TC Myths

All technical communication myths in place.

Stem sentences are not necessary in technical content

Stem sentences should be used to introduce a list.


This myth seems more like an excerpt from a style guide. Doyle (Myths about technical writing), referenced by Johnson (14 Widespread Myths about Technical Writing), cites Geyer who says that while stem sentences have been common in the past, they are not supported by DITA, and are not required in technical content because the information they offer can be provided by other document elements such as heading or section headers.

Survival tips

  • Follow the style guide.
  • If the content makes sense without them, don’t use them.