Re: Wordiness and Complete Sentences (#459819)

Subject: Re: Wordiness and Complete Sentences (#459819)
From: Bill Burns <wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 13:42:10 MDT

20-JUN-1996 12:23:57.62

>The target audience: system administrators, and maybe some programmers.

>In giving the programmer's the benefit of the doubt I consulted my
>resident linguist, who presented me with a compelling argument to take
>the programmers' advice. His two most intriguing points:

> * "you're dealing with people who are both impatient and informed"

> * "a complete sentence is one that, in context, completes a thought"

>"Impatient an informed" struck a serious chord with me, because that
>immediately identified all of the programmer's I work with. They don't
>want to read; they want bulleted lists and tables, and they get testy
>when the information they want is burried in a ... complete sentence.

It also depends upon the learning styles of those involved. People who have a
lot of experience in a subject area tend to be more wholistic in their learning
styles than people who have less experience. They need less information to
understand the information because the context is already very clear to them.
Serialistic learners, on the other hand, need to have more contextual clues and
have less of an ability to understand the knowledge unless it's presented in its

If you were writing for a broader audience, I'd suggest designing your
documentation for both types of learners. Since you are addressing an audience
of wholistic learners, I'd take the advice of your resident linguist. (It falls
in line with one of J. Paul Grice's conversational implicatures--provide only
information that is relevant and necessary.)

Bill Burns
Assembly Training and Documentation Supervisor

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