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SPECIAL WRITING TECHNIQUES IN TECHNICAL WRITING

DEFINITION
In technology, words have precise, specific meanings; therefore there is a need
for defining a technical term clearly. The extent to which a term should be defined
or the length of a definition depends on the writer's purpose and the knowledge
level of the reader.
The need for defining occurs when the report uses technical terms which are not
familiar to the reader or when common terms are used in a special way.

4 Categories of Words:
1. Familiar words for familiar things.
2. Familiar words for unfamiliar things.
3. Unfamiliar words for familiar things.
4. Unfamiliar words for unfamiliar things.

2 Classifications of Definition:
FORMAL OR SENTENCED DEFINITION
A formal definition is a one-sentence explanation of the meaning of a word.
When you write a formal definition, first assign the term to a class and then
explain how it is different from other members of the class.
3 PRINCIPAL PARTS:
1.

Specie is the subject of the definition.

2.

Genus is the family or class to which the specie belongs.

3.

Differentia is the part of the statement in which the particular species distinctive
traits, qualities are pointed so that it is set apart from the other specie which comprise
the genus.

EXAMPLES:
Specie

Genus

1. Hypertext Mark- Up
Language (HTML)

is a code

2. Modems

are devices

3. A somnambulist

4. A somniloquist

Differentia
used to make documents
readable across a variety
of platforms and software.
that make possible the
transmission of data to or
from a computer via
telephone.

is a person

who walks while asleep.

is a person

who talks while asleep.

INFORMAL DEFINITION
This is an amplified or extended definition.

This is usually an adequate explanation of the unfamiliar words in technical


writing.

These are occasions when more than a word, phrase, or clause or sentence is
needed in order to ensure a readers understanding of a thing or idea.

The amplified (extended or expanded) definition comes in the form of additional


sentences that support a formal definition which becomes the topic sentence of a
paragraph with definition as method of development.

The amplified (extension or expansion) is done in any of the following ways:


1. Further definition to explain unfamiliar terms used in the formal definition.
2. Concrete examples and instances to give the readers some specific
examples for the abstract terms used in the definition.
3. Comparison and contrast similarities and differences of the thing defined with
another thing.
4. Word Derivation the origin of a word may be shed much light on its present
meaning.
5. Negation negative statements about the thing defined.

6. Physical description telling the readers what the term defined looks like
(color, size, shape, etc.).
7. Analysis breaking down a thing or an idea.
8. Basic principle law or principle governing the thing defined.
9. Cause and effect the word is define in terms of its cause and effects.
10. Location it is sometimes very helpful to tell where a thing may be found.

CONTEXT CLUES
A method by which the meanings of unknown words may be obtained by
examining the parts of a sentence surrounding the word.
KINDS OF CONTEXT CLUES
1. Definition the word is defined directly and clearly in the sentence in which it
appears.
Example: Haberdashery, which is a store that sells mens clothing, is becoming
more common today.
2. Antonym often signalled by the words whereas, unlike, or as opposed to.
Example: Whereas Melissa is quite lithe, her sister is clumsy and awkward.
3. Synonym other words are used in the sentence with similar meanings.
Example: The mountain pass was a tortuous road, winding and twisting like a
snake around the trees of the mountainside.
4. Inference word meanings are not directly described, but need to be inferred
from the context.
Example: She told her friend, Im through with blind dates forever. What a dull
evening! I was bored every minute. The conversation was absolutely vapid.
5. Example specific examples are used to define the term.
Example: Piscatorial creatures, such as flounder, salmon, and trout, live in the
coldest parts of the ocean.
6. Experience sometimes a reader knows from experience how people or things
act in a given situation. This knowledge provides the clue to a words meaning.
Example: During those bewildering weeks, the thoughts of a college freshman
drift back to high school where he was in, knew everyone, and felt at home. A feeling
of nostalgia sweeps over him.

7. Mood/Tone the writer sets a mood, and the meaning of the unknown word
must harmonize with the mood.
Example: The streets filled instantly with bellicose protesters, who pushed and
shoved their way through the frantic bystanders. The scene was no longer peaceful and
calm as the marchers had promised it would be.

Group Members:
Karen Claire Beler
Lorry Jean Ahyeng
Jovan Solis Bucol
Jonna Mae Alzuelo
Arthur Benedict Arandela

Source:
Deviente Jr., Fernando. English 103 Basic Techniques in Technical Writing.
<http://www.academia.edu/5776208/ENGLISH_103_BASIC_TECHNIQUES_IN_TECH
NICAL_WRITING>. Web. 13 September 2015.
4 Techniques in Technical Writing. <http://ramskytechnique.blogspot.com/>. Web. 13
September 2015.
Techniques of Technical Writing. http://sniko12.blogspot.com/2010/03/definition.html.>
Web. 13 September 2015.