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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 7. Concreteness

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We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.

—Malcolm Gladwell

When you document a complicated procedure, a new concept, or a default value for an input field, you can make that information more concrete by relating it to an experience, skill, or knowledge that users already possess. By using examples, scenarios, or even just precise terminology, you can provide specific and practical details that help your users truly understand the unfamiliar.

What makes concreteness so important in technical writing is that many technical subjects, such as relational ...

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