RE: I suppose this is my most frustrating grammar error

Subject: RE: I suppose this is my most frustrating grammar error
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 09:02:05 -0700

Geoff - who I think is WAY cool - says:

> Based on ongoing egregious examples and comments
> by experts such as STC's Don Bush, I have to say that Microsoft's original
> manual of style should bear a large warning label to proceed with
> caution.Caveat: I haven't conducted any extensive analysis of the book, and
> am restricting my comments to Microsoft's advice on grammar and word use
> rather than style, so please limit the applicability of my comments
> accordingly. But I've seen enough egregious examples cited here and in two
> unfavorable reviews by Don Bush to advocate caution. I'm given to understand
> that the 2nd edition of their book is much improved, but on the basis of the
> evidence at hand, I advocate caveat emptor.


This much maligned book (don't get me started on the way Bush manages to
include a stab at MS in everything he writes in STC pubs, which drives me
nuts), is a STYLE GUIDE. Used by a COMPANY to tell their EMPLOYEES how
they'd like them to write about THEIR PRODUCTS.

Yes, it has been adopted by many others in the industry. Because it's
easier than each of us having to write an equally comprehensive guide for
how to write about OUR products.

It is NOT a dictionary. It is NOT a grammar book. They never said it was.
It is not presented as How The World Should Write. It is an employee
manual. I'm glad they shared it with us - it saves me a LOT of time. Most
of the style decisions they've made work just fine for me. Most, but not
all.

Yes, they saw its profit potential, and they do make money by selling it
to us non-Microsofties. More power to them. I've owned two editions, and
will gladly buy the next.

This ain't Webster's. Just a helpful resource, and an inside view of how a
very successful company guides its writers. Don't judge it as you would a
more universal reference book.

If you are appalled at the practices they preach, you probably should
start writing angry letters to Toys R Us, and the makers of Kool
cigarettes, and everybody else who is destroying This Great Language Of
Ours.

And why wasn't that pale guy on Star Trek named Datum, anyway?


- Keith Cronin
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