Technical Writing

The text of a clear, direct paper transcends content. The prose of skilled authors of fiction (e.g., Margaret Atwood, Joseph Heller) and nonfiction is clear and direct. The writing of nonfluent writers, regardless of genre, includes the same types of writing miscues. A basic composition, a technical paper, a thesis, or a dissertation often share the same writing flaws. 

Original:

     Furniture sales and marketing is a substantial industry. It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 furniture sales representatives employed in this country. The sales representative is considered the most important piece of the marketer’s tool kit. Only a few years ago the bulk of the furniture marketing budget was allocated to the sales force. Salesmen targeted their activities exclusively to major retail and discount stores. (67 words)

Revision:

     The production and sales of furniture in the U.S. has created a multimillion-dollar industry (Marks, 2000). The U.S. Labor Department (2000) reported that U.S. furniture manufacturers employed more than 20,000 sales representatives in 1999. Drucker (1996) and Jones (1998) concluded that sales representatives constituted the industry’s most effective marketing tool. A study by Smith (2000) found that before 1995, furniture companies sold directly to major retail and discount stores, spending 90% of marketing budgets for representative salaries. (75 words)

Analysis:

     The number of words in the revision increased because a technical paper often requires evidence to support assertions and data. The original passage used weak verbs throughout, principally forms of the verb to be. The use of strong, active verbs eliminates clutter.

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