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Chuck Martin writes:
That doesn't mean anything that sounds "right" is good
grammar. But good grammar generally does have good
"ear," while "correct" grammar sometimes does not. (An
excellent book that espouses considering "ear" when
considering grammitical issues is Lyn Dupre's "Bugs in
Most grammar books don't take "ear" into account, and
are often prescriptive at the cost of stilted or
verbose language. We as technical communicators have
as one responsiblity to make sure that the message
isn't being muddied by the allegedly nflexible rules
of composing that mesage.
For many, it may be dangerous to rely on "ear". Many
people are raised in circumstances where they learned
a nonstandard flavor of English, and it's very
difficult to retune one's "ear" in later life. I've
edited several papers written in slightly mangled
English. In many cases, the author explains the choice
as being "what sounds right".
Of course, each of us should be able to recognize how
much our "ear" differs from the standard and
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