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Technical Writing for Graduate Students

Tech Writing 2012

Instructor: Sam Yang, PhD Office: MDE 708; Tel: 5430 E-mail: samyang@cc.kuas.edu.tw Teaching Assistant: Ms. Esther Tung Grade Policy: Home Assignment: 40% Midterm: 30%; Final report: 30%

Tech Writing 2012

Purpose of the Course

To develop technical communication skillsart and science of making complex technical information accessible, usable, and relevant to a variety of readers or audiences in diverse fields. To be able to write a correct, clear, and concise sentence, paragraph, and essay. to write scientific and technical articles in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Tech Writing 2012

Technical Writing :Outline

1. Basic English Grammar (15 hours) 2. Technical writing in English articles
Structure of technical paper (2hr) Topic (1hr) Abstract (6hr) Introduction (6hr) Modeling or Method (6hr) Results and Discussion (6hr) Conclusion (3hr) Acknowledgement (1hr) References (1hr)

3. Final Oral Presentation by Students (6hr)

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What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Technical writers explain technology and related ideas to technical and nontechnical audiences. This could mean, for example, telling a programmer how to use a software library or telling a consumer how to operate a television remote control. (From Wikipedia web) Taking complicated subject matter and transforming it into easy-to-understand information for the reader

Where we need to present technical writing?

Research reports Research papers or articles Proposals Web pages Conferences, meetings Lectures Posters

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Tech Writing 2012

Typical Sections of a Research Paper

Abstract Introduction


Results and Discussion


What characteristics are required for technical documents?

Accuracy: is factual, correct, free from bias.

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Clarity: is easily understood by the intended

audience without ambiguities. excess or redundant words.

Consistency: is smooth through the document Conciseness: is clear and complete without Usefulness Organization Style Format: technical conventions. Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation

Part 1:Basic English Grammar (15 hours)

Five basic sentence patterns Four sentence structures Absolute phrase or Participle construction Sentence combining

Tech Writing 2012

Tech Writing 2012

Unit 1: Complete sentence

What Is A Sentence? What does it take to make a sentence? A sentence has two parts:
1. the naming part(or subject): tells whom or what the sentence is about , usually a noun or pronoun 2. the action part(or predicate): includes verbs which tell the subject does something or is something

Types of Verb:
Types of Verb:

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1. Complete Intransitive Verbs 2. Incomplete Intransitive Verbs

3. Complete Transitive Verbs 4. Grant Transitive Verbs

5. Incomplete Transitive Verbs

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Complete Intransitive Verbs

Arrive bark come cough cry dance dive fly float go grow hesitate jump laugh leave listen live rain rely run scream sing sit sleep smile squeal stand stay surf swim talk think travel wait walk work yawn yell

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Incomplete Intransitive Verbs

Be Verb: am is are was were Linking Verbs: Appear feel look smell sound taste Other verbs: become get grow prove remain seem stay turn


Grant Transitive Verbs

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1. S + V + DO + to + IO bring give hand lend pass pay sell send show teach tell wish 2. S + V + DO + for + IO buy


Five basic sentence patterns

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. S+Vi : S+Vi+SC : S+Vt+O: S+Vt+IO+DO : S+Vt+O+OC :

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1. The output grows. 2. The total income increases. 3. The gain of this product decays.


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1. Basic English grammar is crucial (or essential) in technical English writing. 2. This point seems compatible with that in earlier studies.


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1. Motivation places emphasis on the individual decisions. 2. We conducted an experiment. 3. Solar energy has drawn increasing interest in recent years.


S+Vt+IO (people)+DO (things)

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1. The equation gave you a good reason. =The equation gave a good reason to you. 2. John bought me an experimental facility. = John bought an experimental facility for me.

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1. The researcher found this study of great value. Note: of great value as object compliment 2. The study considered the inertial force (to be) negligible (=ignored=neglected). Note: (to be) negligible or ignored=neglected as object compliment

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Review of five basic sentences

2. 3. 4. 5. S+Vi : (complete intransitive verb) S+Vi+SC :(incomplete intransitive verb) S+Vt+O: (complete transitive verb) S+Vt+IO+DO: (grant transitive verb) S+Vt+O+OC : (incomplete transitive verb)


Exercise: please analyze and types of following sentences.

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1.The sweater kept me warm last winter. Subject ? Verb? Others? S: sweater; V: kept; O: me; OC: warm last winter is an adverb modifier. Which type? Type 5: S+V+O+OC


Exercise: please analyze and types of following sentences.

