In the last post we examined that same theme through a related but different lens: the difference between written English and spoken English. We used the context of those differences as background for avoiding the word fine. This colloquialism commonly used in speech conveys too much ambiguity to produce more effective technical writing.
Another word produces the same result in technical writing as fine — nice.
As commonly used, nice like fine is simply colloquial, and colloquial writing is less formal writing. More effective technical writing demands a more formal tone. What is it about nice that creates the informality? It’s the vague nature of its true meaning.
When used in speech, nice like fine generally conveys a sense of positiveness or acceptability. What exactly does it mean when you can replace one vague word with another? It means you need to use a different word that more precisely conveys your meaning.
In speech, many nonverbal cues can fill in the meaning gaps which ambiguity creates. The written word, however, has no such cues. Employing precision of language helps to convey the formality more effective technical writing requires by avoiding ambiguity.
It’s very common in speech to employ informal constructs. But more effective technical writing demands that writers avoid informality. So it’s nice to avoid nice. You will present your message more effectively with more precise language, and that will make a better impression of both you and your brands in the minds of your audience.