10 Technical Writing Mistakes Every Student Should Avoid in 2024

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Writing is a complicated activity. Technical writing is more difficult than essays. Statistics and experience show that students commit more mistakes when it goes about technical disciplines or complex papers. This post aims to show the top ten mistakes you need to avoid.

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Mistakes Connected with Poor Writing

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Poor grammar or spelling can destroy your paper. They are important and affect the score, even if the content deserves a Nobel prize. According to professional essay writing experts from CustomWritings.com, here are the top five mistakes students commit:

  1. Confusing your you’re, its and it’s, there and their. Possessive pronouns are tricky, even for native speakers. Always reread the sentence and figure out how a particular word makes sense. To avoid further problems, do not use the shortened forms of “pronoun+to be” bundles. Let’s omit the fact that technical writing does not imply using persons. Everything should be written in a neutral form. If you still need to use the bundle, let it be “I am” or “you are” instead of “I’m” and “you’re” correspondingly.
  2. Do not confuse the words. Many words in English have similar construction, pronunciation, or meaning. However, it does not excuse you from being double attentive. There is a list of commonly confused words that you should know. We can relate mistakes connected with irregular verbs and plural forms to the same topic.
  3. Be aware of confusing the terms. Such disciplines as chemistry or biology are full of common words that indicate different concepts. For instance, sulfates and sulfites are substances with various chemical properties. And, the biotype and biotope are different concepts that refer to separate branches of biology. A mistake will confuse you and a reader. It can destroy the whole research and sense of writing.
  4. Try avoiding overloaded sentences. Technical writing is not a novel, and you are not Charles Dickens to compose page-long sentences. The sentence should be simple, with a minimal number of adjectives, adverbs, etc. Try not to use various participles, gerunds, etc. Use the parentheses only if you need to use the logical transition. Do not abuse tenses. It is not an obligatory rule. Try to use only simple tenses. Technical writing implies the easiest ways of information transition. At the same time, the sentences must be full and contain the main parts. Such variants as “Exactly!”, “No.”, “None of them.”, “Good for us.” are not acceptable.
  5. Avoid passive constructions. In a technical paper, such a way to transit information cannot be accepted. It does not fit.

Grammar and language use are not the only mistakes in technical writing. Many students commit mistakes that can be referred to as poor knowledge paper composition.

Mistakes in Paper Composition

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Many students are confused with obligatory structuring and applying a particular reference style to the paper. In this section, we will take a look at the mistakes that destroy the sense and readability of technical papers.

  1. Poor definition composition. The definitions are common in technical papers, and the students have to compose their own sometimes. As you already know, many terms are similar. There are many situations when a single word can refer to absolutely different concepts and disciplines. For instance, the word “cap” can mean a headgear, a protective part of a mechanism, a part of a mushroom, the upper layer of a mineral, a beehive, a mean of contraception, or a special part of a DNA molecule that indicates the processes of splitting. Be confident to give a proper definition depending on a topic and discipline.
  2. Inconsistency. A technical text is full of complicated terms. It is hard to read it basically for an unprepared audience. So, you need to make the text coherent. A reader should understand how the sentences are bond with each other and where the new information appears.
  3. Too much detail will harm your paper. With sufficient willing and capability, you can write an essay about every term and concept you write about in a document. Do not do it. Give the information that can support your statement or refer to the topic. Exclude everything behind this definition. Here is a simple example. For a paper about global warming, in a sentence “Ice melting affects dolphins, big marine mammals that hunt using echolocation structures situated in their noses,” only words in bolds are necessary. Also it is very important that article has certain amount of the words. In order to accomplish this you can use the help of some online tools , such as WordCountTool.com.
  4. Follow a definite style of the language. It must be formal and scientific. You cannot use bookish or straightforward words. Try to avoid slang as well. The word “mama-elephant” instead of “female elephant” in a biology technical writing will make everyone laugh. Do not substitute the terms with their definitions in the text. For example, do not write “place for living” instead of “habitat”. If you use a lot of specific terms, better make a separate list with their definitions. The same rule is legal for the abbreviations and initialisms. Do not be afraid of tautology and repeating.
  5. Beware of poor reference sources. The main problem with technical writing is picking a legit and adequate resource. Trust the articles, scientific journals, academic papers, textbooks, etc. Try to avoid YouTube videos, blog posts, and too inactive resources.

These are ten mistakes you need to avoid to perform perfect technical writing. Remember that attention is the essential skill you need to apply.