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
English.

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

"The Queen was in her chamber, a-weeping very sore,
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Singing, "Backward and forward and sideways may you pass,
But I will walk beside you till you face the looking glass."
- Rudyard Kipling, "The Looking Glass"

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