Re: Can style trump grammar rules?

Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
From: Kyle Simmons <kylesimmons0164 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:07:57 -0500

I've seen what Shawn is talking about in multiple contexts. Recently, I was
helping my girlfriend address some envelopes. My job was just to create a
pattern for a banner and then draw the banner on all the envelopes (you
know those scrolly banners that are popular with typography right now?).
She was doing all the addressing, and I noticed that she was writing in all
lowercase. Lowercase names. Lowercase street addresses. Lowercase state
abbreviations. I was horrified. An envelope is a technical document, is it
not? What if the mail carriers just can't even cope with this deviation?
After she put me in my place for criticizing her work, I realized it was
fine and the world would not explode. All of the letters arrived at their
destinations promptly.

Style can trump grammar. The question is whether it should, and the answer
to that depends on context. I'm not sure this issue is one of grammar or
style but more of design. Design should improve usability/user experience.
Is having proper nouns in lowercase going to detract from the usability
of the document? Does it really matter to the user? Remember we're also
talking about a bulleted list. My thought is, "Who cares? Make that list
look good."


On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 12:55 AM, <techwr-l-request -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>
> 1. Re: What to call a smallish document that describes a
> particular way to use a product? (Melanie Albrecht)
> 2. Can style trump grammar rules? (Shawn)
> 3. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Robert Lauriston)
> 4. RE: Can style trump grammar rules? (Janoff, Steven)
> 5. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Shawn)
> 6. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Robert Lauriston)
> 7. RE: Can style trump grammar rules? (Dan Goldstein)
> 8. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Shawn)
> 9. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Keith Hood)
> 10. Re: Can style trump grammar rules? (Peter Neilson)
> 11. RE: Can style trump grammar rules? (McLauchlan, Kevin)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:05:16 +1000
> From: Melanie Albrecht <melanie -dot- albrecht -at- gmail -dot- com>
> To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: What to call a smallish document that describes a
> particular way to use a product?
> Message-ID:
> <CAHUDCWnUuDyRUNcZPYqm6vDDaTaBdBJ+UjExKQrY43=
> 0Za3i5Q -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> Thanks people. I'll use "Integration Guides" in my drafts and see how it
> works.
>
>
> On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 1:46 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
> > That's what I was thinking.
> >
> > On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 6:31 AM, Lynne Wright
> > <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com> wrote:
> > > Integration guides?
> >
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:52:47 -0700
> From: Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <CALb0BCXp4k=q2ZHhypQpYYyqUxHiDJggkwSRUf3ZHP=
> iBYHG1A -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> Good day all,
>
> This seems like a noob question but I have honestly never faced this
> 'dilemma' until now.
>
> I am using a intro splash where I include bulleted highlights of the
> chapter's content. The text style is entirely lower case. This looked great
> until I arrived at a chapter where the bulleted text includes proper nouns
> and names.
>
> Is it acceptable to maintain consistency of style, while breaking English
> grammar rules?
>
> Thanks,
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
> <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:01:40 -0700
> From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> To: Shawn C <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com"
> <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <
> CAN3Yy4B5uoxmobPZfdREAa85p+QGu6GqdiNKr3Jp5_S0qneuUg -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> I can't think of any context where it would be OK not to capitalize a
> proper noun. It looks illiterate.
>
> That's a typographical convention, not grammar.
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:42:11 -0700
> From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- ga -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>,
> "shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com" <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <8053B3D6140D544AA9F34FEBF648531F098426C63C -at- TOREXCH02 -dot- ga -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> Would have to see it in context.
>
> If it's a marketing piece, maybe. If it's a tech pubs piece, probably not.
>
> Steve
>
> PS - What is an "intro splash"? Is this some sort of screen in a video,
> or are you talking about a print/online doc?
>
>
> On Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:53 AM, Shawn wrote:
>
> Good day all,
>
> This seems like a noob question but I have honestly never faced this
> 'dilemma' until now.
>
> I am using a intro splash where I include bulleted highlights of the
> chapter's content. The text style is entirely lower case. This looked great
> until I arrived at a chapter where the bulleted text includes proper nouns
> and names.
