RE: Question about "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing"

Subject: RE: Question about "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing"
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Tim J. Slager" <TSlager -at- isdcorporation -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 11:40:14 -0400

I think that particular cleverness comes AFTER the
decision to buy the book, to rationalize the choice. :-)

Having already decided not to buy any of them, I
still read "Complete Idiot's..." as a phrase
modifying "Guide".

Tomayto, tomahto.

So... um... techwriter-ish question:

How could it have been modified in order to ensure
the desired clustering of modifiers in the mind of
the average reader? Any punctuation you can think
of that might have worked with the same word-order
to adjust the emPHAsis? Any word order that would
have done the job without hopelessly contorting
the title?

It could have been "The Complete Brain-dead
Microencephalic's Guide to Whatever", and it
would have been obvious, because in order for
the first term to modify the person rather than
the guide, that first term would have needed to
be "Completely", not "Complete".

But I think many of us have heard persons described
as "complete idiots", and so that's what comes up
when the brain is deciding how to scan "Complete Idiot's
Guide...". But I might be an atypical Dummy about
that sort of thing.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tim J. Slager [mailto:TSlager -at- isdcorporation -dot- com]
>
> I think "complete" modifies Guide. That's what makes it clever. I
> rather like the title. Something Socratic there, reminding us of our
> ignorance.
>
> tims

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Question about "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing": From: Krista Van Laan
RE: Question about "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing": From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Question about "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing": From: Tim J. Slager

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