RE: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one

Subject: RE: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one
From: "Pinkham, Jim" <Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com>
To: "Kathleen MacDowell" <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 12:03:48 -0500

I think you're quite right, Kathleen, that you have to pick your battles
and priorities. In many cases, if it's reasonably clear what the intent
of the statement was and other deadlines are pressing, I'll leave things
alone and move on -- perhaps making a note, mental or otherwise, to see
if we can't do some polish next time around. In a hurry, clarity,
grammar, spelling, accuracy are the watchwords. The other factor here,
of course, is we don't have the context that Deborah does, nor do we sit
down the hall or across the cube from her. Usually, if there's something
that's unclear enough to merit a heavy edit, I have background
knowledge, resources close at hand, or both to address them. That, too,
makes a huge difference.

________________________________

From: kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com [mailto:kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Kathleen MacDowell
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:29 AM
To: Pinkham, Jim
Cc: John Posada; dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one


I've noticed that responses to these types of questions often involve
extensive re-writes to the content. I think that many of them are
excellent, and that they help raise questions about ambiguity in the
original content.

But I also wonder how much you apply similar types of rewrites to your
daily work?

In my experience, the client often wants you to go with what they've
written, so I try to work from that perspective as much as possible.
It's primarily a matter of choosing battles, because typically, there is
important content that needs correction and multiple reviews. With the
time constraints everyone works under, it's hard enough getting those
reviews done without confronting them over relatively minor issues.

I can see the focus if one is working on a major aspect of the content.
For example, if the material is client-facing material on a website or
product release (e.g., perhaps the original posting), rather than as
part of the product documentation or a user manual. But if this were
part of a user manual, I'd argue that it would be more effective to do a
basic rewrite--so that it was accurate and grammatical--and leave it at
that.

Please note that I learn a lot from these postings, so I don't mean to
be critical. I'm just curious how people typically deal with these types
of situations.

Kathleen


On Thu, May 21, 2009 at 9:31 AM, Pinkham, Jim <Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com>
wrote:


Let me try to clarify. Your point is well-taken, John, when it
comes to identifying the singular vs. plural number for the product
name. But it's not a question of number and subject-verb agreement here.
Rather it is the apparent use of "are," rather than "were" with the past
participle to indicate completed action in the past tense. And the
coupling with a second past participle confounds the matter further.

Getting back to the sentences at hand:

If the research is done, then the systems "were developed" or
"have been developed" and that development is based upon 10 years of
research.
If the research is still being done, I suppose one could say
that the systems "are being" developed: "XX Systems are being developed,
and that development is based upon more than 10 years of research."

But that is getting more verbose. It still doesn't read well,
and we still need the big picture to know what this copy is really
trying to accomplish and then to give it a decent rewrite so that it
actually does accomplish that purpose. It's the starting over that's
really needed here, if we're after something close to the second
sentence. It just does not work as is.

Jim




-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jim.pinkham
<mailto:techwr-l-bounces%2Bjim.pinkham> =voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of John Posada
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 8:59 AM
To: dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this
one

Is XY Systems the name of an entity? If so, you are right
because XY Systems, even thought it ends with S, is a singular,

However, if XY Systems are multiples of XY, then the client is
right because you are referring to plurals

On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:05 PM, Deborah Hemstreet
<dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com> wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> I have a sentence that reads:
>
> XX Systems were developed based on over 10 years of research
...
>
> The client wants:
>
> XX Systems *are *develo9ped based on over 10 years of research
...
>
> I am certain that "are" is incorrect here, but don't know how
to
> explain this. Can you help?
>
> Thanks
>
> Deborah


--
John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
NYMetro STC President

Looking for the next gig.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^





--
Kathleen MacDowell
www.writefortheuser.com
kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com
kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com


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References:
GUI Elements defined: From: Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2)
Re: GUI Elements defined: From: Gregory P Sweet
Re: GUI Elements defined: From: Chris Morton
Grammar (again!): From: Deborah Hemstreet
Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one: From: Deborah Hemstreet
Re: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one: From: John Posada
RE: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one: From: Pinkham, Jim
Re: Yet one more - really need an explanation for this one: From: Kathleen MacDowell

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