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Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors, Second Edition by Elizabeth Wilde, Shannon Rouiller, Deirdre Longo, Polly Hughes, Ann Kilty Hernandez, Michelle Carey, Gretchen Hargis

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Chapter 5Clarity

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Easy reading is damn hard writing.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

Clear information is information that users can understand the first time. They don't need to reread it to untangle grammatical connections, sort out excess words, decipher ambiguities, figure out relationships, or interpret the meaning. Clarity in technical information is like a clean window through which you can clearly see the subject.

The first time that most writers try to write about something, words don't tumble out clearly. Often, to break through a block, writers write as if they were speaking, but this approach introduces problems such as unnecessary words, ...

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