidelines follow the overall process used by successful engineering writers and include important considerations for your entire writing process. The topics covered here represent common problems you as an engineer are likely to face in the course of writing and formatting your documents.
What she wrote over twenty years ago still holds: Before starting to write, have a Kite power good idea of precisely who your audience is and what you want to communicate to Kites may soon gather energy in them. Broadly speaking, the purpose of most technical writing is either to present information or to persuade people to act or think in a certain way.
Frequently, however, your documents will have to be both informative and persuasive. Do I want to 1. Inform— —provide information without necessarily expecting any action? Request——obtain permission, information, approval, help, or funding?
Instruct— —give information in the form of directions, instructions, or pro- cedures so that my readers will be able to do something? Propose— —suggest a plan of action or respond to a request for a proposal? Record— —document for the record how something was researched, car- ried out, tested, altered, or repaired?
Only a careful analysis of your purpose or purposes for writing and the nature of your audience can give you the answers and thus enable you to write to the point. First, a great deal of technology transfer would have to take place. This may seem obvious, but a lot of technical writing fails because writers make inaccurate assumptions regarding their audience. Engineers often write without taking adequate time initially to analyze those who must read their work.
Since you write for many different audiences during your career, as Figure shows, take the time to analyze your audience before writing to them. To get results, your communication must bridge a gap between you and your target audience, likely to involve knowledge, ability, or interest. Engineers Fellow in other engineers? Non- fields? Figure You will deal with many different people as your career progresses, so it is best to have a clear picture of who your audience is before beginning to communicate with them.
Will they be offended or bored by elementary details? If management asks for a brief memo, they may be irritated when you overload their circuits with a lengthy, detailed treatise. If you respond to an RFP request for proposal that calls for a proposal of no more than ten pages but submit something twice that long, your proposal will likely be eliminated from the competition. This summary will be used for public information and should be written in terms that nonscientists can easily understand.
Here is an example from an RFP for a government research program: Your documents need to have the most important information at the beginning. Start with your key points, conclusions, or recommendations before presenting the supporting details. For instance, if you test to determine whether some equipment should be replaced, your supervisor will want to know what you have found out and what you recommend.
In a letter, it will be in the opening sentences just after an indication of the purpose of the letter. Consider these examples: Employee safety Better: Need for employees to wear hard hats and safety glasses Vague: Emergency requisitions Better: See the chapters on individual reports and the sections on abstracts and executive summaries.
Inaccurate references to the work of others also will cause your readers to be highly suspicious of the reliability of your entire report—and even of your honesty as a writer see Chapter Inaccurate directions in a set of instructions or procedures might be frustrating at best, disastrous at worst.
Considerable problems have resulted when engineers gave measurements in standard units that were assumed to be metric by others. What about purity and variations in atmospheric pressure? There is also a great difference between fact and opinion.
The danger comes when opinions are stated as facts: The NR is by far the best piece of equipment for our purposes. To be strictly honest, the writer should identify it as an opinion unless evidence is presented to support it as fact. In short, make sure that 1 your facts are correct when you write them down and 2 your opinions are presented as such until adequate evidence is provided to verify them.
Organize your material so that each point or section uses an appropriate overall pattern. If readers want to know what progress you have made on a project, what you did on a trip, or how to carry out a procedure, present your material in chronological order. Descriptive organization: If they expect description of equipment or facilities, provide them with a description that moves from one physical point to another.
Organization by order of importance: Organization by level of difficulty: General-to-specific organization: Explaining the technical is a lot about knowing some tools and using them intelligently: Noise is a term in both analog and digital electronics that refers to random unwanted perturbation to a wanted signal.
For nonspecialists, examples are a big help in understanding the technical: For some readers, discussing the importance of a topic helps them to wake them up and pay attention. It is important to understand the health effects of noise: Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects.
Explain the Technical to Nonspecialists 47 Uses and applications: People also wake up and pay attention when you explain how something can be used to good advantage. Dithering is the process of intentionally applying noise to create the illusion of color depth and natural-looking variation in computer-generated images.
Causes and effects or reasons ; problems and solutions; questions and answers: It helps to discuss these pairs of information types.
Here are some examples: High levels of noise can block and distort the meaning of a message in communica- tions. Thermal noise can be reduced by reducing the temperature of the circuit. Discussing the categories of a topic can help readers gain a broader understanding of the topic. In-other-words explanations: European robins living in urban environments are more likely to sing at night in places with high levels of noise pollution during the day. Readers can also gain better understanding simply by being able to visualize some aspect of a topic.
