Grammar and rhetoric, is that all there is to it?

Subject: Grammar and rhetoric, is that all there is to it?
From: JohnBrin <johnbrin -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 1994 16:42:01 -0400

I'm a recent participant in techwr-l and a long-time (45+ years)
technical communicator. My son, Dan, has been on techwr-l for a few

I'm concerned that so many of the messages on techwr-l are about
grammar and rhetoric. Isn't there more to technical communication
that that?

Consider what our objective as technical communicators really is. Is
it to present technical info as wonderfully written prose or is it to
enhance the on-the-job performance of our clients? It seems to me
that superior use of grammar and rhetoric is only an aid to promote
on-the-job performance, and not the most important part of our

I'd like to see more postings on topics such as these:

-Does it make sense any more to deliver training and documentation
separately and to have them developed by different people?

-Should support for user performance be delivered as an event or a
series of events, or should it be made available continuously, when
and where it is needed? For example, as online electronic
performance support systems, integrated with the products so well
that users don't even notice they are there.

-How can technical communicators learn to study their users' world of
work so that they can deliver what the users actually need, instead
of what they and the users imagine they need?

Should I sense interest in such topics, I'll be glad to promote their

John Brinegar
Phoenix, AZ, U. S. A.

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