DSST Technical Writing study notes - final

Headings are an important feature of professional

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Headings are an important feature of professional technical writing: they alert readers to upcoming topics and subtopics, help readers find their way around in long reports and skip what they are not interested in, and break up long stretches of straight text. Headings are also useful for writers. They keep you organized and focused on the topic. When you begin using headings, your impulse may be to slap in the headings after you've written the rough draft. Instead, visualize the headings before you start the rough draft, and plug them in as you write. Titles – A title is a prefix or suffix added to a person's name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may even be inserted between a first and last name (for example, Graf in German, Cardinal in Catholic usage or clerical titles such as Archbishop or Ter in the Armenian Apostolic Church). Some titles are hereditary. Inquiry Letters (2 types) Solicited – You write a solicited letter of inquiry when a business or agency advertises its products or services. For example, if a software manufacturer advertises some new package it has developed and you can't inspect it locally, write a solicited letter to that manufacturer asking specific questions. Unsolicited – Your letter of inquiry is unsolicited if the recipient has done nothing to prompt your inquiry. For example, if you read an article by an expert, you may have further questions or want more information. Functional vs Causal Analysis – Functional analysis is the branch of mathematics, and specifically of analysis, concerned with the study of vector spaces and operators acting upon them The search for the cause or causes of particular events and objects. A causal factor is a variable which causes change in another variable. Active vs Passive voice – In an active sentence, the subject is doing the action. A very straightforward example is the sentence "Steve loves Amy." Steve is the subject, and he is doing the action: he loves Amy, the object. Another example is the title of the Marvin Gaye song I Heard It through the Grapevine . I is the subject, the one who is doing the action. I is hearing it, the object of the sentence. In passive voice the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. Instead of saying, "Steve loves Amy," I would say, "Amy is loved by Steve." The subject of the sentence becomes Amy, but she isn't doing anything. Rather, she is just the recipient of Steve's love. The focus of the sentence has changed from Steve to Amy. If you wanted to make the title of the Marvin Gaye song passive, you would say It Was Heard by Me through the Grapevine , not such a catchy title anymore. A lot of people think that all sentences that contain a form of the verb to be are in passive voice, but that isn't true. For example, the sentence "I am holding a pen" is in active voice, but it uses the verb am , which is a form of to be . The passive form of that sentence is "The pen is being held by me." Another important point is that passive sentences aren't incorrect; it’s just that they often aren't the best way to phrase your thoughts. Sometimes passive voice is awkward and other times it’s vague.
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More tidbits to know: Rules of grammar -
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Headings are an important feature of professional technical...

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