Variety in Tech Writing (was: Display, Displays, or Appears)

Subject: Variety in Tech Writing (was: Display, Displays, or Appears)
From: jlshaeffer -at- aol -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2008 12:09:58 -0400

I read Lauren's post as indicating that the usages only varied with different style guides and different corporate cultures. I assumed no variety inside of any one document set.
We tech writers tend to worship at the altar of consistency. Usually, this includes enforcing a "one word = one meaning and one meaning = one word" rule. Being boring is seen as enhancing clear communication.

Jim Shaeffer

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com; Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
Sent: Fri, 6 Jun 2008 10:48 am
Subject: RE: Display, Displays, or Appears

There's probably several other reincarnating topics in the archives. I'd be
willing to bet the "serial comma" argument comes back at least once a year.

In the paragraph below, you mention something that I also use in documents. You
apparently use a variety of ways to refer to view changes, and I do the same, to
avoid monotony.

One of the most frequent complaints about technical documents is, they are
boring. The human mind requires variety, and readers get tired of seeing exactly
the same phrases on every page. When a document contains too many repeats of the
same words, people won't read it because the uniformity becomes irritating. I
think varying the text a little makes the documents more usable, because it
makes people more willing to reading them.

--- On Fri, 6/6/08, Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net> wrote:

> Personally, I choose whatever term causes the least amount
> of grief in
> dealing with my clients. If they have a rule about
> "displays or appears,"
> then I use that rule. Otherwise, I pick whatever feels
> right for the moment
> and go with that. The window pops up(drops down),
> opens(closes),
> displays(hides), is displayed(is concealed),
> appears(disappears),
> unhides(hides again), is forced to submit to my
> commands(cowers and runs
> away), flies-in(flees), and does any number of things
> depending on my
> mood(does nothing).
> Lauren


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RE: Display, Displays, or Appears: From: Keith Hood

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