Making it readable from the start

Subject: Making it readable from the start
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 09:32:15 PST

> when I ask someone to review
> what I've written, making sure that it is correct and complete, they point
> out comma problems and other useless drivel.

Why don't we stop complaining about this kind of thing and acknowledge
that mistakes of grammer and punctuation aren't just "useless"
--they're counterproductive. They get in people's way. If you hadn't
put them there, people wouldn't be distracted by them.

I make my drafts as clean as I can make them from the start -- not so
the editors of some grammar text can pat me on the head, but because
when I stumble on some English glitch as I re-read the text, I'm thrown
off track, and I lose the thread of the content. I prefer to stay

Of course, my drafts are *drafts*, but the wording is pretty much the
best I can make it for the information I have, and therefore (since I
still need advice from actual readers on how well my grammar,
punctuation, etc. is working) any advice I get in that area is welcome;
it will make the next draft more readable than I could have made it if
I had said "don't bother me with that kind of stuff yet-- why can't you
just look at the content?"

Now, wait -- I'm not suggesting that *you* work this way. Do what you
want, and don't bother flaming me for being a slave to convention.
Leave all of those glitches in until the last minute and then take them
out in one fell swoop -- and maybe you can toss out some text
uncorrected because it's become outdated, so you'll be ahead of the
game there. Fine. I'm just saying that maximizing readability early
on works for me, and that I think it's silly to blame readers for being
distracted by what *I* put in front of them.

Arthur Comings

Corte Madera, California
atc -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com

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