Good technical or academic writing is objective, yet many writers inadvertently insert their own opinions about, and responses to, the content. In this way, they damage their credibility and reduce the value of what they write.
Feelings, emotions, opinions, and beliefs are called, collectively, individual perspective. An individual perspective indicates the perspective of one person: the writer. In all forms of technical writing, your individual perspective is inappropriate.
Think about your reader. Your reader is seeking believable, credible information. Your opinions, etc. are not believable, credible information. They only apply to you; they do not apply to your reader.
The most obvious cases are sentence that contain such phrases as I feel that, I believe, and in my opinion. If you can express the idea as a fact, do so. If you cannot express the idea without those phrases, remove the sentence entirely.
Writers also interject their individual perspectives by using particular words and by making judgments, as explained below. Continue reading →
Is It Ironic? Case 1. You’re walking down the street with a friend. Ahead of you, you see a man stumble on a crack in the sidewalk. Your friend laughs at the man. A moment later, your friend trips on the same crack. “Oh,” you say, “that’s so ironic!” No, it isn’t. That’s not ironic.
Case 2. Later, you go home and turn on the television. You see a news story about a politician getting hauled into court for lying under oath. That same politician had recently accused fellow politicians of being deceitful. “Oh, that’s ironic,” you say, laughing. No, that isn’t irony either.
Case 3. Finally, just before going to bed, you walk through your house, turning off the lights and complaining about your family members who left them on. However, when you turn off the last light, you realize that you have to walk back through the house in the dark. While doing so, you knock your shins on a chair. You rub your shins and say “It’s so ironic that I turned off the lights and made myself walk in the dark!” No, that isn’t ironic either.
In fact, the only thing ironic about these three events is the fact that you thought they were ironic! Continue reading →