Words with double meanings?

Subject: Words with double meanings?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Michelle Vina-Baltsas <Michelle_Vina-Baltsas -at- datascope -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 14:59:53 -0500

Michelle Vina-Baltsas wondered: <<We're trying to compile a list of
words with double meanings for our style guide. Does anyone have any
resources that they'd suggest to use as a starting point?>>

Speaking as a clinically diagnosed paronomasiac, the answer to your
question is: "the dictionary". <g> No, really. There are darn few
words that don't have multiple meanings or that can't be amusingly
misinterpreted with a little effort.

The more important question is whether there is a preferred list of
word choices for specific terminology related to the product you're
documenting. For general industry-specific terminology, you need a
subject-specific style guide, such as Read Me First and Microsoft's
Manual of Style for computers and Scientific Style and Format for
science. There are many other industry-specific style guides. What
industry are you working in?

For general word usage, there's a slew of "usage" guides, such as
Garner's Modern American Usage. For general words, a good recent
version of an unabridged such as the American Heritage dictionary is
still your best choice. (Equivalents exist for most other flavors of
English, but I'm only really familiar with the American versions.)

Choose whichever of these resources is appropriate for your specific
product. For your in-house style guide, don't try to reinvent the
dictionary/style guide/usage guide. Instead, focus your efforts on
identifying the concepts that are more or less unique to your
product, and on defining the best choices for describing those
concepts. For all other word choices, refer your writers to the
dictionary, usage guide, and style guide you've chosen as your
standard... and then ensure that copies are readily available. (You'd
be surprised how often people cheap out and buy only a single library
copy that everyone has to fight over.)

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
***Now available*** _Effective onscreen editing_


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.

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-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/archive%40web.techwr-l.com

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.


Words with double meanings: From: Michelle Vina-Baltsas

Previous by Author: Good, recent books for beginners in TW?
Next by Author: Beginning topic titles with "How to..."?
Previous by Thread: Re: Words with double meanings
Next by Thread: RE: Words with double meanings?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads