Re: Grammar Q

Subject: Re: Grammar Q
From: Yves JEAUROND <jingting -at- rogers -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 10:26:09 -0500 (EST)

Consider Northrop Frye's point that writing---all writing---
is not conversation*.

In TW, we are in a sense narrators, addressing the reader.
No conversation is possible. And we are giving directions,
not asking questions. An unsocratic teaching voice? :-)


* [pseudo-ad] I forget if Frye explicitely states this
_In Conversation [with David Cayley]_ :-)

Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM> a écrit :
While I certainly agree that using an informal tone in
writing is better than sounding too formal and corporate,
using a conversational tone does not mean that you should
use the same wording that you'd use in conversation.

When you're instructing someone in person, you can see
what they're doing and you can be there to explain
things and direct them if they're making an error.
There are a lot of other considerations you have to
take into account when writing that you don't have to
worry about in a conversation, too, like page count,
or the possibility that the person you're talking to
might walk away for a while and then come back again
and want to quickly find where he or she was in the
conversation, which is much more difficult if you
write in a paragraph-like conversational way.

Finally, the main purpose of saying things like "The
confirmation dialog box appears" is to let readers know
what should have occurred after they've taken an action.
Future tense should be used in descriptions but in step-
by-step instructions where you are assuming that readers
and doing things in linear order as they're reading,
everything that's happening as they read down is
happening in real time.

-- Janice

Janice Gelb janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com

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Re: Grammar Q: From: Janice Gelb

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