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> >> Does anyone else out there have a problem with saying
> "...on the left hand side of...." (or right hand side; no matter)?
> Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I have to write to an audience
> with widely divergent reading skills. My first basic rule is to eliminate as
> many high-register terms from my vocabulary (mostly Latin and French
> derivatives) as I can. My second rule is to retain familiar orientation cues
> such as "right-hand side." When I refer operators to the keypad on the
> left-hand side, they can relate to body position rather than machine
> orientation. As long as the phrases are not slang or jargon, I don't see any
> harm in using them. The user's familiarity of the language can help us get
> the meaning across.
> These rules of mine desn't work in all instances, and they aren't
> appropriate for all audiences. (I certainly don't depend on them when I write
> literary criticism.) Sometimes, however, technical writing is not about
> brevity but about clarity, and brief isn't always clear.
> This discussion reminds me of when I used to play music gigs around the
> Northwest. When we would set up the light show, the lighting director would
> always tell us to put such and such on the left side of the stage. He always
> meant STAGE left, of course. He finally got so sick of people placing his
> stage-left lighting equipment on stage right that he started referring only to
> stage left or stage right.
> Bill Burns *
> Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * "Purgamentum init,
> Micron Technology, Inc. * exit purgamentum."
> Boise, ID *
> WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Henricus Barbatus