Re: Seriously OT and not allowed by Eric - usage rant?

Subject: Re: Seriously OT and not allowed by Eric - usage rant?
From: "Donna Melton" <donna -at- emelton -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 13:41:56 -0800

<<I can't see a consistent use in it of italicizing a word or putting it in

Regardless of one's opinion of style manuals--specific or general--and
adherence to those manuals, the Microsoft Manual of Style does tell you when
to italicize or use quotation marks by referring you to another manual. On
page vii of the second edition (1998):

*Other standard reference works*
The following reference materials are the authorities for issues not covered
in this guide:
* American Heritage Dictionary . . .
* Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed. . . . (no shortage here of suggestions
for italicizing and quoting)
* Harbrace College Handbook . . .
* Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary . . .
* Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design . . .

Although Microsoft claims on the cover of the Manual: "The standard
reference for techinical writers, editors, journalists, and others" the
introduction says:

"This guide is to help Microsoft writers and editors maintain consistency
within and across products. It is not a set of rules. It does provide
guidelines that have been discussed and reviewed by experienced writers and
editors across the company."

Maintain consistency . . . not a set of rules . . . does provide guidelines.
Doesn't sound like a proclamation of style domination to me. As always,
anything that helps writers to avoid confusing their readers can be a useful
tool, especially, as in Microsoft's case, where many people use multiple
products from the same company.

Donna Melton


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