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The way to win the argument is to ask your boss 'What if there were two
of these connectors?'
What would he do with 7 pin connectors? And if it works for two, why
On 20 February 2017 at 20:18 Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
Here's a quickie.
I work for a manufacturer of a China-based, heavy construction
equipment. Now that's, REAL hardware.
Most of our source material is English-language stuff is right from
the company's offices in mainland China, where their
English-language skills are fair at best. The remainder of our
source material is what we here write IF we are lucky enough to have
the machine here on our premises for photos and inspection.
My American manager is a nice guy (about age 60, and I'm seven years
older) but he is not a true tech writer. He is an ex-Marine who had
written the technical stuff for a heavy equipment dealer where he
was employed for some years, and very proud of it. And he certainly
knows his stuff from a technical side of things. Absolutely. Many
times, he'll forward a Word document for me to format (we use
FrameMaker 11.0) that he has written and I'll usually find little
stuff to fix, but then he'll quibble with me about it. I usually
give in because he's the boss.
In today's document from him is the phrase "7 pin connector". My fix
was to simply add a hyphen to make it "7-pin connector". But he
objected and I VERY diplomatically told him that in our industry, it
is common to take mechanics and other factory workers with oodles of
line experience and throw them in front of a keyboard to write the
manuals, thus the rough grammar, etc. And blindly copying what
somebody else wrote means replicating their errors (if any). He
agrees but says that he has NEVER seen various things that I show
him in any other tech manuals by other companies in this industry.
So what is the official rule for the use of hyphenated modifiers.
Like I said, this is VERY minor but good writing is supposed to be
correct in punctuation as well as word usage, etc. And this isn't
even a tech writing rule, but a punctuation rule that should apply
So if anyone has a website (ESPECIALLY a heavy construction
equipment website) that shows correct usage, or a website that
states the correct punctuation rules, I'd be much obliged.
Hopefully, I'll be able to reference it for future "things."
-- Ken in Atlanta
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