TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: All this hand wringing From:Valerie Archambeau <varchamb -at- MIDWAY -dot- UCHICAGO -dot- EDU> Date:Fri, 29 Jul 1994 11:56:26 -0600
I'm not sure exactly were I stand on "-hand" writing. But before this gets
out of hand, I thought I'd better speak up. Since I don't have any of my
style manuals handy, this will all be my random speculations and opinions.
On one hand, "right-hand" and "left-hand" provide a visual anchor; a point
of reference, if you will. I think think that, hands down, it is a
"warmer" phrase than "right corner". And since many of us seek to create
friendlier documentation by using a more casual syle (for instance, "you"
and not "the user"), I believe "right-hand" helps to lend a hand in this
On the other hand, the desire for precision in our writing (not necessarily
exemplified in *this* message) would demand that we cut our right-hand off
(if it offends us).
So I suppose that the proper use of -hand(s) is contextual depending upon
your audience and subject matter (or if it's the first date).
And that is my -hand stand.
Just my $0.2 while I have some time on my hands. =^)
varchamb -at- midway -dot- uchicago -dot- edu
P.S.: My apologies for this post. I got little sleep last night, having
spent serveral hours in ER--my husband had a deep cut on his left-hand.
>> Why is it incorrect to say "lower right-hand corner"?
>I don't use the "-hand" part because it is my impression (or perhaps "guess"
>instead of "impression") that "right-hand" and "left-hand" are
>language-specific idiom. I wouldn't expect people who speak English as a
>second language (part of my audience) to be familiar with the expression.
>Or, I would at least expect that "lower right" might seem more natural to them.
>Also, the "-hand" doesn't add anything ... why use it?