Clear Technical Writing
Clear Descriptions

Pointing Qualifiers

Sometimes it feels necessary to give our readers extra direction in the space-time continuum. Perhaps we think they will get lost without it.

The diagrams presented in the slides were created using Visio.

These qualifiers often precede prepositional phrases.

... presented in the slides ...

This is a distraction because:

(1) It is redundant to what is being said in the prepositional phrase. Presentation slides present information, so there is no need to say it again.

(2) It is based on a verb, and this draws attention away from the main verb in the sentence, created.

When the qualifier is part of the main action in a brief sentence, you can safely leave it.

It's listed in the contract.
[okay]

It's shown on the screen.
[okay]

It's occurring at the end.
[okay]

But when the qualifier is obviously not part of the main action of the sentence, it can safely be omitted for clarity.

This capability satisfies the requirement listed in the contract.

This capability satisfies the requirement in the contract.

Record the value you observe shown on the screen.

Record the value you observe on the screen.

That explains the high temperature occurring at the end of the stress test.

That explains the high temperature at the end of the stress test.

Edit your writing by spotting pointing qualifiers.

We visited the conning position located on the uppermost deck. In coastal waters, sounded depths are compared with those given in the hydrographical charts. In territorial waters, we must navigate along routes appearing on the government's Vessel Traffic System.

Lesson: Pointing Qualifiers
Module: Clear Descriptions
Course: Clear Technical Writing