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.
Here at Glaxo we have a bust of Sir Paul Girolami in the lobby of
our building. Sir Paul is chairman of the board of directors for
Glaxo plc. in the UK. Glaxo plc. is the holding company of
Glaxo Inc. Research Institute. Glaxo is the world's second largest
pharmaceutical company and one with an outstanding reputation
Underneath Sir Paul's eternally rigid visage is a bronze plaque.
On this plaque we read a brief summary of the wonderful deeds
accredited to Sir Paul. In this text there is one grammatical
error: "which" is used inplace of "that"; and one misspelling:
"thru" in place of "through".
This use of "thru" is an abomination. Certainly our language is
a living one and inexorably changes. One would hope, however,
that the British would be more vigilant guardians of traditional
usage and spelling. I feel betrayed that people from the
mother country of our language would be so lax with
the English language, displaying commonplace errors in such a
Style guides be damned. If they call for "thru" then they are
wrong. Change the style guides. We're professional writers and
part of our jobs is defending the language. Sloppy spelling and
usage leads to a decline in the quality of communication. Our
job is to fight ambiguity in language, or wield ambiguity with
great deliberateness and discipline.
And that's all I have to say...for now.
-Mike (mu17692 -at- glaxo -dot- com)
Glaxo Inc. Research Institute
Research Triangle Park, NC