How to write better instructions in four easy steps

My fiance (yes, the Grammaniac is engaged! Yay!) received a tire pressure gauge for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure it came with the world’s worst set of instructions. Not only have I decided to make fun of them, but I’ll also use them as an example of how to write instructions that make at least a fraction of a bit of sense.

Step one:
Ensure proper noun-verb agreement : …when tires are cold.

Step two:
Choose the correct word to represent the idea you are trying to convey: Remove cap on tire valve.

Step three:
Do not make up words: set screw is two words, not one.

Step four:
This is a set of instructions, not a word scramble game: small.

For the lazier type, you could even skip these four steps and proceed straight to step five: hire a damn proofreader.

The abused apostrophe: It’s baaaaaack!

I spent my whole evening at the mall, shopping for clothes but also shopping for potential blog-worthy material (i.e., abuse of proper English). Not only did I walk away with several new items of clothing, but I got a photograph of this as well:

I guess it’s fine if people are renting these strollers and placing their children directly into them. I just hope they aren’t letting these children read the instructions.

In their defense, art is actually their strong suit…

This is a small and insignificant error, but I’m bothered by it every time I read it because of how it doesn’t flow right due to a missing letter.

In case you aren’t with me and my nitpickiness, the mistake is the phrase “a antibiotic” on the second line. Those of us who’ve progressed past the first grade would know it should be “an antibiotic.” They did good work on my tattoo, though, so now that I’ve gotten it out of my system I’ll leave them alone. =)