Good Style explains the tactics that can be used to write technical material in a coherent, readable style. It discusses in detail the choices of vocabulary, phrasing and sentence structure and each piece of advice is based on evidence of the styles prefered by technical readers and supported by many examples of writing from a variety of technical contexts.
John Kirkman draws from his many years of experience lecturing on communication studies in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Hong Kong, both in academic programmes and in courses for large companies, research centres and government departments.
Good Style has become a standard reference book on the shelf of students of science, technology and computing and is an essential aid to all professionals whose work involves writing of reports, papers, guides, manuals or on-screen texts. This new edition also includes information on writing for the web and additional examples of how to express medical and life-science information.
Table of Contents
1. Style as choice 2. Sentence length and complexity 3. Weight and familiarity of vocabulary 4. Specialist vocabulary: jargon 5. 'Fashionable' words 6. 'Roundabout' and unusual phrasing 7. Excessive pre-modifiers 8. Use of nouns as pre-modifiers 9. Abstraction 10. Excessive 'nominalization' 11. Verbs: tense and voice 12. Verbs: impersonal vs first-person constructions 13. Verbs: impersonal vs second-person constructions 14. Punctuation 15. Tone: in hard copy and in on-screen text 16. Avoiding 'distorted' English in computer-related texts 17. Style for instructions 18. Style for descriptive and explanatory writing 19. Specifications 20. Style for correspondence 21. Writing for international audiences: general policy 22. Writing for international audiences: writing for 'expert' readers 23. Writing for international audiences: writing for students 24. Writing for readers who do not understand English 25. On avoiding ambiguity
John Kirkman now works as a consultant specialising in research and training in scientific and technical communication. Previously he was Director of the Communication Studies Unit at the University of Wales, Cardiff.
"Praise for 1st edition: 'Every scientist must write; every scientist should therefore read this book, and be challenged by it." - Education in Chemistry
"The book's main strength is undoubtedly the wealth of examples drawn from the author's years of experience in dealing with both clearly written and confusing, distorted scientific English...Kirkman's skill at demonstrating 'what not to write' will surely be appreciated by all users of his book...I shall continue to recommend it to students who are writing their first reports, and are seeking to overcome deficiencies in their writing."--Susan Armstrong, University of Glasgow, Physical Sciences Educational Reviews, Vol 7, Issues 1, No. 12, June 2006