TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
I tried to send this last Saturday. It didn't seem to go, so I'll try
again. Why not? It's a semi-serious question.
Sentences like the following abound in DOD software documents:
"These plans shall be recorded in Software Installation Plan(s)
I call this a conditional plural. (Well, I have to call it
something.) I've never seen any mention, comment, or complaint about
this construction, so I might be the only person in the world who
doesn't like it. This contrivance is awkward and impossible to use
consistently throughout a document. Logically, it should read as
"These plans shall be recorded in a() Software Installation Plan(s)
This, of course, is laughable. Any opinion(s)(.)(?)(!)
lfc (Just hanging around on a beautiful Saturday morning waiting for
his *S*M*E* when he should be on a mountain.)