Author and reader in Instructions for use

M.F. Steehouder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Instructions for use should not be seen as merely instrumental-they should also persuade the reader to read the text and to act accordingly. Moreover, they should establish a positive image of the product and the manufacturer. In this paper, a collection of instructions for use is used to identify strategies that technical writers apply to fulfill these `rhetorical' demands; especially strategies that involve the author-reader relationship. The analysis shows that the implied author's role is not only that of a neutral instructor, but also that of a teacher or a salesman. The reader is not only addressed as a technical `operator', but also as a `user' who applies the product in a `real-life task'. The analysis also shows that technical writers sometimes use subtle politeness strategies to compensate for `face threatening acts' (FTAs). However, all of these rhetorical strategies seem to be applied very unsystematically and often clumsily. The conclusion is that technical writers may be aware of rhetorical demands for their documents, but that the instrumental function still is paramount in their eyes
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationCrossroads in communication (IPPC 97)
Place of PublicationSalt Lake City
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0-7803-4184-8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 1997
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 1997: Crossroads in Communication - Snowbird Resort, Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: 22 Oct 199725 Oct 1997

Publication series



ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 1997
Abbreviated title1997
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City


  • METIS-149759
  • IR-35067

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