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Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors, Third Edition by Elizabeth Wilde, Shannon Rouiller, Eric Radzinski, Deirdre Longo, Moira McFadden Lanyi, Michelle Carey

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Chapter 6. Clarity

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One should not aim at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand.

—Quintillian

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, discover relationships, or interpret the meaning. Clarity in technical information is like a clean window through which people can clearly see the subject.

Clarity is important for native speakers of English and nonnative speakers alike. If a sentence, list, table, button label, or menu is confusing to native speakers, that element will ...

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