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(2013-02-16 09:41:45) 下一个

English writing, especially technical writing, is very difficult. "Easy to read" is one of the key criteria of good writing.

The following two versions of a proposal, obtained from a website, show the difference:

Version 1:

"At present on the XYZ sub-station board we have no facility to supply 1200 amps required for the new plant from the existing spare O.C.B.’s, this will require the removal of some of the old existing oil circuit breaker and replacing with new vacuum circuit breakers (VCB) since we cannot obtain or uprate the existing VWX equipment which are of 1937 vintage, the proposal for this would be as follows: …"

Version 2:

"On the XYZ sub-station board, we are unable at present to meet the demand (1200 amperes per phase) required to operate the new plant using the existing Oil Circuit Breakers (OCBs). Spares are not available, and the old equipment cannot be uprated.

We therefore suggest replacement of some of the existing switchgear with new Vacuum Circuit Breakers (VCBs).

This proposal is presented below…"

I’m sure there are numerous suggestions for good writing. The following radio programme caught my attention:


Although it's a talk about political writing, some guests’ points are well applicable to good writing in general. I highly recommend it.

[From BBC website]

More programme information:

Start the Week Allan Little explores the legacy of George Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language. Joan Bakewell, Tim Montgomerie, Chris Mullin and Phil Collins discuss Orwell's warning that evasive language, euphemism and insincerity dominate political writing, and assess the impact of today's political diaries, blogging and tweeting.
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wave_forest 回复 悄悄话 回复 'yijibang' 的评论 :

Thanks for your comments, which led me to update the blog.
The two versions of the proposal were taken from an external website as an example on writing.
Although version 2 can be further improved, it's much better than the version 1 for its logic flow is clear. The version 1 reads chaotic.
yijibang 回复 悄悄话 English writing, especially technical writing, is very difficult. "Easy to read" is one of the key criteria of good writing.

It is quite true that the technical writing is not easy but the "easy to read" is certainly critical. In your two versions, neither one is acceptable. I am sure there is a better way to write those two versions. I admire your guts to write about this topics. Thanks.