© Ugur Akinci
As a child I grew up only 90 miles away from Polatli, the site of the famous “Knot of Gordian” in Anatolia (what is today modern Turkey).
This was such a tough knot that, according to the legend, for 400 years no one could untie it.
Then came Alexander the Great, the world-conquering commander with a great practical mind.
And he “untied” the knot with a single swing of his sharp sword! The end of the story.
I encourage you to do something similar when faced with a complex and impenetrable sentence. You’ll come across such challenges especially in technical documentation.
When you feel you’re sinking into the quagmire of a complicated technical passage, don’t hesitate to slash it down to simpler and shorter sentences.
Usually that’s your only hope of retaining the original meaning while making it easier to read and remember.
“The function of the local oscillator stage is to produce a constant amplitude sine wave of a frequency which differs from the desired station frequency by an amount equal to the intermediate frequency of the receiver.”
I don’t know about you but most readers would be lost with a sentence like this. Here is how you can break it apart and make it breathe:
“The function of the local oscillator stage is to produce a constant amplitude sine wave. The difference between the frequency of this wave and that of the desired station is equal to the intermediate frequency of the receiver.”
“Divide and conquer” to communicate better.