Re: New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)

Subject: Re: New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)
From: John Renish <John -dot- Renish -at- CONNER -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 08:27:14 PDT

Fact: I have had over 20 years' experience with DoD writing.
Opinion: Nearly all of it is laughable.

Some writers include in the front matter a statement that the plural
includes the singular wherever used. Another solution is to write something
like: "These plans shall be recorded in one or more Software Installation
Plans (SIPs)."

However, neither solution addresses two questions the writer should be
answering.
1. What are the criteria for using more than one plan? Addressing the
criteria obviates the need to deal with the singular-vs.-plural issue.
2. Who does the recording? The passive voice construction might be
appropriate when the recording is the issue, but the word "shall" implies
somebody will hang if he or she fails to do it. Taking 1. into consideration,
better something like: "The Lead Software Engineer shall record these plans
in one or more Software Installation Plans (SIPs), following the criteria
outlined in section 3.4.3 earlier in this document." or even "The Lead
Software Engineer shall record these plans in Software Installation Plans
(SIPs) (section 3.4.3).

Bottom line, write standard English with as much economy as the topic
permits. I have actually done this on DoD projects and had no problem
getting them blessed--hey! this could work for non-DoD projects. What a
concept!

John -dot- Renish -at- conner -dot- com
My statements are my own and do not represent Conner Peripherals, Inc.
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