Two weeks ago I examined the inappropriate use of ‘til in replacing until in technical writing. Last week I examined another such swap — replacing the more precise somewhat with the more vague some. This week I’m discussing another vagary — so.
In all of these cases the difference between spoken and written English has played an important role. Each of these examples introduce informality which more effective technical writing typically avoids.
Such is often the case when writers employ the word so. Although vague terms often find acceptance in spoken English, that same acceptance doesn’t always transfer to written English. More effective technical writers will always choose another word when it more precisely communicates the intended meaning.
Consider the example sentence in the cropped graphic above. As used, so appears acceptable. However, the intended meaning is to convey a cause-and-effect relationship between the elements represented in each of the phrases in the sentence. So can do that, but another word like because does that same job more effectively. This means more effective writers will revise that example sentence to employ more precise language.
Failure testing has improved because the welders have been using the new weld procedure.