Using Numbers for Technical Writing

ThinkingWoman170While some organizations may have their own style guides outlining their unique preferences, the following 14 guidelines are how numbers should be used, absent a formal style guide in your organization.
1. Use Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3,) for:
• All numbers over nine in the text
There were 98,526 wafers in that batch. There were 10 operators involved. (But: Ten operators were involved.)
Note that when the first word of a sentence is a number greater than nine, you have two options: (a) spell it out, or (b) re-write the sentence so it does not start with the number. The exception is a numeral that identifies a calendar year.
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Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Technical Writing: Will They Get It?

womanTyping250Strictly speaking, the purpose of technical writing is to provide technical information in a totally objective way. This type of technical writing is frequently written for professionals in a specific field who already  “speak the language,” and understand the general concepts. So what may look like unintelligible “jargon” to the non-technical reader may well be a timesaving “insider language” for the technical reader in that specific field.

It is important to make the distinction between this type of technical writing, and a second type – the type of technical writing most of us will most often be called upon to write: technical writing that is, by most (short) definitions, good business writing dealing with technical information.

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How Many Common Writing Errors Do You Make?

Let’s talk a bit about grammar and usage errors today. Can you find the errors in the following three sentences?Gail Tycer wordpress wordle

1. Woodland Caribou: Less than 65 roam America’s mountains and mesas.

2. As soon as they get the test scores back, her or her assistant will call you

3. They thought living in Canada would be a lot different than living in Portland, Oregon.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this short quiz. If you’d like to test yourself further, visit our archives:

http://www.businesswritingzone.com/freeresources/writingquiz.shtml

Published in: on December 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Write Gift – Beyond Price, Yet It Costs Nothing

youngBoyWriting200Almost always these posts are dedicated to business writing strategies, tips, and tactics to help you write less, say more – and get results on the job.

This week, I’m feeling that old holiday nostalgia, and would like to digress, and talk a bit about some of the best gifts I’ve ever received. They would not be for everyone, but it may be they’ll spark some ideas for you, and perhaps some wonderful memories for someone special to you.

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Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm  Comments Off on The Write Gift – Beyond Price, Yet It Costs Nothing  
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How to Write Instructions that Work!

Remember the last time you started to install, or assemble, or repair something, following the appropriate set of manufacturer’s instructions – only to find that, while they included steps 2, 5, 6-8, 10, and 12 – they had forgotten to include steps 1, 3-4, 9, and 11?

How did you feel about the person who wrote those instructions and what about the company the instructions came from?

The instructions you and I write on the job are usually somewhat simpler, and certainly different from the late Christmas Eve “special gift” assembly guidelines described above. But the writing process for creating a clear, effective instruction that allows your reader to get the job done is very similar.

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Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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You May Be Good – But Why Take Your Word for It?

ShakingHands175One of the keys to writing less and saying more can be summed up in one word: specificity. Be specific.

There is too much communication at every level today, and on every subject. How can you stand out, help your reader “get it” quickly, and make every word count? Be specific. Become aware of the words and phrases that are vague, general, and mean nothing. Words and phrases that are used so often, that are so trite your reader reads right past them – or not at all. For example:

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Published in: on September 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your Most Cost-Effective Marketing Tool

Your day-to-day business writing could be – should be – your most cost-effective marketing tool, no matter what you’re writing. And you don’t have to be a marketing expert to use it this way!Pen and Paper

First, ask yourself why you are writing. To inform? To persuade? No, really. Think about it. Much of the regular, routine information you pass along has a job to do, in addition to providing that information. When you provide the information, how do you want your reader to think about your organization? About you? Isn’t there a bit of persuasion there?

If, after reading your written communication, your reader were asked, “What do you think about (your organization)?” what do you want him or her to say? Isn’t there a bit of persuasion there?

“They seem to know what they’re doing,” might be one desirable judgment. “They sound like they’re easy to work with,” another.

So how do you write so that you get those opinions?

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Published in: on September 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm  Comments Off on Your Most Cost-Effective Marketing Tool  
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Nine Places to Find Ideas for Your Blog Post

O.K. So you’re convinced. You’ve got to have a blog site, and post to it frequently. The internet is full of articles telling you how important this is to build trust; to establish yourself as an authority in your field; to improve your “findability” with the search engines; to attract the “right fit” for potential clients, customers, and employees; to increase traffic to your website; and to stay top of mind with your clients, customers, and prospects.

Now the next question – whether you are new to blogging, or a veteran – becomes “What do I write about?”

TalkBubbleBlog

Here are nine places you can find things to write about:

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Published in: on September 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Readers Want to “Like” You Online!

People may be a whole lot nicer than given credit for, according to a new study published on the Journal of Science website last week. Study findings could well have significant implications for communication – especially traditional marketing communication – in the long run.

To reach their conclusions, researchers examined how thousands of people reading online comments reacted and responded, perhaps providing new ideas on how marketers can present their products or services positively today.

Here’s what researchers found:ShakingHands175

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Published in: on August 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Business Writing Tip of the Week: Strategic Business Writing – a Powerful, Cost-Effective Marketing Tool

Companies that thrive today realize that as dollars tighten, every word of every email, memo, letter, report, or proposal could also have a financial payback, as well as the more subliminal, less tangible results brought about by clarity and directness. womanTyping250

More and more, successful business people understand that strategic business writing — writing that gets the results it was meant to get — can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, and certainly one of the most cost-effective.

Here are a few quick tips on what makes everyday business writing — whether we’re talking about email, or paper writing — work today:

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Published in: on July 8, 2013 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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