Clear Technical Writing
Clear Terms

Time Qualifiers

Redundant references to time

When we speak, it's easy to add extra words, especially time qualifiers that overspecify things.

We closed the port for a duration of two hours, dropping all packets on arrival.

But when we write at work, it is best to avoid redundant qualifiers.

We closed the port for two hours, dropping all packets on arrival.

Sometimes we repeat literal references to time.

The analyzer tracked IP numbers during the time from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

The redundancy doesn't add anything useful.

The analyzer tracked IP numbers from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Unnecessary references to time

Sometimes the redundancy of a time qualifier is not as obvious.

During a period of cold weather, we cancel our testing.

The phrase cold weather is equivalent to the phrase a period in which the weather is cold. So the time qualifier a period of is actually not needed.

During cold weather, we cancel our testing.

Inelegant add-on references to time

The baseband signal is sampled and then quantized.

That sentence is okay as is. But it could be cleaner, more direct. It is common in English writing to abbreviate the underlined phrase because the word then already includes the idea behind the word and.

The baseband signal is sampled then quantized.

However, it is considered good form to include a comma.

The baseband signal is sampled, then quantized.

Edit your writing by spotting time qualifiers.

During periods of spikes in network traffic, we alert administrators. We replaced some routers so that in the future the network will adapt faster to increased traffic. In other routers, firmware was updated and then uploaded.

Lesson: Time Qualifiers
Module: Clear Terms
Course: Clear Technical Writing