Re: backward compatible

Subject: Re: backward compatible
From: "Nickell Traduction" <nickelltrad -at- autoroute -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 01:13:10 -0500

I always thought backward versus backwards followed the same rule as toward
versus towards. When there is actual physical movement, you add the "s",
and when it is just in the figurative sense, it is without the "s". And if
you want to get really picky, unless you are denoting real motion, at least
in the case of toward versus towards, you should avoid toward(s) and just
use "to" (see the book Common Errors in English, among other style books).

Anyway, you often hear people "say" the "s" regardless, but I think that's
an oral English thing, and not written. As for whether it's really
necessary to even say backward(s), it's probably enough to say "compatible",
but backward compatible has become such a part of the lingo. If you're
stressing that it is specifically compatible with prior versions, it's
probably not wrong to include "backward", but perhaps not 100% necessary.

BTW, the Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications stresses that
the backward should not take an "s".


Traci with her nose in the English usage books...
-----Original Message-----
From: Carnall, Jane <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 12:20 PM
Subject: backward compatible

|En avant!
|>The TinWoodman4 heart is fully backward compatible with the latest patch
|for TinWoodman3.<
|Should this be backwards compatible? (Or backwardly compatible?)
|I've been searching the net for backward compatible, backwards compatible,
|and backwardly compatible. The most common usage seems to be the first:
|backward compatible.
|Is it always acceptable simply to say that something is "backward
|compatible" with something else?
|Jane Carnall
|Technical Writer, Compaq, France
|Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.
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