Re: Basic rules of technical writing

Subject: Re: Basic rules of technical writing
From: "Robert E. Allen" <re_allen -at- PNL -dot- GOV>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 1994 15:37:47 GMT

A couple of basic rules I've come across:

1. Writers must rely more on the feel of a sentence than on the
dictates of a rule book. (James J. Kirkpatrick, The Writers Art)

2. It is more important to be nearly right and understandable than
to be academically accurate and unintelligible. (unattributed)

The first rule says that absolute adherance to the rules of grammer
is not the guiding directive of the universe. It also seems to accept
the evolution of the language.

The second rule was well illustrated by Richard Mateosian in his
post, "Technical Correctness."

I have been known to ignore some of the rules of grammer when they
interfered with communication. This is a rare thing since the rules
(or is "conventions" a better term) of grammer define the relationship
of the words in the sentence and give a mutually agreed on meaning
to the sentence. Most of my deviations from the high school grammer
book fall in the "style" category; I routinely ignore the dictate "A preposition
is a bad word to end a sentence with." ;-)


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