How to Write Instructions

How to Write Instructions - WRITING INSTRUCTIONS 1. Know...

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WRITING INSTRUCTIONS 1. Know your audience Most college assignments are written for an ideal reader – an expert whose job includes scrutinizing and pondering everything that you write. But in the real world, instructions must be written so that impatient, fatigued, or even terrified readers can understand with minimal effort. No matter how well you plan your document, there is no way you can possibly predict all the ways that human beings will misunderstand it. 2. Provide a Brief Introduction Help your readers determine, even before opening the brochure or downloading the web page, whether this document will help them do whatever it is they want to do. State in plain language, what your document will help the reader to do: Installing and Operating the Canon BJ-200ex Bubble Jet Printer. What is the purpose of the document, who should read it, and under what circumstances ? If it will help your reader, you might also explain what your document does not do. If you wish, you may place extended background information in a subordinate position (a marginal note, a sidebar, or a completely different document) that does not interfere with the user's access to the list of required actions. Note: Technical support documents are no place for marketing slogans – the reader has already got the product, and is probably annoyed with it at the moment. 3. Write Each Step as a Command Use imperative sentences – that is, phrase each step as if your reader has just asked, "What should I do next?" Answer by giving a direct command: "Add two cups of flour." Example: "Tab A should be inserted into slot B." A reader consults a set of instructions to find out what actions to perform, but this
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2011 for the course WRIT 465 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Winthrop.

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How to Write Instructions - WRITING INSTRUCTIONS 1. Know...

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