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Audience note. To help reviewers assess whether the target audience will be able to understand these instructions, the writer appends an audience description. Notice that it defines the skills and knowledge that the writer assumes that readers do have as well as those the writer assumes that readers will not have.
Titles. This title uses who/what/when/where/why/how phrasing (specifically, how-to phrasing) to indicate that instructions are included in this document. The words "make" and "install" indicate the scope (range of coverage) of these instructions; the word "simple" indicates the level complexity.
Introduction: motivation. In the introduction, the writer tries to build some interest and motivation by pointing out how worthwhile such a project is. In instructions, you'll often see efforts to emphasize the importance of the procedure, the fun of it, or the usefulness of the results.
Introduction: audience. Instructions need to indicate from the very outset the skills and knowledge readers need to understand and use the procedures that follow. Although this introduction states that the procedure is "easy," it still specifies "basic sewing knowledge" as a necessity. (By the way, the audience note preceding this introduction is to the instructor and is not a part of these instructions at all.)
Overview. Always provide readers with a roadmap of where the document will take them. An overview of what is about to be covered, such as is provided here, helps readers keep from feeling lost. The in-sentence list format (the parenthetical numbers) help accent that overview.
Tools and supplies. Like many instructions, these include a list of the tools you need to perform the instructions as well as the supplies (the consumables).
Second-level headings. Notice that these instructions have three main sections: a preparations section, a sewing section, and a hanging and installing section. These sections are introduced with second-level headings, which you see highlighted in red. (First-level headings, which are centered and all caps, are too much for a relatively short document like this one.)
Third-level headings. These instructions also use third-level headings, which you see highlighted in red in the example. If you think ofd the second-level headings as the roman numerals in a traditional outline, the third-level headings are like the capital-letter items.
Numbered steps. In instructions, you present each step that the reader must take in a separately numbered-list item. Notice the format: a number, a period and then a space before the text; no parentheses. Notice that the "run-over" lines align to the text of the item, not the number. To get this format, use the numbered list formatting that comes with your software; don't manually create numbered lists.
Simple lists. A simple list is a bulleted list without the bullets. This writer decides to use simple lists for the tools and supplies because the emphasis provided by the bullets is just not necessary.
But don't forget the distinction between numbered lists and bulleted lists: numbers are for items in a required order; bullets are items in no required order. This rule is strong enough that reader will get confused if you number items that are not in any required order and vice versa. Notice that the tools and supplies use bulleted—they are in no necessary order.
Bulleted list. Notice that a bulleted list is used in a situation where the writer wants to list several important points—points that are in no required order.
List lead-ins. Introduce every list you have in a document with a lead-in, which need not be a full sentence as some of the examples in these instructions show. Notice that the lead-in is punctuated with a colon.
Imperative and second-person writing style . Notice how the individual steps here use the imperative style of phrasing (measure this, cut that, write this, and so on). This is standard with instruction-writing. "You" (second person) is also commonly used. The idea is to get the reader's full attention. (Not all imperatives are shown in red in the example.)
Special notices. These instructions include several notes that call readers' attention to special points about sewing and hanging the curtain and a caution which call readers' attention to a situation in which they might hurt themselves. Notice too that a numbered list is used when there are multiple notes.
Take a look at the note on putting in the molly bolt. Should this be a warning—considering the use of a warning for situations that could damage equipment or data (in this case a wall)?
Illustrations. In these instructions, we get one illustration—the layout of the curtain itself. What else might have been illustrated in these instructions? A diagram of a molly bolt, with the parts labelled? A drawing of the spring-tension curtain rod? Perhaps an illustration of the finished product with someone sipping a cup of tea beside it?
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