RE: The 'user' in User Manual

Subject: RE: The 'user' in User Manual
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher5 -at- cox -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 14:36:31 -0500

To my way of thinking, a professional who is unfamiliar with the tools of their trade is not much of a professional. A chef can tell a ramekin from a french knife; an auto mechanic is intimately familiar with both torque wrenches and crescent wrenches; a doctor can tell a stethescope from a sphignomanometer. If they did not know these things, we would certainly wonder about them; their credibility would be in jeopardy.

For a professional writer, grammar is an important tool of the trade. If I am interviewing writers and a candidate cannot tell me what an imperative sentence is, what passive voice is, or why diectic pronouns require clear anticedents, they don't get hired. Period. No mater how nice they seem or how good their portfolio looks.

Then too, it's a technical writer's job to learn things, and most revel in doing so. In my more than 20 years of technical writing, I have never encountered a *talented* technical writer who wasn't eagerly accepting of new knowledge about the tools of the trade or the technology on which they're working.

IMO, a writer who does not know grammar and has no desire to learn is a writer without credibility.

My two cents - your mileage may vary.
-Sue Gallagher


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