At the north of the sound tube, a massive sculptural work was placed consisting of a giant yellow beam hanging diagonally across the road and a row of smaller red beams alongside the road. Process explanation: Going carefully, methodically, step by step through an essen- tial process can also help readers understand.
In communication theory, the sender is the encoder, and the receiver is Researchers at Virginia Tech have the decoder.
Writing Manuals & Guides
For details, see the Preface for aHistory: For some readers, it helps to the URL. After the passage of the U. Noise Control Act of , the program was abandoned at the federal level, under President Ronald Reagan, in Hierarchical Headings Hierarchical headings enable us to look at the pages of a document and get a sense of its organization and contents. Headings and subheadings act as signposts that help readers get through a document without getting lost.
Use boldface to make the heading stand out and separate it from the written material above and below it by at least one line space. Third-level headings. Place third-level headings on the same line as the text they precede.
Capitalize them as a sentence would be; use boldface or italics. Notice that all three levels of headings use a sans serif font Arial in this case while body text uses a serif font Times New Roman in this case. Numbered Headings. Some companies and suppliers require numbered or decimal headings. A number system makes it easier to cross-reference other parts of a long report. When you use headings, watch out for these issues: Phrase headings so that they indicate the topic of the section they introduce.
As for frequency of headings, try for two to three headings per page, as this book demonstrates. Subordinate headings. Make sure that headings within the same section and at the same level are parallel in phrasing.
To see headings in action, browse the examples in Chapters 5 and 6. Styles make formatting your report much easier. For the web address, see the Preface.
In some cases, readers retrieve information from lists more easily than from regular paragraphs. Next, set up the op-amp as shown in Figure 1. Use a 1 Vpp sine wave at 1 kHz and then plot the output waveform on the HP digital scope.
Then obtain a Bode plot for the gain from Hz to 20 KHz. Set up the op-amp as shown in Figure 1. Use a 1Vpp sine wave at 1 kHz. Plot the output waveform on the HP digital scope.
Obtain a Bode plot for the gain from Hz to 20 kHz. Use a numbered list for items in a required order. Numbered lists can also be used to indicate an order of importance in your data, such as a list of priorities or needed equipment.
To set up the computer: Connect the monitor to the computer through the monitor port. Connect the keyboard and mouse to the computer through the ASF port. Connect the power supply to the computer. Connect the printer to the printer port. Connect the modem to the modem port. Use checklists to indicate that all the items in your list must be tended to, usually in the order presented: Make Your Ideas Accessible 51 3.
When any list gets longer than ten items, try to break them down into smaller, more manageable sections and give each section its own subheading or lead-in. Use a bulleted list when the items are in no required order: Some of the main concerns of environmental engineering are: Avoid lengthy bulleted lists—over seven items. When list items themselves are lengthy, get some vertical space between them. If you have sublist items in a required order, use lowercase letters.
If the sublist items are in no required order, use a less prominent symbol for example, a clear disc or an en dash. Make sure all lists begin with a lead-in, as the examples here illustrate. Punctuate a lead-in with a colon if it is grammatically complete: Punctuate list items with a period if they are complete sentences or contain embedded dependent clauses. Be consistent with how you capitalize list items that are not complete sentences. Make list items parallel in phrasing.
For example, if some entries begin with a verb, all entries should do so; if all begin with a noun, all should. This makes for smoother reading and logical neatness. Note how the following list is bumpy due to problems with parallelism: Lack of parallel phrasing: Last week we accomplished the following for WW3-a: Note See the chapter in the website companion corresponding to this one for steps on creating and formatting the different kinds of lists for your reports.
A busy manager, for example, will want to scan your information as quickly as possible. When your readers are trying to follow demanding technical information, they are already challenged, and presenting it to them in solid page-long chunks is discouraging. When editing your work, look for any overly long paragraphs and try splitting them—for example, at a change of topic or type of writing from concepts to examples.
When you split paragraphs, remember that you may have to add a transitional word or phrase. With so much writing in industry, costs mount up. A little training in being concise and in sharpening your writing and editing skills can save time and money—plus much time-consuming work for your readers.
Inflated Words and Wordiness Choose the simplest and plainest word whenever you can. Unkind editors sometimes refer to this as verbiage by analogy to garbage? Similarly, your reader is unlikely to thank you for having to plow through when you could have simply said you recommend buying a new computer. I do not know.
