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.
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
However, neither solution addresses two questions the writer should be
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
John -dot- Renish -at- conner -dot- com
My statements are my own and do not represent Conner Peripherals, Inc.