© 2010 Ugur Akinci
Have you ever watched a fisherman filet a fish down to the bone at the fisher’s market? They do it quickly, separating fish from bone in a flash, without wasting anything.
You should do the same to your sentences to write the kind of smooth and “delicious” technical documents that your intended audience can enjoy without any “fish bones” getting stuck in their minds.
One sure way to do that is to reduce every sentence down to its 3-PART CORE STRUCTURE:
Subject + Verb + Object
Once you understand what something (subject) does (verb) to what object or party (object), then you’ve got the pure sentence, “100% meat” of the fish without any “bones.”
Create a TABLE with three columns: Subject, Verb, Object.
Now fill this table with specific information from your own field. Make sure your verb is a SINGLE-word verb and not a compound multi-word verb.
For example, if you are writing a manual on REAL ESTATE, you might fill it as follows:
|Mortgage Financing||pays||for a house without paying everything cash upfront|
|Curb Appeal||engages||the potential buyer’s senses and helps them fall in love with the property|
|Swimming Pool||adds||value especially for those owners with children|
By using such a table it’ll be easy to avoid complex and confusing sentences and find the simplest way to express the same way.
WITHOUT THE TABLE: “One of the important aspects of the curb appeal, which is often times ignored by real estate agents who are not yet seasoned in the field, is its ability and promise to create warmth and a sense of fondness on the part of the potential buyers.”
BY USING THE TABLE: “Curb appeal engages the potential buyer’s senses and helps them fall in love with the property.”
Another example from software industry:
WITHOUT THE TABLE: “Unless and until a system administrator makes sure that the initialization process is undertaken in order to account properly for any occurrences of future data leakage the operational control of the software system will suffer from data leakages.”
BY USING THE TABLE: “Initialization prevents data leakage.”