RE: Grammar Q

Subject: RE: Grammar Q
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 11:22:23 -0500

Lauren [mailto:lauren -at- writeco -dot- net] wrote:

> > From: McLauchlan, Kevin
>
> > No style guide?
> > Write one. Then use it to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with you.
>
> Sounds like somebody is having a Monday (it's Thursday), but I agree
with
> all of the stuff about infinite lists and which person to use.
>
> About infinite lists: one instructor I had taught that an infinite
list,
> such as list that ended with "etc.," should be replaced with a finite
list
> that began with "for example" or "such as" and didn't end with an
infinite
> term.

I use that form a lot.
Our company style guide frowns on "etc.", "e.g.", and "i.e.", among
other perfectly good bits of usage. But let's not get into the old
death-spiral about "dumbing down". I'll just assume it as a given. :->

> I also have strong aversions to second-person usage in documentation.
I
> read one help document that began nearly every sentence with "you" and
> contained such statements as "you must..." and "...then you click..."
I
> got
> annoyed. Why was this document telling me what to do?! So I say,
avoid
> "you." Not *you* per se, but the term "you."

I use an explicit "you" sparingly.
I use the implied "you" everywhere.

Step 1: Do this.
This happens.
Step 2: Do that.
Something else happens.
Step 3: Hold the chicken in your left hand, the book in your right hand,
and the knife in your teeth, while muttering the incantation and turning
widdershins (ensure that you do not cross the pentagram boundary while
doing so).

Every instruction to do something is second-person, with the implied
"you".
Step 4: You really gotta see this.
OK, that could be either a command (an instruction) or a simple
declarative, depending on tone and situation, but I digress.

:-)

Kevin
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References:
RE: Grammar Q: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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