Tech Writing indicate the 2012

2. The government should give its people security. Subject ? Verb? Others? S: government; V: should give; IO: people; DO: security. Which type? Type 4: S+V+IO+DO

Unit 2: Four Sentence Structures

Varying sentence structures is crucial in technical writing.

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How to vary sentence structure?

One can use a variety of sentence structures in technical writing. There are four types of sentences we will study in this lesson:
Simple Sentence Compound Sentence Complex Sentence Compound-complex Sentence

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The Simple Sentence

A simple sentence has one independent clause (one subject and a verb):
Technical writing is essential in graduate school. Subject Verb


A compound sentence consists of two independent clauses that are joined together

Compound Sentence

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Independent Clause

The Taguchi method deals with a onedimensional problem, but TOPSIS handles multi-dimensional problems.
Independent Clause

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Compound Sentence
One can make a compound sentence by joining two logically related independent clauses by using - a semicolon ; - a coordinating conjunction Combines sentences containing ideas of equal importance e.g., and, or, but, so,. - a transition 1.independent clause ;however, independent clause 2. independent clause;therefore, independent clause 3. independent clause;moreover, independent clause


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Using a Semicolon

Doctors are concerned about the rising death rate from asthma; they are unsure of its cause.

Independent Clause Independent Clause


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Using a Coordinating Conjunction

Independent Clause , coordinating conjunction Independent Clause

Fossil fuels are non-renewable , so we need to find

alternative energy sources.


A good way to remember them is

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For And Nor But Or Yet So


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Coordinating Conjunctions
Logical Relationship Addition Contrast Choice Cause Result And But, yet Or, nor For So

Coordinating Conjunction

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Using a Transition
Independent Clause ; transition , Independent Clause The theoretical result seems reasonable ; however, it does not provide the experimental proof. Other transitions: In contrast;
On the contrary; On the other hand


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Complex Sentences
A complex sentence contains at least one independent clause and one dependent clause. John can not set up his computer because the wall has no outlet. Use a comma after a dependent clause if it begins the sentence. Because the wall has no outlet, John can not set up his computer.

Tech Writing 2012

Complex Sentences
A complex sentence contains one main (or independent) clause, and one or more dependent (or subordinate) clauses. e.g. When I walked to school, I met one of my old friends. Dependent clauses can function in the sentence as nouns, adjectives or adverbs.


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Complex Sentence-Noun Clauses

Noun clauses function as nouns in the sentence and can be used as subjects, objects, predicate nominatives, and objects of prepositions. e.g.,

What is most important to him is his family. (subject) That critic writes that Einstein is one of the best scientists in physics. (object) You will be what you think. (subject complement) She is very suspicious about what he said. (object of preposition about)

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Complex Sentence-Adjective clauses

Adjective clauses start with a relative pronoun such as who, which, or that and function as adjectives. The pronoun refers to a noun which usually precedes it directly. e.g., The lady who bought the red dress is my aunt. That camera, which is my favorite, was expensive. The problem that I solved was a difficult one.

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Complex Sentence-Adverb clause

Adverb clauses function as adverbs in the sentence, modifying verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. They may tell how, why, when, where, etc. Subordinating Conjunctions used include although, after, if, because, while, since, whether, etc. e.g., When I arrived at the University, classes had already started. John is happy because he received a good grade on his history midterm. Although Johnson is intelligent, he doesn't work very hard.

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Compound-Complex Sentence
A compound-complex sentence contains at least two coordinate independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses (joined to one of the independent clauses by a subordinating conjunction). This type of sentence contains more than one part that can stand alone, and at least one that cannot

Subordinating Conjunction

Compound-Complex Sentence

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Since we wanted to join conference,

Part that cannot stand alone

my students and I went to Chin-Hwa Univ.,

Coordinating Conjunction



and we drove all day.


Exercise and skill of sentence combining

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Please combine the following two sentences by direction. 1.The sweater kept me warm. 2. It was made of heavy wool. For: (combined into a compound sentence) The sweater kept me warm, for it was made of heavy wool. Because: (combined into a complex sentence) Because the sweater was made of heavy wool, it kept me warm.

Sentence combining (To be continued)

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Adjective clause: using which The sweater, which was made of heavy wool, kept me warm. Participial phrase: Being made of heavy wool, the sweater kept me warm. Prepositional phrase: The sweater of heavy wool kept me warm.

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Home Assignment #1
Topic: Statement of purpose for taking this course. Note: Please write an essay in terms of your personal background, like major and life goal, together with your academic objective in Taiwan. Due Date: 23, Sept. Email me: samyang@cc.kuas.edu.tw



Tech Writing 2012

Thank you for your attention!