Re: How formal or informal?

Subject: Re: How formal or informal?
From: Alan -dot- Miller -at- prometric -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 08:35:45 -0500

I would also avoid contractions. They can be confusing to non-native
speakers--how many native speakers of English confuse its and it's, ones
and one's, your and you're? You can achieve a relaxed, friendly style
without using contractions, colloquialisms, or slang. Simple sentences,
simple vocabulary, and speaking directly to the reader will do the trick.

That's been my experience. Yours is your problem. :-{)

Al Miller
Chief Documentation Curmudgeon
Prometric, Inc.

Marilynne Smith <marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com> on 03/08/2001
07:08:58 PM

Please respond to Marilynne Smith <marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com>

Sent by: bounce-techwr-l-40429 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com

To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>

Subject: Re: How formal or informal?

If they've learned English in school, they probably didn't learn the folksy
language or colloquialisms - at least not a lot. I would write simply and
clearly. Who could ask for more?


At 05:27 PM 3/8/2001 -0600, Jo Baer wrote:
>Our department writes various types of documentation for a bank. Our
>manuals range from policy and procedure manuals used in the bank
>branches to system manuals used by analysts and programmers. (We still
>call them programmers, not engineers.) The policy and procedure manuals
>are aimed at more or less entry-level people. We also produce documents
>aimed at the supervisors and managers of bank departments and branches.
>Many of the entry-level people who (we would like to think) use the
>policy and procedure manuals speak English as a second language. We
>wonder if informal writing--that is, writing that uses contractions,
>perhaps a more "folksy" tone (although no slang or colloquialisms)--is
>appropriate and easily understood by this audience. We intend to ask
>various people in the bank for their opinions, but we'd like some
>comments from the list as well. We also wonder if it's a problem to use
>the same style in manuals directed toward the analysts and programmers.
>So--what is your experience, if any, with this issue? I'd be happy to
>summarize the responses.
>Jo Baer
>Senior Technical Writer
>TCF National Bank
>Minneapolis, Minnesota
>jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com


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