Re: Role of technical Writers

Subject: Re: Role of technical Writers
From: Barbara Miller <millercm -at- MILLER-COMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 11:37:29 -0600

Arlen's response to Chris:

> 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).

>The last point is where we might disagree, Chris. I think it's always
>possible to communicate clearly by using the language properly; in fact, I
>think it's usually *easier* than not using it properly.

The problem arises when the client isn't aware of the nuances of the
language and, frankly, doesn't care. Recently, a client changed "because"
back to "since" because it sounded more conversational even tho because was
the more correct word. I've also had disagreements with clients on the use
of a colon to introduce a list. According to Chicago, it is not needed if
the list could be read as a sentence with serial elements; e.g., I plan to
go to the

* store
* postoffice
* cleaners.

The client thought the document looked inconsistent when some lists used
colons and some didn't. (I compromised by introducing EVERY list thusly: "I
plan to do the following:"

>The purpose of language is communication. If it doesn't communicate
>properly, it isn't correct language.

Agreed, but sometimes we need to compromise to meet the audience's
expectations (or lack there of).

------------------------------------------------
Barbara J. Miller
BJMillerCommunications
millercm -at- Miller-Comm -dot- com
http://www.Miller-Comm.com/~millercm/
------------------------------------------------

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