Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.10. Act upon instructions and requests

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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Let’s start this section off with a shopping spree. Imagine we go into a Department Store and we buy a selection of electrical appliances. The first appliance that we buy could be an Automatic Washing Machine; the second a Steam Iron and the third one a Mini Hi Fi system. We have them delivered the same day and now we have to install them.

When we purchase items like these, there is always a booklet with Instructions in various languages. As these items are electrically powered, it is important that we read the instructions carefully to make sure we understand them and then follow them methodically. The instructions are there for our own protection: protection of the item that we have purchased and protection of ourselves in terms of our safety.

The instructions will be written in point form; in other words, one step at a time will be numbered and described. They will also have diagrams that describe the part of the appliance to which the instruction refers. This is to ensure we understand what we are supposed to do to which part of the appliance.

So, let’s look at Instructions a little more closely:


Instructions are not only procedures that should be followed in the case of installing electrical appliances or operating machinery. We would also find instructions to do the following:

  • Execute an action
  • Operate a machine
  • Assemble a machine/table, etc.
  • Install a machine/appliance
  • Test a machine/program
  • Dispose of an item or chemical
  • Maintain a machine/appliance
  • Repair a machine or appliance
  • Modify a program
  • Store an article
  • Transport an article
  • Package an article

The reasons or objectives of Instructions are as follows:

  • To give information to a person so that they can accomplish some necessary or desired action or task in the most effective and efficient way
  • To convey this information as simply and clearly as possible to enable the user to proceed smoothly and safely without accident or mistakes.
  • To encourage competence in a certain task
  • To prevent frustration caused by lack of understanding
  • To promote a particular methodology or viewpoint.

Instructions tell a person:

  • What to do
  • What not to do
  • How to do it
  • Why it is done
  • Where to do it
  • What is dangerous
  • How much to do
  • What to use
  • What not to use
  • What it is
  • What it does
  • How it does it
  • Who should do it
  • When to do it

Requests are not instructions. They express a person’s needs or desires. They ask a person to perform an action. This means that the person being asked or requested has a choice – either carry out the request or ignore it. So, a request is asking for an action: for example:

  • Will you stop that noise! (Request in an angry voice)
  • Will you stop that noise? (A polite request)

Whereas the following are orders:

  • Let go!
  • Don’t do that!

So, requests ask for an action to be performed. Instructions tell a person what to do and how to do it. Look at the following example of a request:

“Typists are asked to help prevent any form of commercial sabotage. Before you leave for home, please empty the contents of all waste-paper baskets into the shredder provided.”