Re: Contractions in User Guides

Subject: Re: Contractions in User Guides
From: Kim Fawcett <kfawcett -at- DY4 -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 16:12:00 DST

Yes, we do use contractions in my company's documentation. Or rather,
we use them in *some* of our documentation -- our getting started
guides. There's no rule against using contractions in our reference
manuals (none that I know of anyway <grin>), but we don't make the
same effort to include them.

The reason we try to use contractions in our getting started guides is
that we're aiming for a less formal, friendlier tone in those books.
We're trying to avoid intimidating new users, because our products
are very complex. A conversational style seems to work.

I hope that helps. I haven't heard of any research on this topic, but
I'd be interested in anything you find out.


- Kim Fawcett
(kfawcett -at- dy4 -dot- com)
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
Subject: Contractions in User Guides
Date: Monday, December 11, 1995 6:01PM

I noticed that quite a few manuals contain contractions these days, and
wondered how widespread their use is. I don't mind them, but I was taught
to write out the words instead. Do you use contractions? If so, why? If
not, why not? (Has any research been done on this topic?)

Karen Mayer

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