Posted by: episystechpubs | February 2, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Keep Noun Strings Short

Kara has written about avoiding noun strings before, but I’m mentioning it again because it is a common problem in technical writing. Stringing nouns together can make your writing unclear and confuse readers.

Also, the JHA Style Guide for Technical Communication and Training(Plain English Standards) has a standard for noun strings:

Guideline Example
Break up noun clusters that have more than three nouns. Not this: The Work with Warehouse Selection Company ID field.

But this: The Company ID field on the Work with Warehouse Selection option.

You can avoid noun strings by including prepositions and articles or by changing some of the nouns to adjectives or verbs.

Here are some more examples:

Original:

Use the input message destination transaction code as shown in the example.

Revision:

Use the transaction code for the destination of an input message as shown in the example.

Original:

Please schedule a meeting to discuss employee compensation level evaluation procedures.

Revision:

Please schedule a meeting to discuss procedures for evaluating the compensation level of employees.

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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