>
> Is it acceptable to maintain consistency of style, while breaking English
> grammar rules?
>
> Thanks,
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
> <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:42:48 -0700
> From: Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
> To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> Cc: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <
> CALb0BCXBJMFrAm+ssnMsAerMPqRS05rPp0v4_zCfqEdXzw8dDw -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> There are plenty of examples of using an 'all lowercase' style. Examples
> include Vitamin water labels, McDonald's uses this format often in their
> slogans, E. E. Cummings pretty much pioneered this format, and more.
>
> It is considered a stylistic choice that conveys a hipster-like feel. I can
> hear the groans! LOL
>
> When I began using this style (only in the chapter splash pages), I really
> liked the look but on Chapter 12, I am suddenly bothered by the notion of
> using this style on proper nouns and names (despite the aforementioned
> examples). I was seeking confirmation that it is really no big deal. Either
> you are all a bunch of stogy old fuddy duds or this is really a big deal. I
> kidd! :)
>
> I think I'll drop this fancy hipster thing, use proper case, and get back
> to work. :)
>
> Fortunately, the text is transformed using CSS so it is a simple matter of
> changing the property, "text-transform:lowercase;"
>
> BTW, what are your thoughts about all UPPERCASE text? I don't believe there
> are issues doing it that way.
>
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
> > I can't think of any context where it would be OK not to capitalize a
> > proper noun. It looks illiterate.
> >
> > That's a typographical convention, not grammar.
> >
>
>
> Thank you all!
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
> <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:45:57 -0700
> From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <CAN3Yy4DxmK2DkTPk5cOrbTzdeCbL2cMKO2rffP347gP_Za9V=
> Q -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> "ALL CAPITALS. AVOID THEM. THEY IMPAIR READABILITY BECAUSE THE EYE
> CANNOT EASILY DISTINGUISH AMON CHARACTERS THAT ARE ALL OF A UNIFORM
> SIZE."?Garner
>
> On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:
> > BTW, what are your thoughts about all UPPERCASE text? I don't believe
> there
> > are issues doing it that way.
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 7
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:47:08 -0400
> From: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- cytomedix -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID: <8901B28DA1280746950418EBF7D345025721F320E2 -at- cyto-file>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> I get enough shouting at home as it is. I don't need my technical
> documents to shout at me in uppercase, too.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shawn
> Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:43 PM
> To: Robert Lauriston
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
>
> There are plenty of examples of using an 'all lowercase' style. Examples
> include Vitamin water labels, McDonald's uses this format often in their
> slogans, E. E. Cummings pretty much pioneered this format, and more.
>
> It is considered a stylistic choice that conveys a hipster-like feel. I
> can hear the groans! LOL
>
> When I began using this style (only in the chapter splash pages), I really
> liked the look but on Chapter 12, I am suddenly bothered by the notion of
> using this style on proper nouns and names (despite the aforementioned
> examples). I was seeking confirmation that it is really no big deal. Either
> you are all a bunch of stogy old fuddy duds or this is really a big deal. I
> kidd! :)
>
> I think I'll drop this fancy hipster thing, use proper case, and get back
> to work. :)
>
> Fortunately, the text is transformed using CSS so it is a simple matter of
> changing the property, "text-transform:lowercase;"
>
> BTW, what are your thoughts about all UPPERCASE text? I don't believe
> there are issues doing it that way.
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 8
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:08:45 -0700
> From: Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <
> CALb0BCV6BaTPMUxutBrb_YnV4J7nVwGYq+suTu6TOzn932LgCQ -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> I decided to go conventional and display proper capitalization.
>
> Thanks again to all of you. Your opinions were appreciated.
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > Good day all,
> >
> > This seems like a noob question but I have honestly never faced this
> > 'dilemma' until now.
> >
> > I am using a intro splash where I include bulleted highlights of the
> > chapter's content. The text style is entirely lower case. This looked
> great
> > until I arrived at a chapter where the bulleted text includes proper
> nouns
> > and names.
