Re: Role of technical Writers

Subject: Re: Role of technical Writers
From: eilrh -at- EXCHANGE -dot- WCC -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 1996 16:26:00 -0400

>Is our primary allegiance as technical writers to be true to the
>language or to the user? Is it more important to uphold the integrity
>of the language in our communications or to do whatever it takes to most
>clearly communicate the facts? (I'm assuming there are times when it
>isn't possible to do both).

I'd say it isn't possible to do one and not the other.

You're assuming that there is some sort of governing body for the
language. There is not (unless you count the general milleau or the
zeitgeist). If your meaning is clear and unambiguous, your language is
grammatically correct.

The rules of usage (the valid ones, anyway--not the stupid Latin-derived
ones) are simply guidelines for clear and effective communication. If
they get in the way of it, they're bad rules and you're allowed to toss
them. Make sure you think it through first to ensure that the "rule"
you're tossing doesn't serve a real purpose, but once you're sure of
that, have no mercy.

Lisa Higgins
eilrh -at- ei -dot- lucent -dot- com

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