Re: How formal or informal

Subject: Re: How formal or informal
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2001 10:00:34 -0800

Cindy Parker-Mart wrote:

> This poses a more broad question to me. Most of the documentation I produce
> is web-based. I have taken the informal approach on everything except the
> actual procedure and sometimes not even in that case. I find that a more
> 'conversational' tone works extremely well for my customers. I am wondering
> if that is incorrect. I reserve the formal writing for proposals, letters
> to customers and in certain places in our user manuals. Is this correct or
> am I getting lazy? I think Jo is on target. Whatever works to convey the
> message to the user is most certainly appropriate in my opinion. I don't
> get excited about the hard and fast rules anymore. My goal is to
> communicate and that's it.

I suspect that setting up the issue as an either-or question is
misleading. You can, for example, write in formal English with a
simple vocabulary and sentence structure or in informal English with
convoluted and obscure constructions. Personally I'm far more
concerned with clarity of expression than with formal or informal

Bruce Byfield 317.833.0313 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
Director of Marketing and Communications,
Progeny Linux Systems

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Singing, "Backward and forward and sideways may you pass,
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- Rudyard Kipling, "The Looking Glass"


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