Re: Grammar Question: Ensure or Make

Subject: Re: Grammar Question: Ensure or Make
From: "David S. Broudy" <broudy -at- BCF -dot- USC -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 16:35:47 -0800

At 12:01 AM 10/27/95, Automatic digest processor wrote:
>From: Howard <howardg -at- SAVVY -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Grammar Question: Ensure or Make

>1) MAKE SURE wins, for Win or any other use except legal-speak. Clarity
>counts above all else. Some may think ensure is a drink for the aged.
>Basically, it's a $5 word for a 2-cent thought.


>2)Yous ask, "Also, is there such a thing as a writing style that must be
>used whenever Windows PC software products are being documented?" Common
>sense. Read Strunk and White's _Elements of Style_. It applies to all
>writing -- especially our confounded field.

I notice a definite difference in style and tone between docs from Apple
and docs from most other computer/software firms. Apple docs tend to be a
bit too "cute" and I've seen some pretty insanely convoluted sentences in
them. Apple docs also tend to repeat the very very obvious and in my
opinion can be faintly condescending at times. The first manual I ever
wrote was for a Mac product and I was told to emulate the cutesy Apple
corporate style as closely as possible right down to the typeface. Ugh. I
did it, but I wasn't happy about it.

From Apple's Color LaserWriter 12/600 PS manual (it's all I have handy
right now):

(heading p.45) "Installing the software the printer administrator needs"

Excuse me?

Don't misunderstand me; I love my Mac and I'm even getting a new one
tomorrow (woohoo!), but Apple manuals in the past have been quite light on
content. This laser printer manual indicates they're getting better,
though. It's quite good.

But they still refer to Windows-based computers as "IBM PCs and
compatibles." Duh, the IBM PC has been out of production for about a

* *
* freelance web geek n tech writer *
* "But cha are, Blanche, ya are!" --Baby Jane *

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