Subject Material


Published: 12.03.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017

English used in technical texts and in manuals, brochures and instructions is a special kind of English in many ways. This kind of English used in Science and Technology is called EST.


Make sure you understand these words before you read the text. Use the dictionary in the link collection to look up new words:

crank (subst), enquiry, equipment, maintenance, operate, optional, unnecessary, trade, recognize, propel, rod, wire (subst), spoke

In EST you will find many technical words about a specific subject, and the structure of sentences will often be different from the sentences used in everyday English. Since the purpose of EST is to give you information about a specific subject, the language focuses attention on tools, machines or processes. Therefore, a lot of unnecessary words are left out in technical texts.

In your future job you will probably have to write enquiries, orders and reports, and make telephone calls. In such situations or contexts, it is necessary that you know some basic technical terms within your own trade.

When you buy some new equipment, like for example a cell phone or an MP3 player or a bicycle, you will always get a manual with a parts description and instructions on how to operate the object. Often, you will also find a set of maintenance instructions.

Study the picture below before doing the vocabulary task further down.

When looking at the different parts of the bike you will see that there are a lot of new words to learn, but once you have learned these words you will be able to recognize many of the same words in parts descriptions of various machines and cars.

Bicycle termsBicycle terms  




Suggested Further Activity

Owner's Manual, Marin Mountain Bikes - Tasks 


Did you know that...?


The earliest machine propelled by cranks and pedals with connecting rods and which was actually built, was in 1839-40 by Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1810-78) of Dumfries, Scotland. A copy of the machine is now in the Science Museum, Kensington, London.

The continuous history of cycling began with the velocipede built in March 1861 by Pierre Michaux and his son Ernest of Rue de Verneuil, Paris, France.

In 1870, James Starley of Coventry, W. Midlands constructed the first penny-farthing or Ordinary bicycle. It had wire-spoked wheels for lightness and was later available with an optional-speed gear.
Guinness Book of Records


Practical material