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What are instructions?[edit | edit source]
Instructions provide step by step directions for completing a task. This is in contrast to Descriptions, which simply define an object, mechanism, or process.
According to Markel (p. 522), instructions are "process descriptions written to help the reader perform a specific task".
When planning instructions, you must have first completed a thorough audience analysis so that you can readily identify your readers' goals. Then describe the processes needed to achieve these goals.
Introducing an Instruction[edit | edit source]
Introducing your instruction, you should tell your reader:
- Who should do the task
- Why they should do the task
- When they should do the task
- What safety measures they should take first
- What items they will need to do the task
Writing Instructions[edit | edit source]
When you write the instructions you should use a numbered list. Obviously, put the first step first, and the last step last. Put intermediate stages, or "feedback statements" with the preceding step.
- Use the imperative mood. Start with a verb.
- Use the present tense.
- Use the active voice.