Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"

Subject: Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know"
From: Sarah Lee Bihlmayer <sarahlee -at- CONTENTMANAGE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 1996 13:53:21 -0700

Tori writes:

> My problem is this: yesterday, I pointed out to a co-worker that I
> thought the sentence structure he was using in a particular procedure
> was incorrect.
<snip>
> He said, "we ain't writing
> literature, you know." He said that he had given the matter a great
> deal of thought and decided that this was the best way to handle the
> situation. He said that if he wrote,

> Pound the nail into the wall with a hammer.

> someone might use their head to pound the nail with rather than read
> to the end of the sentence. Instead, he prefers to write:

> Using a hammer, pound the nail into the wall.
> or
> Using columnar spacers, place the ....

To me, this construction is somewhat unwieldy. If it's important to
emphasize the use of the hammer, I think there's a cleaner way to express
that. Here's a solution that both of you might be satisfied with:

Use a hammer to pound the nail into the wall.

Your coworker _really_ doesn't trust the audience to have a bit of common
sense if he truly believes they'd use their heads instead of a hammer--but
might as well try to compromise for the sake of harmony.

Hope this helps.


Sarah


|Sarah Lee Bihlmayer * Intranet Documentation Specialist |
|Site Development * Content Creation * Content Management|
| Technical Writing * Developmental Editing * Indexing |
| 415-207-4046 * sarahlee -at- contentmanage -dot- com |

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