Re: Redundancy & obscurity patrol -Reply

Subject: Re: Redundancy & obscurity patrol -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 08:52:55 -0800

At 1:31 PM 1/12/96, Cathy Quinones wrote:

>. . .would anyone be interested in sharing tricks that
>help keep one's writing streamlined, clean and honest?

One favorite is the phrase "need to." I once had a professor who
liked to say you don't need to do anything in this world except die,
but listening to people talk today I think nobody knows that.
Frequently, I find that the faint-hearted use "need to" when "should"
(pace Susan Gallagher) or "ought" or "must" is tighter. A person may
be able to pass it off in conversation, but in the precise confines
of technical writing I think its use is always worth a second look.
"Need to," in my opinion, is informal, and ok in its place, but there
are times when I prefer the formal, or else I would do away with the
entire concept. You write: Choose Cut from the Edit menu. You do
not write: You need to choose Cut from the Edit menu.

Bill Sullivan
bsullivan -at- deltecpower -dot- com
San Diego, California

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