Merchant’s English Usage Guide for Technical Writers for Mr. Merchant’s Technical Writing Classes
Merchant’s English Usage Guide for Technical Writers (PDF, 1,1 MB). Updated: December 14, 2018.
Different writing genres have different usage guidelines as their contexts and needs differ. Technical writing requires concise, clear writing with correct grammar, spelling, and usage. Wordiness, complex sentences, and even minor grammar and spelling errors can make a document inefficient at best and ineffective at worst; these can lead to expensive or even dangerous miscommunication and mistranslation. Also, such errors are unprofessional and reflect poorly on you and your employer. Check, double-check, and check again your grammar, spelling, and usage before submitting any technical document.
“In order to” and Stative Verbs
(Excerpt from the above Usage Guide)
“In order to” usually expresses the same meaning as “to” when expressing purpose:
“She worked hard to write a good report.”
“She worked hard in order to write a good report.”
The second is too formal and wordy and is usually avoided in technical writing.
However, “in order to” is preferred to “to” when used with stative verbs. Stative verbs, as well as most participial adjectives, refer to a static or unchanging state or existence. They express cognition or perception (things in the mind) or relation (relationship between things), rather than an action. Stative verbs cannot be used in the continuous (progressive) forms:
Incorrect: The process is consisting of… (“Consists” is a state, not an action)
Correct: The process consists of …
Below is a list of common stative verbs (excerpt from the above Usage Guide).
|Appreciate||Feel (opinion)||Matter||See (perceive, understand)|
|Believe||Hate||Mind (care about)||Sound|
|Belong to||Have (possess)||Need||Suppose|
|Consist of||Imagine||Own||Taste (having a flavor)|
|Depend on||Know||Promise||Weigh (have weight)|