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   ► KBTech Writer Knowledge Base  Print This    Tips Database All Groups  

Tech Writer Tips Page

These Tips are contributed by you (our online community members). They are organized by our knowledge base topics. Specifically, by the Tech Writer sub-topics.

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7 Technical Writing Tips

Group: Technical Writing

Topic: Grammar

1. a versus an

not any particular or certain one; a certain; another; one;

"He is a Delphi programmer."

the form of "a" before an initial vowel

"He is an ObjectPAL programmer."


2. Hung versus Hanged

Use "hung" for things and longer durations. Use "hanged" for people and shorter durations.


"I hung a picture on the wall."

"He hung a deer on a tree for butchering."

"Felicia and Ashley hung out last night."

"Horse theives were hanged in the 19th century."

"The terrorist was hanged and his corpse was hung on the tree."

3. Its vs. it's

"It's" always means "it is."

"It's," unlike pretty much all other words with an apostrophe and an "s", does not ever indicate a possessive.

"Its" is the possessive, strangely enough.

"It's a good program.": The same as "It is a good program."

"It's features are impressive.": The same as "It is features are impressive," which is wrong.

"Its features are impressive.": Correct!

4. then versus than

adverb - at that time; adjective - being; noun - that time

"Create the database, then start the prototype."

in relation to; by comparison with

"Delphi 6 is a better product than Visual Basic 6."

5. who versus whom
"him" is for "whom" and "he" is for "who" Who is coding that requirement? (He is coding it.) To whom do we ask about this requirement? (We ask him.)

Topic: Spelling Pitfalls

6. "a lot" and "allot"

a lot, not alot
to a very great degree or extent

"John is a lot better programmer than Dave."

to divide or distribute by share or portion

"I am going to allot you half the analysis."

7. Quit, Quiet, Quite
  • Quit: to stop, cease, or discontinue
  • Quiet: making no noise
  • Quite: completely, wholly, or entirely

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