Re: Boring discussion

Subject: Re: Boring discussion
From: Andrew Woodhouse <awoodhou -at- MPC-UK -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 10:00:18 GMT

Marie Clear <Mclear3000 -at- aol -dot- com> writes:

> >Please do not be offended by this
> >statement, but I myslef do find disscussions of grammar and acronym
> >capitalization somewhat less than rapturous. More, I have not recieved the
> >epiffany experience I had perhaps unrealistically hoped for telling me
> >that TW was going to be my lifes work and something that I MUST do.

> Well, I'm certainly not offended, and I must admit, I've gotten into
> heated debates on how to handle ellipsis at the end of a sentence.
> (For those of you who want to debate that, drop me a line.)

> Now not to offend you, but what in God's name are you doing
> in tech writing if points of grammar and usage bore you? There's
> nothing wrong with doing a job that you aren't giddy over,
> but you should be on the look-out for something you like
> a bit better. I think you'll be more satisfied and be more
> successful, since it's easier to be better at something you
> enjoy.

Sorry to sound so aggressive but I feel some people on this list are twisting
the role of the TW a little.

Heated debates over "Points of grammar and usage" have absolutely no relevance
to a Tech. Writer. That belongs in the domain of linguistics and literature, who
have both the academic background and - more importantly - the time to devote to
its study. I have a love of language and its usage, which I indulge when I
closely analyse a Thomas Wyatt poem in my Eng.Lit. degree course and when I
write an essay, critical article or short story. If you have delusions of being
a creative writer, where every word becomes a significant thread in a web over
the abyss of non-meaning, may I suggest it's *you* who is in the wrong job!

We write manuals and, perhaps, specs. We're paid to understand the technologies
we're documenting and then make others understand them. Arguing over such
trivialities as whether to use "you" or the imperative, which is fine in a US
manual, in the UK, is ludicrious, particularly that you spell colour and lots of
other words incorrectly :-)

We should certainly be able to use our tool (language) effectively but not get
bogged down in detail.

Please don't confuse being a Tech. Writer and *using* language with the
crises/deliberate forgrounding/semantic 'free-play' of langauge of The Writer
(ecrivant). There's a world of difference!

I'm donning my flame-proof jacket, so fire away...

Andrew Woodhouse

------------ Technical Writer ------------
email (work) : andrew -dot- woodhouse -at- isysg -dot- com
email (home) : awoodho -at- ibm -dot- net
Nothing in this message represents the
views or opinions of U S WEST ISG.

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