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Memorandum

To: Aaron Schab
From: Andrew Sedgwick
Date: February 2, 2014
Subject: Writing to Achieve a Readable Technical Prose Style


This memo is to give you an evaluation of my writing using concepts of being
concise, being precise, having long sentences, and using proper stress emphasis.
To evaluate my writing using these concepts I have gone through two lab write-
ups I did on Operational Amplifiers and Data Acquisition.

Being Concise
Being concise means relaying what needs to be said in the most proficient way
possible. The most common way of not being concise is adding unnecessary
words or phrases to writing. This was my most obvious issue. I add descriptive
wording that is not needed, and create lengthy sentences. Shown below is a
sentence from my write-up on Operational Amplifiers.

This is experiment was run to be able to understand and show how an
Operational Amplifier worked, and how it could be used to gather data in
specific ways.

I can take out be able to understand and and how it could be used to gather
data in specific ways. By making these changes the sentence would then be how
it is below.

This experiment was run to show how an Operational Amplifier works.

By taking out the first phrase I am able to make the sentence more concise. The
second phrase is not needed because it is one way an Operational Amplifier
works. If I wanted I could add the second phrase to my writing later as one
example of how the Operational Amplifier works.

Being Precise
Being precise means giving specific wording and proper detail to your writing so
your audience understands. First I will talk about how the example below on
Operational Amplifiers is a bad example of being precise. Second I will rework it
for it being such a long sentence.

This experiments objective was to obtain better knowledge of how
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Simulink, and Matlab worked, to test non inverting amplifier circuits using
a generic Op Amp, to test an instrumentation amplifier circuit using an
instrumentation chip, and to explore the characteristics of Op Amps and
to verify the gains of the Op Amp circuits.

From reading this I found that my audience might not know what Simulink and
Matlab are. This is an example where I am not precise in my writing. To fix this I
would write the beginning of the sentence differently.

This experiments objective is to gain knowledge on the graphical and
numerical computer programming languages, Simulink and Matlab,
through different Operational Amplifier tests.

I have made the subject of my sentence clear, and have allowed my audience to
understand what Simulink and Matlab are.

Long Sentences
Long sentences can be part of being concise, but with my example I will show
how it is different. Having long sentences can make it hard for the reader to
follow what I am writing. The sentence below shows how it becomes confusing.

This experiments objective was to obtain better knowledge of how
Simulink, and Matlab worked, to test non inverting amplifier circuits using
a generic Op Amp, to test an instrumentation amplifier circuit using an
instrumentation chip, and to explore the characteristics of Op Amps and
to verify the gains of the Op Amp circuits.

I have shown how to make this sentence precise, but now lets make it
understandable while including the precision.

This experiments objective is to gain knowledge on the graphical and
numerical computer programming languages, Simulink and Matlab,
through different Operational Amplifier tests. First, I will test a non-
inverting amplifier circuit using an Operational Amplifier. Next, I will test
instrumentation amplifier circuits using instrumentation chips. Last, I will
explore characteristics of Operational Amplifiers and verify the gains of
the circuits.

Separating the tests into multiple sentences makes it clear to my reader what my
goals are. They are able to follow my write-up efficiently instead of trying to
revert back to the long sentence to see what I was going to talk about. It is easy
to find, in order, what my tests will be. By fixing the long sentence I have also
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made the subject more concise. This is how long sentences fit in being concise.

Stress Emphasis
Putting emphasis on the end of my sentences makes it clear to my reader what is
important. In my writing I tend to put emphasis on subjects throughout the
sentence instead of where readers naturally look for it. From a write-up I did on
voltages of devices the emphasis is not where I wanted it. This example is below.

The first step was to compare the different devices, so to do this we
generated multiple data points and generated a table of values with
resolution of each device below the column.

In this sentence my emphasis is in the beginning with the comparison of
different devices. The sentence would be better said with the emphasis at the
end of the sentence, and if there were some clarification on what I was
comparing.

In the table below we show the data points of the voltage readings of the
different devices.

This revision not only makes the sentence concise, but it also makes the
emphasis in the proper place. I also have added what the data points were
showing by adding in voltage readings, which makes my reader understand my
table.

Wordiness
When writing I feel I need to meet a certain requirement and I use many
unnecessary words to accommodate. Here is one example of wordiness.

The next part after everything was set up properly was to compare the
accuracy of each device on a range of 0V 5V from our power supply.

From this sentence I should remove after everything was set up properly was,
and of each device. This would allow not only the sentence to be less wordy,
but would also make it more direct. The proper sentence is below.

The next part is to compare the accuracy on a range from 0-5V from our
power supply.

Conclusion
My writing needs improvement. I have been able to find many concepts that can
be corrected. Here I have shown multiple concepts that I then corrected. Please
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give me any feedback regarding what I could improve. I like criticism and making
being able to correct my mistakes.