Re[2]: Generally, what do you think of generally?

Subject: Re[2]: Generally, what do you think of generally?
From: Harry Hager <hhager -at- dttus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, aackerson -at- logicon -dot- com
Date: 08 Feb 2000 10:32:07 -0600


> Kill all adverbs in technical writing? ... If you can't express a
concept without generalizations become a novelist.

Generally I agree. However, there are exceptions.

I think it depends very much on the software you are documenting.

If you are documenting a complex product with numerous variables, it
is entirely appropriate to illustrate the way a "typical" user might
employ the software. (But here typical is an adjective, not an
adverb.)

If you are documenting software that assembles a package of state or
federal forms along with supporting documents to prove the eligibility
status of the person applying for certain benefits, it is entirely
appropriate to say soemthing like "Typical supporting documents
include a Social Security card or a birth certificate." (Here again,
typical is an adjective, not an adverb.)

If you are describing a lengthy process with numerous steps and
numerous permutations, it is entirely appropriate to say something
like "The xxx process typically consists of the following steps."
(Here typically is a adverb.)


H. Jim Hager







______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: RE: Generally, what do you think of generally?
Author: aackerson -at- logicon -dot- com at Internet-USA
Date: 2/8/00 8:20 AM


Kill all adverbs in technical writing. By definition, technical
writing is
precise. If you can't express a concept without generalizations become a
novelist. See Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" for the best short
treatment of clear writing.

Cheers!
Al

-----Original Message-----
From: Blaine, Karen L. [mailto:karen -dot- blaine -at- unisys -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 6:55 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: RE: Generally, what do you think of generally?


For what it's worth...
While there are times when the use of "typically" and "generally" may be
appropriate, I find I can usually avoid them. My gut feeling when reading a
document using those words is that the material comes across as
condescending. I often see "typically" and "generally" in documents written
by programmers, especially the prima donnas. Each word places a slightly
judgmental twist on the context of the rest of the sentence, implying that I
should see what is obvious and that I may be too stupid or ignorant to do
so.


-----Original Message-----
From: anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com [mailto:anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000 7:36 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: FWD: Generally, what do you think of generally?



Hi everyone.
I won't take up too much time, I just have one question.
My company has several products all of which have a few books written
about them. As you might guess, the manager wants all of the books to look
like
they were written by the same person (let's not go there). I am not
telling you this because I want to gripe/question about that issue. I am
asking
what you think about writing the books using a term like typically or
generally, prior to telling what the reader/user should do. For example:
Typically, on a rainy day you use an umbrella.
rather than:
On a rainy day you use an umbrella.
My thoughts/concerns are that the former, when used in real life
situations, is too wishy-washy. If it is something that they may or may not
do (it is
their call), I think they will be smart enough to not do it if they want
to, even if you use directive language.



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