Definately and English teachers...

Subject: Definately and English teachers...
From: Karyl Severson <karyl -at- PLAZA -dot- DS -dot- ADP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 15:12:33 -0700

Dear List Subscribers -

Here's a chance for me to stick my foot in it, delurking with flair, I
call it.

Frankly, I spend a good portion of the terms when I teach technical
writing to engineers trying to undo the damage done by 12+ years of
poorly taught English. Elements that contribute to poor technical
writing, such as overuse of the passive voice, inability to address
the reader as "you", and the tendency to use affected language --
these are things I was "taught" in school. Thank goodness for
technical writing and creative writing for helping me learn how to

Yes, I'm lucky enough to be one of the intuitive good spellers, and
I can diagram a sentence too. But I'm damned if grammar and spelling
are the fundamentals of good communication. They are the icing on
the cake, and I hope I will always be suspicious of sugar coating.
We "word people" must train ourselves to be open to the message baked
inside the cake.

Yours truly,


Karyl Severson
Technical Writer, Product Development
ADP Dealer Services, Portland, OR, USA
* Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. *
* Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. *
* Groucho Marx *

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