Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?

Subject: Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 15:24:51 -0700

Gail Hodgson writes...

> WARNING: Rant follows ...

> As technical communicators, we have a responsibility to our readers to give
> them text that is as clean and correct as possible. Poorly written manuals
> *do* teach people bad writing habits. (Just look at the number of people who
> now write "It this then that" because they've seen it in manuals that were
> written by programmers!)

> One of my pet peeves is new words invented by sticking an "able" or
> "ability" on the end of perfectly good words. Last week, our Marketing
> department wanted to use "low costability" or "cheapability" to describe
> one of our new products. :-(

> We need to draw the line before feet become "sockable" and "shoeable";
> socks and underwear become "drawerable" or "dresserable"; money and
> credit cards become "walletable"; and the ornaments on the top of your
> TV become "TVontopable".

> ... rant ends.


Rant at will. And sit there, still, while the language
evolves around (and without) you. Although "cheapability"
will probably never make it as a new word, "cacheable"
probably will. And I suppose you'd have similar feelings
toward "instanceable" -- the ability of an object-oriented
class to have instances of itself created. Oh, well. ;-)

My job is to communicate with my audience as best I can.
If there is a single word that my audience understands
and that will do the job of communicating what I have
to say, why must I use 10 words to do the job???

The dictionary of 1890 certainly did not contain a lot
of words that are commonplace in dictionaries of today --
and the dictionary of 2050 will certainly contain more
different words. It is not my job (nor, I venture to say,
yours) to hold back evolution (whether you view it as
progress or not is a whole different story). You may, if
you wish, attempt to stem the flow. You won't stop it.
And you'll become very tired and frustrated trying.

So, if you want to sit there with your finger in the
dike, go right ahead. Just don't expect me to stand
and watch you. I'll be at the other end with my
sledge hammer. ;-)

Sue Gallagher
StarBase Corp, Irvine CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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