Re: forbidden to apostrophize

Subject: Re: forbidden to apostrophize
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 13:42:18 -0400

>>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.

>Please send us your editor's (sorry, editors) email address - I'd (...erm,
>I would) like to shout at him for several hours, and perhaps hit him a bit
>as well.

I've been reading and writing technical material for a very long time.
While I have seen several guidelines forbidding contractions (especially
for material which will be translated into non-european languages) I have
never, EVER, seen a wholesale prohibition of apostrophes.

It just doesn't make sense, unless you are dealing with braindead
typesetting equipment that doesn't HAVE apostrophes. The work-arounds to
eliminate possessives, for example, will add an obscene amount of time to
the production cycle of a standard-length manual. The language will become
convoluted and muddy, and the page count will mushroom, increasing paper
and binding costs. The whole thing will be less readable, less
usable---and your hot-line/support staff will get many more irate calls
from folks who get lost in the "the glangthing belonging to the framus"

chew, and
spit your editor into a deep pit.

May him/her/it be reincarnated as a hair-ball.

<gee, that was fun!>

@Kat ___________________________________ katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting Services, Rochester, NY
Technical writing / Editing / Document design

"She has very definite opinions on grammar, but enjoys
debating them with me before insisting on doing it her
way, rather like a cat toying with a mouse."
______T. Mauro, COPYEDITING-L (7/16/96)

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