TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:RE: And Or From:"Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com> To:<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Tue, 19 Jun 2007 08:49:59 -0400
...using the phrase "and/or" to mean the inclusion of all or any combination
of items, including only one item in a given list just doesn't seem right to
me-though I see it everywhere....
Theodore Bernstein in "The Careful Writer" wrote "...this combination is a
visual and mental monstrosity that should be avoided..." Strunk and White
state that and/or "...is a device, or shortcut, that damages a sentence and
often leads to confusion or ambiguity."
You see "and/or" a lot in government, military, and legal writing, but that
doesn't make it good writing. In many cases, "and/or" is used because the
original author learned to use the combination from previous mentors who
were to lazy to write a clear sentence, or didn't know how to write clearly.
(I worked with a number of government proposal writers who were retired
military and everything they generated was infected with acronyms and
"and/or." This is not a slam on the military, but an observation of writers
trained by the military.)
Every time I see this convention, I rewrite the sentence. After all, isn't
clarity our business?
Technical Writing, Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design and Award Winning
E-mail: mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
URL: http://www.geistassociates.com (Online portfolio and resume)
URL: http://www.geistimages.com (Fine art photographic prints for home or
office and beautiful note cards for all occasions.)
Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-