RE: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would

Subject: RE: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would
From: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 08:56:21 -0500

Good morning, all,

I've enjoyed reading my Digests these past few days, as I have always
shared Sarah's violent objection to making up words to suit Marketing's

But you all made valid points... our jobs as technical writers require
that we COMMUNICATE and in an industry that hasn't even made it to
adolescence yet, we often must influence the evolution of our language.
I've never really looked at it that way before and must admit, the
thought cheers me.

About twenty years ago, I worked for a commercial baker (you know those
grocery store white boxes) as a secretary and had been asked to type a
memo for a marketing manager because his own secretary was out that day.
It was five pages written in long hand of the most liberty I've ever
seen taken with our language. Terms like "incentivize" and "grow the
business" abounded. So used to editing my own bosses' mutilated grammar,
I blithely edited as I typed. To my astonishment, he came out of his
office with the typed copy, red as a beet, demanding to know what right
I had to mutilate his words.

I found it hilarious that he chose to use the word 'mutilate', which is
what I thought he'd done as I typed. Needless to say, I was never asked
to help him again.

But, I digress.

My point is, there are soooooo many words the computer industry alone
has made commonplace. I admit, I am no longer so angered by attempts to
grab 'mindshare' and rather like the idea of being able to exert some
bit of influence over people's word usage.

Sigh... I now have to determine how to handle this gem: "graceful
recovery". (Shudder) Brings to mind images of tutus and plies.

Patty B.

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