Re: forbidden to apostrophize

Subject: Re: forbidden to apostrophize
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 05:27:20 -0800

On Tue, 16 Jul 1996 14:23:32 +0200, Michal Lastman wrote:

>My editor wants me to remove every apostrophe from my manual. This means
>replacing not only all contractions (something I could deal with) but also
>recasting any sentence that uses an apostrophe to form the possessive.

Yuck! I'm tempted to ask if these are military manuals?!

>This involves a lot of work and will most likely make many sentences longer
>and unnecessarily complex.

No kidding!

>I'd like to be able to convince my boss that this change is unnecessary but
>the editor has convinced her that technical writing standards forbid
>apostrophes. Is this true?

Umm, "technical writing standards"? There is no such beast. If this
is the editor's only reason, I would demand proof of such a "standard".

>I learned the exact opposite in the technical
>writing course I took. And I haven't pulled a manual off the shelf today
>that didn't contain both contractions and possessives formed with
>apostrophes. Any advice?

An old adage I learned in an audio-engineering course, but which
applies to many situations, is that there are no rules, only
guidelines. Okay, so there are SOME rules when it comes to writing :)

Probably the first thing I would do is hit your boss in the budget
sheet. Give a rough estimate of how much of your *valuable* time these
changes will take.

Second, and as previously noted, I would insist on proof (in stone if
possible) of the existence of this so-called "technical writing
standard," or at least a written "rule" *anywhere* that says technical
documents absolutely may not contain apostrophes.

Does this editor just not like you and is trying to make your life
difficult, or is he/she really this obtuse? If it's just personal
opinion/preference on the editor's part, your case may be more
difficult, but if this "standard" is the only reason the editor can
come up with, it should be fairly easy to shoot down.

Your friend and mine,
Q: Why don't blind people skydive?
A: It scares the heck out of their dogs.

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Next Level
Productions, or anyone else of sound mind from this planet or dimension!

TECHWR-L List Information
To send a message about technical communication to 2500+ list readers,
E-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send administrative commands
ALL other questions or problems concerning the list
should go to the listowner, Eric Ray, at ejray -at- ionet -dot- net -dot-

Previous by Author: Re: worsrt(sic) documentation
Next by Author: Space cadets, all.
Previous by Thread: Re: forbidden to apostrophize
Next by Thread: Re: forbidden to apostrophize

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads