Re: Word choice (was: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ))

Subject: Re: Word choice (was: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ))
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 09:03:05 -0400

"Jane Carnall" wrote:


>Well said, Jennifer! And on that note (since I don't care whether a screen
>displays, appears, or uses the transporter) how do other technical writers
>decide what's unacceptably-jargony and what's the new standard usage?
>
>


Jane,

I think some would argue that rigorous audience analysis would solve this problem, but I see that as an expensive substitute for a good ear. Now, mind you, a good ear is the culmination of years of reading widely, listening attentively, meta-linguistic reflection, and diligent practice. But if one is lucky enough to gain those years of experience before graduation from high school, advanced age (such as mine) is not a prerequisite. If one is not so fortunate, the ear is still educable is the brain to which the ear is attached be willing.

As for jargon, it exists for a reason (and I'm referring to jargon, not buzzword-filled marketing gibberish). If I am writing for an audience that consists of people already in the community that shares a given jargon, I have no compunction about using it. If I am writing for people outside that community, I carefully explicate any terms of art that I find useful or I avoid them altogether.

Dick

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