Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukka, and/or any other you might celebrate!  I refuse to be politically correct and say Holidays!

Anyway, Last Cliches:

World of Good: Enormous benefit.  World has been used to mean “a great deal” since the 16th cent.-this phrase dates from 19th cent.–used in connection with something that was beneficial to one’s health.  See Thomas Mann in The Magic Mountain (translated by H. Lowe-Porter, 1927).

Ends of the Earth: Remotest part of the globe.  First appeared in the Bible: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalms 98:3).  Turn of phrase is based on the idea of a flat earth, which actually has ends.  A cliche by late 19th cent.

Food for Thought: Something to ponder.  Metaphor implies that the mind can chew or digest an idea, dates from early 19th cent., although words to that effect were cited y Erasmus in his Adagia – 16th cent.  Modern cliche used by Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King aRthur’s court, 1889): “There was food for thought there.”


Technical writing is so important.  How many of you received “gadgets” for a gift?  Something you had to figure out how it worked or put it together?  I had several.  Even as we speak, I’m waiting for instructions on how to get my Memorex wi-fi dvd blu-ray player to have sound.  Had sound yesterday after I spent hours with it, but this morning, no sound again!  I looked under the trouble shoot guide for no sound and all said was probably not hooked up right.  Ha!  Only one cable and when we took the old DVD player off, we plugged in the new one.  Should work.  We have picture, no sound.  I read instructions and changed some settings yesterday, and there was sound.  This morning, No Sound!  I think there’s a flaw in the unit?

However, all my other “gadgets” seem to work.  Yes, technical writing is important because without it, we couldn’t do anything.  Step by step instructions on how to put something together or use an item is very important.  I figure you have to write like you’re telling how to do something to someone who cannot see and has never been exposed to it.  I call them “baby steps.”    Don’t leave any step out, because that might be the one step that makes everything make sense.

How many times have you received something and the instructions were not clear?  It’s no longer a sure thing that the instructions will be included or that they will be clear to someone.  On the instructions I have for this player, there is no telephone number.  You go to the website and ask your question and now I’m waiting for an answer.  Said it might take two days.  I realize they can’t write everything in an instruction manual, but to not have a phone number!  Wow, you’d think that would be one of the most important things to put in an instruction manual.  Someone to call for help.

Anyway, if you’re writing instructions, please make sure you include all steps, including contact information so that whatever you are writing about will be easy and cyrstal clear so that even a “child” could put it together or get help if needed.

Enjoy your writing!

Julie A. Winrich
helping readers enjoy sleuthing and solve puzzles!