Preparing stock phrases for a particular topic


A technical writer can use the toolkit to prepare stock phrases for a particular topic (for example on a description of lubrication chart for a new gear developed by a company).

Step 1

Identify the headwords (gear, lubrication, lubricate). In general, a writer should have an idea of the paragraph to be written and know the main noun (we call it a headword), but may not have a ready list of appropriate adjectives and modifying nouns in mind. This is where the toolkit steps in.

Step 2

Identify the correct use of various word pairs based on their formulae.

Formula Use
ADJ + gear Various adjectives associated with a gear—to describe various types of gears, condition of gears, etc.
gear + N Nouns which follow the word ‘gear’.
Example: gear shift (AmE), gear stick (BrE)
P Phrases in which the word ‘gear’ appears.
Example: backlash in a gear
P P Prepositional phrases in which the word ‘gear’ appears.
Example: in top gear (right)
on top gear (wrong)
V + gear What verbs are commonly associated with ‘gear’ and their correct usage as an incorrect verb would change the meaning of the sentence.
Example: Opposite action is described by using the antonyms ‘engage gear’ and ‘disengage gear’.

From above, we can see that the toolkit can also be used to correct typical grammatical errors:
  • misused prepositions
  • ill-formed verbs
  • inappropriate adverbs
  • misused plurals and articles
  • missing verbs