Bitesize STE – Essentials 1: Words  

Bitesize STE is written by Mekon’s Simplified Technical English trainer Ciaran Dodd.

Since issue 7 of the ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (STE) specification came out in January, I have read it thoroughly while I updated our two-day Introduction to STE course. As part of the course, we review some essentials of grammar that you have to know to understand the rules of STE. In the next few issues of Bitesize, we’ll look at these essentials and explain why you need to know them in order to write well in STE. We’ll also explain any changes in issue 7, 2017.

STE Essentials 1: Words

STE is a controlled language because the writing rules in part 1 and the and dictionary of approved words in part 2, work together to control the language that you can write. The rules tell you which words you can use, how you can use them and how you can construct sentences and paragraphs. The dictionary has what it calls the “general” words that are approved in STE.

There are three main categories of words that you can use in STE:

  1. Words from the dictionary of approved words
  2. Technical names (these are mainly nouns)
  3. Technical verbs

The technical names and technical verbs are not in the dictionary because the many companies in different industries that use STE will have their own terminology. To manage this, STE provides lists of categories that you must use to make a word a technical name or technical verb. There are rules that define how you must use each category of words.

I have already had to use the grammatical terms ‘noun’ and ‘verb’ to describe which words you can use in STE. These terms are parts of speech. You need to know all eight parts of speech listed in STE because they define how you can use words from the dictionary, and parts of speech appear in many of the rules. For example, there are sections of rules that deal specifically with nouns and verbs.

In the dictionary, the first column shows the words that you can use (in uppercase) and what part of speech STE has assigned to that word. This is because many words can be more than one part of speech and to reduce confusion, STE gives each word a permitted part of speech. (A few words can be two different parts of speech if they are commonly used and not easily confused.)

When you learn to write in STE, you need to be able to:

  • define each part of speech, and
  • know how the part of speech applies in STE.

Over the next issues of Bitesize STE, I will define a part of speech and explain what you need to know about the part of speech to write well in STE.

Next month, we’ll talk about verbs.

You can request the STE specification here:

Looking for Simplified Technical English (STE) Training?

Book your place on one of our Simplified Technical English training courses. Our Simplified Technical English Training course is a practical introduction for those who will use Simplified Technical English (formerly AECMA Simplified English). The course introduces the philosophy of Simplified Technical English, explains the underlying grammatical principles and gives delegates opportunities to use Simplified Technical English in practical exercises. These exercises can be based on your company’s documentation.

Find out more call +44(0)20 87228400 or email .

About Ciaran

“Who is your audience and what do they need?”

“How do you meet those needs efficiently, cost effectively and to a high standard?”

ciaranCiaran Dodd has been ensuring that clients address both of these questions using ASD Simplified Technical English (ASD-STE100) since 2002, after being trained by the United Kingdom’s ASD-STE100 co-ordinator in 2001. Ciaran started her career in training at Rolls-Royce, which is where she became involved in training all aspects of writing, including ASD-STE100. After leaving the organisation, Ciaran set up an independent consultancy specialising in communication and learning skills. She has extensive experience of working with major names in engineering; particularly in defence aerospace and the automotive industries.

Ciaran is a qualified trainer, teacher and teacher of English as a foreign language. After completing a law degree at Cambridge University, she taught English in a Chinese university for two years. She has taught all aspects of the English language in commercial and public organisations since 1994.