RE: Checking Assumptions at the door

Subject: RE: Checking Assumptions at the door
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 13:55:00 +0100

>Bryan does raise a valid point, though. Implicit in the first sentence
>("The man went berserk and killed his neighbour's wife.") is
>the assumption that the victim has no identity outside of being married to
>the killer's neighbour. Implicit in the second sentence ("The man
>went berserk and killed his neighbour.") is the assumption
>that the victim lives in the killer's neighbourhood.

And both assumptions can be avoided if you seek out further, more detailed
and more precise information. "Jim Smith went berserk today and killed Ann
Jones, a technical writer who is employed by a major company in NearbyCity.
Ms Jones is married to Robin Brown, who lives next door to Jim Smith." Or:
"Jack Teal went berserk today and killed Samantha Jackson. Ms Jackson and Mr
Teal live in the same block of flats. Ms Jackson is married to Daniel

I think this applies strongly to technical writing: never try to gloss over
a complex situation with a single simple sentence, relying on your readers
to make the same assumptions you just did.

>Knowledge is Power.
>Power Corrupts.
>Study Hard. Be Evil.

Love the sig!

Jane Carnall
Journeying Android Networked for Exploration: Cybernetic Artificial
Replicant Normally for Assassination and Logical Learning


*** Deva(tm) Tools for Dreamweaver and Deva(tm) Search ***
Build Contents, Indexes, and Search for Web Sites and Help Systems
Available now at or info -at- devahelp -dot- com

Sponsored by Cub Lea, specialist in low-cost outsourced development
and documentation. Overload and time-sensitive jobs at exceptional
rates. Unique free gifts for all visitors to

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Checking Assumptions at the door: From: Lin Sims

Previous by Author: RE: Tech Writers and the GRE
Next by Author: RE: Suggestions for new tool option
Previous by Thread: Checking Assumptions at the door
Next by Thread: RE: Checking Assumptions at the door

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads