Subject: Contractions
From: "Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 15:52:29 EDT

I like contractions. In fact, when someone cites a "rule" that
says I can't use them in technical writing, I say, "Don't tell
me what I can't do!"

Or should that be "Do not tell me what I cannot do"?

Rose Wilcox quoted a vastly underrated book, *Handbook of Technical
Writing*: "Contractions. . . should be used discriminatingly in
reports, formal letters, and most technical writing." My point is,
we're big boys and girls, and I think we can be trusted to write with
discrimination. We don't need no stinkin' rules that say we can't.*

From a translatability standpoint, what on earth is "non-standard"
about contractions? They're in every dictionary I know of. I can't
imagine a competent translator who doesn't know (or can't easily find)
the meanings of contractions.

The contraction is a wonderfully useful writing tool. If you want
to take it away, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Larry Kunz
STC Assistant to the President for Professional Development
ldkunz -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

* Humor-impaired readers may insert a '<g>' here.

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