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Effective Technical Writing Techniques and a Grammar Refresher for Architects and Engineers

Timothy D. Blackburn, MBA, P.E.

Course Outline

Usually, books and courses on technical writing are written for a general audience.  Finally, this is a course written specifically for Architects, Engineers, and Constructors. It includes effective technical writing techniques as well as a grammar and punctuation refresher that you can use as a quick reference, written in the context of our disciplines.  Examples are from sentences we use and write each day.  The course discusses common mistakes and word usage. In addition, it includes practical Technical writing tips to elevate and polish your written work. While it is not practical (nor necessary) to review all facets of grammar, punctuation, and technical writing essentials, the course covers many of the typical weaknesses and mistakes we as Engineers and Architects make. So join with me as we improve our Technical writing skills.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

Intended Audience

The intended audience includes Architects, Engineers, and Constructors as well as others needing a review of Technical Writing. Although written to this audience specifically, the material will be helpful for anyone that is responsible for technical writing.

Benefit to Attendees

Learn effective technical writing and editing tips, as well as refresh their grammar and punctuation.

Course Introduction

While it is possible for us to convey technical information accurately, our customers may be less than impressed.  If our grammar is poor, our sentence structure flawed, or if our work is generally u organized, they may view an otherwise technically accurate work with scorn.  Do you wrestle with when to use who or whom?  Do you agonize over when to use a number or the word equivalent?  Do you know the difference between continual and continuous?  Do your modifiers dangle, are your infinitives split, and do your prepositions bring up the rear?  Have you ever struggled to know how to begin your Technical writing?   If your answer is yes (or don’t know) to any of these questions, perhaps you have forgotten or need a review. 

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (221 KB) Effective Technical Writing Techniques and a Grammar Refresher for Architects and Engineers. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Content

1. Applications of Technical Writing

2. Steps in Technical Writing

a. Key Considerations
b. Outline the Work
c. Populate the Outline
d. Edit the Work
e. Test the Work
f. Publish the Work

3. Grammar Term Review

4. Words

a. Words often misused or interchanged
b. Use of who versus whom

5. Capitalization

6. Use of Numbers versus Words

7. Good Sentences

a. Sentence Terms
b. Subject/Verb Agreement
c. Fragments and Run-ons
d. Proper use of Pronouns
e. Split Infinitives
f. Dangling Modifiers
g. Prepositions
h. Passive versus Active Voice
i. Use Similar Grammatical Forms for Multiple Ideas
j. Use Concrete Language versus Vague
k. Avoid Double Negatives

8. Gross Verbosity (Wordiness)

9. Punctuation

a. Comma
b. Colon
c. Semicolon
d. Apostrophe
e. Quotation marks
f. Dashes
g. Hyphen
h. Parenthesis
i. Brackets
j. Ellipses
k. Period

10. Other Effective Tips for Technical Writers

a. Consistency and Clarity
b. Friendly but not Familiar
c. Colloquial Expressions
d. Gender
e. Bulleted versus Numbered Lists
f. Graphics
g. Colors
h. Tables (Table of Contents, Glossary, Index)
i. Font and Line Spacing
j. Quizzes
k. Person and Tense

11. Self Directed Assignment

Course Summary

In this course, we will consider a stepped process for crafting a technical work.  Then, we will review grammar and effective sentence structure/usage.  Next, we will consider proper punctuation.  We will conclude with other practical tips for effective technical writing.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.