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Can of course be used in technical writing? I heard that it is used typically in informal writing. I am not sure though. For example,

The existing scheduling techniques work well on a mix of single threaded workloads where half of the threads are memory-intensive and half are CPU-intensive. Of course, these are not designed for scheduling multithreaded programs.

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If you have a context in mind, it would be very helpful for us to know, in order to answer your question. Of course, you can use the phase in any kind of writing, given the right context. –  Matt Эллен Sep 25 '11 at 18:23
    
@Matt: Thanks for the suggestion. I have update the question. –  samarasa Sep 25 '11 at 18:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, it certainly can be used in technical writing. If the statement were written without the 'of course', then the writer might think that the reader would be confused at the mention as though the statement were some new shocking interesting thing needing lots of justification. The statement still needs to be mentioned to remind the reader, but still needs to be marked with something that says that it really isn't that deep.

But its use can be abused, a place holder for hand-waving or an unjustified leap ('of course' is kind of a deflection like 'obviously' or 'it is clear that').

As to its appropriateness (when used correctly), it is probably not the best for technical documentation because the purpose of documentation is for readers who don't understand what is going on, so you never know what should be obvious to the reader. It is appropriate in more argumentative documents, but like with any sentential adverb should be used sparingly (and also because of the misuse mentioned above where it could be associated with a gap in the argument).

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It depends who’s going to read it. One view of ‘of course’ is that if what follows really is ‘of course’ then it doesn’t need saying and you’re patronising your readers by using it.

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Be very wary of using 'of course' in (pseudo-)technical writing. It can quite often mean that there's a gap in the argument which may not be fully justified. However, it does depend on the context. In the example, the 'of course' is fairly innoccuous, but the sentences could easily be modified to avoid it:

The existing scheduling techniques work well on a mix of single threaded workloads where half of the threads are memory-intensive and half are CPU-intensive, but they are not designed for scheduling multithreaded programs.

Or:

The existing scheduling techniques work well on a mix of single threaded workloads where half of the threads are memory-intensive and half are CPU-intensive. However, they are not designed for scheduling multithreaded programs.

(I used 'they' rather than 'these'; that's mostly stylistic rather than substantive.)

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