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descriptions, and instructions?

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Presentation on theme: "descriptions, and instructions?"— Presentation transcript:

1 descriptions, and instructions?
What are definitions, descriptions, and instructions? A definition is typically a brief explanation of an item or concept using words and (sometimes) graphics. A description is typically a longer explanation, usually accompanied by graphics, of an object, mechanism, or process. A set of instructions is a kind of process description intended to enable a person to carry out a task. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 1 1

2 There are three types of definitions:
parenthetical sentence extended Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 2 2

3 Sentence definitions follow a typical pattern:
Item = category + distinguishing characteristics Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 3 3

4 Follow these four guidelines to write effective sentence definitions:
Be specific in stating the category and the distinguishing characteristics. Don’t describe a specific item if you are defining a general class of items. Avoid writing circular definitions. Be sure the category contains a noun or a noun phrase rather than a phrase beginning with when, what, or where. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 4 4

5 used in extended definitions:
Eight techniques are used in extended definitions: graphics examples partition principle of operation comparison and contrast analogy negation etymology Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 5 5

6 Decide where to place the definition:
in the text in a marginal gloss in a hyperlink in a footnote in a glossary in an appendix Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 6 6

7 Follow these four principles when writing descriptions:
Clearly indicate the nature and scope of the description. Introduce the description clearly. Provide appropriate detail. Conclude the description. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 7 7

8 Provide appropriate detail in process descriptions:
Structure the step-by-step description chronologically. Explain causal relationships among steps. Use the present tense. Use graphics. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 8 8

9 description based on a graphic
An example of a process description based on a graphic Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 9 9

10 Follow these two guidelines to design clear, attractive pages:
Create an open, airy design. Clearly relate the graphics to the text. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 10 10

11 and attractive page designs
Examples of cluttered and attractive page designs Source: Slide-Lok, 2005 <www.slide-lok.com/ assembly/P2468/P2468.pdf>. Source: Anthro, 2005 <www.anthro.com/ assemblyinstructions/ pdf>. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 11 11

12 Understand the four signal words used in manuals and instructions:
Danger indicates an immediate and serious hazard that will likely be fatal. Warning indicates the potential for serious injury or death or serious damage to equipment. Caution indicates the potential for anything from moderate injury to serious equipment damage or destruction. Note indicates a tip or suggestion to help readers carry out the procedure successfully Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 12 12

13 An example of a safety label
Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 13 13

14 A typical set of instructions includes these four elements:
title general introduction step-by-step instructions conclusion Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 14 14

15 Write effective titles for instructions:
How-to. “How to Install the J112 Shock Absorber” Gerund. “Installing the J112 Shock Absorber” Ineffective titles: Noun strings. “J112 Shock Absorber Installation Instructions” Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 15 15

16 Consider answering these six questions when drafting introductions for instructions:
Who should carry out this task? Why should the reader carry out this task? When should the reader carry out this task? What safety measures or other concerns should the reader understand? What items will the reader need? How long will the task take? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 16 16

17 Follow these six guidelines when drafting steps in instructions:
Number the instructions. Present the right amount of information in each step. Use the imperative mood. Don’t confuse steps and feedback statements. Include graphics. Do not omit articles (a, an, the) to save space. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's 17 17


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