> >
> > Is it acceptable to maintain consistency of style, while breaking English
> > grammar rules?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > --
> > *Shawn Connelly*
> > Technical writer
> > <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
> >
>
>
>
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
> shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com
> <http://www.cohodata.com> <https://twitter.com/cohodata>
>
> 1490 W Broadway, Suite 200, Vancouver, BC, V6H 1H5
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 9
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:09:46 -0700
> From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
> To: Shawn C <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com"
> <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Robert Lauriston <
> robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
> <1406668186 -dot- 10825 -dot- YahooMailBasic -at- web125803 -dot- mail -dot- ne1 -dot- yahoo -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
>
> When style is considered more important than other things, that's show
> business.
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Tue, 7/29/14, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com> wrote:
>
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> To: "Shawn C" <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <
> techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 2:01 PM
>
> I can't think of any
> context where it would be OK not to capitalize a
> proper noun. It looks illiterate.
>
> That's a typographical
> convention, not grammar.
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Read about how Georgia System Operation
> Corporation improved teamwork, communication, and efficiency
> using Doc-To-Help | http://bit.ly/1lRPd2l
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>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 10
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:30:47 -0400
> From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID: <op -dot- xjsg9librns8nc -at- localhost -dot- localdomain>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed; delsp=yes
>
> Some legal documents require UPPER CASE TEXT for legal emphasis. "If we
> put it in all caps they cannot claim they didn't see it amongst the fine
> print."
>
> On Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:47:08 -0400, Dan Goldstein
> <DGoldstein -at- cytomedix -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > I get enough shouting at home as it is. I don't need my technical
> > documents to shout at me in uppercase, too.
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Shawn
> > Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:43 PM
> > To: Robert Lauriston
> > Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
> >
> > There are plenty of examples of using an 'all lowercase' style. Examples
> > include Vitamin water labels, McDonald's uses this format often in their
> > slogans, E. E. Cummings pretty much pioneered this format, and more.
> >
> > It is considered a stylistic choice that conveys a hipster-like feel. I
> > can hear the groans! LOL
> >
> > When I began using this style (only in the chapter splash pages), I
> > really liked the look but on Chapter 12, I am suddenly bothered by the
> > notion of using this style on proper nouns and names (despite the
> > aforementioned examples). I was seeking confirmation that it is really
> > no big deal. Either you are all a bunch of stogy old fuddy duds or this
> > is really a big deal. I kidd! :)
> >
> > I think I'll drop this fancy hipster thing, use proper case, and get
> > back to work. :)
> >
> > Fortunately, the text is transformed using CSS so it is a simple matter
> > of changing the property, "text-transform:lowercase;"
> >
> > BTW, what are your thoughts about all UPPERCASE text? I don't believe
> > there are issues doing it that way.
> >
> >
> >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > Read about how Georgia System Operation Corporation improved teamwork,
> > communication, and efficiency using Doc-To-Help | http://bit.ly/1lRPd2l
> >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as neilson -at- windstream -dot- net -dot-
> >
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> > http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and
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> > Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our
> > online magazine at http://techwhirl.com
> >
> > Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public
> > email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 11
> Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:40:18 -0400
> From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
> To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>,
> "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Can style trump grammar rules?
> Message-ID:
>
> <D1E2C829C5011E4A84DAF8A184DD7CDA039BF5C9A5 -at- BEL1EXCH02 -dot- amer -dot- sfnt -dot- local>
>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> I dunno.... I instantly picked up on the missing "G" :-)
>
> Again, I don't see a problem if it's just in headings, if somebody wants
> that style.
> Not in body text. That would be painful.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Lauriston
> Sent: July-29-14 2:46 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
>
> "ALL CAPITALS. AVOID THEM. THEY IMPAIR READABILITY BECAUSE THE EYE CANNOT
> EASILY DISTINGUISH AMON CHARACTERS THAT ARE ALL OF A UNIFORM SIZE."?Garner
>
> On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:
> > BTW, what are your thoughts about all UPPERCASE text? I don't believe
> > there are issues doing it that way.
>
>
>
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