Chapter 1 defines and discusses technical writing, and a comprehensive taxonomy is given. Technical writing includes reports, scientific writing, and certain business communications. Characteristics of technical writing include precision and avoiding intent to evoke an emotional response from the reader. Technical writing may be used to convince readers that a commonly held view about a topic is incorrect. Technical writing may contain equations, graphs and tables—this situation is generally different from other kinds of writing. Technical writing can be imprecise or incorrect and the consequences of these and their legal implications are also discussed. Finally, the technical writer and her motivations are covered. Examples and exercises are included.