It is our considered recommendation that a new computer should be purchased. We recommend the purchase of a new computer. You can eliminate a lot of wordiness in your writing by training yourself to edit carefully and to make every word count.
It is essential that the lens be cleaned at frequent intervals on a regular basis as is delineated in Ops Procedure c. Clean the lens frequently and regularly see Ops Procedure c. The location of the experimental robotics laboratory is in room A.
The experimental robotics lab is in A. There are several EC countries that are now trying to upgrade the communication skills of their engineers.
Several EC countries are trying to upgrade the communication skills of their engineers. A good stylebook will give numerous examples, but here are a few that crop up frequently in engineering writing: Redundancy Redundancy refers to the use of words that say the same thing, like basic fundamentals, or phrases that duplicate what has already been said, as in They decided to reconstruct a hypothetical test situation that does not exist.
In fact, if you master the art of redundancy, you can make everything you write almost twice as long as need be. The company may not be awarded the contract because it lacks production facilities. What does the preceding revision leave out other than unnecessary words?
Here is a matrix of such possibilities: The engineer wrote the report. The passive voice turns it around: The report was written by the engineer. Thus the active voice emphasizes the performer of the action—the engineer, in our example—while the passive emphasizes the recipient of the action, the report.
They might write It was ascertained that. Perhaps such hedging is necessary at times since it helps conceal responsibility and gives us no one to blame! The passive voice is certainly appropriate when writing up your research or describing a process, for example. Good uses of the passive voice: Electricity was discovered thousands of years ago.
The bridge was torn down in The contaminated material is then taken to a safe environment. Sometimes the passive will give variety to your writing, even if your inclination is to write predominantly in the active voice.
Effective use of the passive voice for variety and continuity: Computer experts claim that general-purpose processors have unpredictable execution times due to their use of complex architectural features.
This claim has now been tested by our group and we have found that the architecture really induces little or no unpredictability. Moreover, data gained from our study show how the execution times can be predicted.
It was also found that. Passive-voice problem: A system for delineating these factors is shown in Figure 5. Figure 5 shows a system for delineating these factors. By switching off the motor when it started to vibrate and looking at the tachometer, the resonant frequency was determined.
We determined the resonant frequency by switching off the motor when it started to vibrate and looking at the tachometer. The passive can become especially problematic in procedures or instructions: The button is pressed twice. Press the button twice. Previously entered data in the database is eliminated by the Edit menu being opened and Select All being chosen.
Eliminate previously entered data in the database by opening the Edit menu and choosing Select All.
Nowadays engineering writers are getting away from the rigid use of the pas- sive. Pedestrian power By showing that a person is involved in A UK company called Pavegen has the work, you are doing no more than developed tiles that harvest kinetic admitting reality.
Also, the active voice energy from pedestrians walking gives credit where credit is due. If we on them. Camouflaged Subjects and Verbs Wordy, awkward, unclear writing occurs when the true subject—or actor—of the sentence is not expressed in the grammatical subject: Complaints by employees about the food served in the company cafeteria have been frequent.
Employees have frequently complained about the food served in the company cafeteria. The invention of writing toward the end of the fourth millennium BCE is credited to the Sumerians. Sumerians are credited with the invention of writing toward the end of the fourth millennium BCE. An analysis of the data will be made when all the results are in. We will analyze the data when all the results are in.
The same problem can occur when the main action of the sentence is not expressed in the grammatical verb: Employees have frequently made complaints about the food served in the company cafeteria.
The Sumerians, who lived in southern Mesopotamia now roughly the lower half of Iraq , created word writing about BCE.
An investigation of all possible sources of noise was undertaken. All possible noise sources were investigated. Acknowledgment of all incoming messages is performed by the protocol handler. The protocol handler acknowledges all incoming messages. Notice the problem version has three expletives! Weak expletive: It is the results of studies of the central region of the M87 galaxy that have shown that there are stars near the center that move around as though there were some huge mass at the center attracting them.
Results of studies of the central region of the M87 galaxy show that stars near the center move around as though some huge mass at the center were attracting them. Mind-Numbing Noun Stacks Another problem, particularly in the technical world, involves jamming three or more nouns together into a phrase, which is called a noun stack.
Noun stack: Install a hazardous materials dispersion monitor system. Install a system for monitoring the dispersal of hazardous materials.
True, the revisions have more words but are more understandable. This problem is known as a faulty predication. Faulty predication: Sir, send me an effective resume format for engineering fresher.. Sir I engineers final semester exam of BE..
Writing an Engineering technical report
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