Grammar & reviews

Subject: Grammar & reviews
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 1995 10:26:25 -0800

I've been skipping over the postings in this area, but a snivet here, a
snivet there, and pretty soon I was hooked.

Does anyone believe that grammar and style are last-minute add-ons, like the
documentation for some notorious software products?

We can all benefit from careful editing. Most of us are not perfect. But
don't you write grammatically as a matter of course, even in your drafts?
Have you so little pride in your work that you'd circulate something
sloppily written for review? What would you think of a software engineer who
gave you code that wouldn't compile and had obviously never been tested?

If you've adopted a style of writing in the active voice and addressing the
reader in the second person, don't you just do that as you go along? Do you
circulate drafts that you've written in a passive impersonal style and
rewrite them later? Do you expect an editor to do it for you? Are you going
to supply the missing actors after the technical review? How will you know
you've got that part right if you don't submit it for review?

You can only get the reviewers' careful attention a finite (you hope,
non-zero) number of times. The better the material you give them to look at,
the more likely they are to take it seriously. ...RM

Richard Mateosian Technical Writer in Berkeley CA srm -at- c2 -dot- org

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