Re: Are we WRITERS????

Subject: Re: Are we WRITERS????
From: Peter <pnewman1 -at- home -dot- com>
To: Kathi Knill <kathi -at- inline-software -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 08:37:38 -0500

Kathi Knill wrote:
> Well, I personally would not contradict those two authorities, however
> my Webster's dictionary indices is the plural of index. No mention
> of indexes.
> So go figure.
> Sorry if I offended you. (which it sounded like from the
> tone of your message)
> It never fails to irk me when words are
> used in ways that are incorrect (irregardless, prioritize, etc.) and then
> they
> end up in the dictionary because so many people make the mistake.
> I'm all for new words to mean new things, but the misuse of words turning
> into valid English is just too much for me to feel good about.
Language is amorphous. It is the function of a dictionary not to dictate
language usage, but to reflect the current usage. There is nothing wrong
with the creation of new words. Indeed, that is the beauty of language.
How dull and uninteresting reading would be if authors were to stick
strictly with the current dictionary definitions. I am certainly not
advocating use to a point where the meaning is distorted however, words
such as "irregardless and prioritize" although technically incorrect
convey a clear meaning to the reader. After all, isn't the conveyance of
clear meaning the job of a technical writer? Ten years ago the word
"paradigm" was rarely if ever used. Today it is difficult to go to a
meeting where that term is not used. If you tell me that your firm never
uses the term I will dismiss your reply as merely anecdotal.


Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig.
You soon realize they both enjoy it.

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