Tech Writing Stuff

Subject: Tech Writing Stuff
From: Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 1995 13:37:12 -0700

I'm late. I fell behind. I'm catching up.

From Jackie Campana:

> I know that contractions shouldn't be used in tech writing,
> but I can't find where it says this.

I quote from Jan Venolia's "Write Right!"

Most contractions are inappropriate in formal
writing, but you should use them to avoid a
stilted sentence or to create a friendly tone.

From Romay Sitze:

> I was always taught to use "whose" when refering to people
> only. "Which" or "that" are more appropriate when referring
> to "things".

I quote from Harry Shaw's "Dictionary of Problem Words and
Expressions."

Some grammarians formerly insisted that "whose" should
be applied only to persons: "The car the body of which
needed paint" rather than "The car whose body needed
paint." Both common sense and the fact that "which"
has no possessive form of its own have succeeded in
discarding this "rule." Therefore, continue to sing
about the flag "Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
through the perilous fight,/O'er the ramparts we
watched were so gallantly streaming."

From Laurie Rubin:

> Do most of you downstyle headings in your technical material? I
> write computer manuals and quick ref guides, and we have always
> adhered to Traditional Methods of Up and Down Styling for the
> Headings. However, I read some compelling arguments (reading
> ease) for instead

> Doing headings just like this

> and to hell with conventions bred long ago in publishing.

Our many DOD standards require "Doing headings just like this." That
bothered me for a while, but now I'm accustomed to it.

lfc (Doesn't the man have an original idea?)


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