Good Style explains the tactics that can be used to write technical material in a coherent, readable style. It discusses in detail the choices of vocabulary, phrasing and sentence structure and each piece of advice is based on evidence of the styles prefered by technical readers and supported by many examples of writing from a variety of technical contexts.

John Kirkman draws from his many years of experience lecturing on communication studies in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Hong Kong, both in academic programmes and in courses for large companies, research centres and government departments.

Good Style has become a standard reference book on the shelf of students of science, technology and computing and is an essential aid to all professionals whose work involves writing of reports, papers, guides, manuals or on-screen texts. This new edition also includes information on writing for the web and additional examples of how to express medical and life-science information.

chapter 1|3 pages

Style as choice

chapter 2|7 pages

Sentence length and complexity

chapter 3|3 pages

Weight and familiarity of vocabulary

chapter 4|3 pages

Specialist vocabulary: jargon

chapter 5|3 pages

‘Fashionable’ words

chapter 6|4 pages

‘Roundabout’ and unusual phrasing

part 7|2 pages

Excessive pre-modification

chapter 8|10 pages

Use of nouns as pre-modifiers

chapter 9|4 pages


part 10|2 pages

Excessive ‘nominalization’

chapter 11|6 pages

Verbs: tense and voice

chapter 14|6 pages


chapter 15|4 pages

Tone: in hard copy and in on-screen text

chapter 17|6 pages

Style for instructions

chapter 19|3 pages


chapter 20|7 pages

Style for correspondence

part 21|2 pages

Writing for international audiences: general policy

part 23|1 pages

Writing for international audiences: writing for students