GrammarPhile Blog

10 Best Practices for Writing and Editing Technical Documents

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Feb 14, 2019 7:00:00 AM

As technology and science become more pervasive and important in our everyday lives, expertly edited technical documents will become more and more in demand. They’re important to businesses, organizations, and consumers alike.

Whether you’re a novice or you’ve written and edited technical documents for decades, here are 10 best practices you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Know Your Audience and Write Exclusively for Them and to Them

When writing or editing technical documents, it’s essential that you first understand your target audiences and their backgrounds and preferences, and that you conduct research and collect data about them.

For example, some things you’ll want to consider:

  • whether your document is aimed at marketers who are new to your organization
  • whether you’re writing a user manual for common consumers with little to no experience with your technology platform
  • whether you’re writing a manual for experienced coders who already use your technology platform on a deeper level

Essentially, it’s imperative that you understand your audiences’ demographic information and backgrounds, and that you cater your technical content to suit their needs and preferences. Otherwise, it will be impossible or challenging for them to understand, and it will not end up being helpful.

Also, be sure to use “you” and speak to your audience directly in your technical documents and provide plain and simple actions for them to take. Basically, remember to always provide your audience with helpful information in a way that’s easy for them to follow.

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Topics: technical writing, technical editing

Grammar-Checking Software Doesn't Catch Everything: Here's Proof

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Feb 1, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Grammar-checking software can catch common typos and spelling errors. And it can certainly expedite the writing and editorial processes. But it can’t or won’t identify every type of grammatical error out there. Want proof?

Consider the following examples below. Each example was run through the following software: Microsoft Office Word’s built-in grammar checker, Grammarly, Ginger, and Language Tool.  The error(s) each software caught are highlighted. See if you can identify how many mistakes each grammar-checking software missed. And feel free to run each example below through your own grammar-checking software too, if it wasn’t already used here, to see if it catches any additional mistakes.

Be sure to read Grammar-Checking Software: A Quick Review before you get started for some additional insight and tips.

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Topics: grammar checker software, automated grammar checker

Navigating the Different Types of Compounds

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jan 18, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Writers use compound words and sentences to add a little more color to their writing. But they can be tricky to write correctly, even for those who review written materials every day and stay up to date on new dictionary entries and yearly amendments to the more popular style guides.

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Topics: compound words, compound nouns, compound verbs, compound modifiers, compound sentences

Land an Editing or Proofreading Job in 2019: For Beginners and Pros

Posted by Conni Eversull   Jan 11, 2019 7:30:00 AM

According to information parsed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be little to no change for editorial occupations in the next few years. So, landing an editorial or proofreading position in 2019 wouldn’t be a bad career move, whether you’re just starting out or are already well-established in the industry.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there will be more competition for traditional editorial roles for job seekers who want to work for well-established print publications, due to the rise of online media publications and online media consumption—which means that you’ll still want to make sure you stand out against other job candidates. And whether you’re a beginner or an established editorial professional, there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition.

Here are some things you’ll want to consider doing if you’re interested in landing an editorial or proofreading job this year, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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Topics: editorial occupations

Holiday Quiz: Can You Spot the Grammar Mistake(s)?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Dec 20, 2018 7:30:00 AM

It’s time to get into the holiday spirit … with grammatically correct holiday terms, phrases, and colloquialisms.  

Take the quiz below and select the option that correctly fills in each blank, and then share your results with us in the comments. Also, be sure to share this quiz with others who may be grammatically inclined too. We wish you a joyous holiday season!

 

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Topics: quiz, grammar quiz

Will Software Replace Human Writers?

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Dec 14, 2018 10:49:11 AM

Many professionals and job seekers think that technology enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) will automate most (if not all) occupations within the next decade or so, while others aren’t yet convinced.

Some professionals believe that grammar-checking software, for instance, is the first step to replacing human writers and editors. And then there are services that will auto-write “textual content” for you.

But what do you think? Do you think that robots or software enhanced with AI will be able to completely replace human writers, editors, and proofreaders in the near or distant future? Keep reading to learn more.

How Grammar-Checking Software Works

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Topics: artificial intelligence, grammar checker

Are Grammar Rules Different for Different Professions?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Dec 6, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Writing would be much easier to do and understand if there were hard and fast grammar rules that never change or fluctuate. Yet that would also make it a lot less fun and interesting … which would mean that there would be fewer writers, editors, and readers in the world.  

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Topics: grammar rules

Advanced Syntax and Grammar Quiz

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Nov 30, 2018 8:03:59 AM

Do you know how to properly place and arrange words in a phrase, clause, or sentence—for every sentence you write? Or do you sometimes wonder when a comma is needed and where to place it in a sentence? Or whether you placed a modifier or an article in the right place?

Take this advanced syntax and grammar quiz to test your knowledge, and to see what you know. And then share your scores with us in the comments below. Also, be sure to share this quiz with other grammar aficionados, so they can test their grammar knowledge. Good luck!

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Topics: grammar errors, grammar quiz

Suffixes and Prefixes: The Basics

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Nov 15, 2018 7:30:00 AM

As you may already know, a prefix is that string of coherent letters that we add (or “affix”) to the beginning of a word, and suffixes are letters that we add to the end of a word. However, they have a lot of usage rules and grammatical quirks to master. And although they’re small, they yield a lot of grammatical power, as they can significantly alter the entire meaning of a word or sentence (which is in fact their sole purpose most of the time). Spelling them can be challenging sometimes, too.

So where do you begin when considering suffixes and prefixes? Here are the basics, as you consider when and how to use and spell them.

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Topics: suffixes, prefixes, affixes

Top Six Mistakes Editors and Proofreaders Make

Posted by Conni Eversull   Nov 8, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Editors and proofreaders have many responsibilities and work extremely hard to make sure that every piece of writing they touch is as perfect as it can be before it’s published. They work hard to fix everything from the smallest of typos to the most egregious errors. However, they are still human. And sometimes they make mistakes; not very often … but sometimes.

Here are the top six mistakes editors and proofreaders make, that you’ll want to avoid making yourself.  

1. Not Verifying the Intended Audience

It’s important to know the intended audience for the document you are editing or proofreading. The intended audience will dictate the tone and voice of a written piece, as well as its overall syntax. And an intended audience will dictate which style guide and editorial guidelines are followed as a piece is being written, edited, and proofread. In addition, the intended audience will dictate what type of information needs to be further explained and what terms and acronyms need to be spelled out, kept abbreviated, or omitted.

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Topics: common proofreading mistakes

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