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Thanks for all the quick responses! It seems like there's a lot more
leeway on this particular grammatical issue--particularly when, as one
person suggested, it involves buzzwords that the reader may be searching
for. Which, incidently, I was sort of hoping to hear.
Beyond the scope of my original questions, you all have helped me think
through some very important issues, not the least of which was the
hidden agenda of my own ego, which didn't like being dismissed as a
no-account know-nothing! What I see now is that I need to find a way to
sit down with this programmer, acknowledge the fact that just because
he's arrogant doesn't mean he's not sometimes right, and convince him
that I truly want to understand how to communicate with him and his
colleagues on their level. Convince him that I want to get beyond the
relationship that resulted in his using that oh-so-belittling excuse.
Re the actual example I used (this is me trying to regain a little
credibility): Obviously, I chose a sentence with common words (words
even I knew!) to serve as a simplified example. Now imagine entire
paragraphs of sentences like this, with adjectives that may or may not
be familiar to a technical reader. (BTW, this document is a "technology
brief" for a knowledge discovery engine that will not be mass marketed.
The programmer wrote it to give to prospective clients with technical
backgrounds--senior level IS programmers--so the motive is informational
>but also marketing.) Here's how that particular sentence went out : Objects
are stored in a multi-tiered, dynamically hashed, persistent susbsystem,
creating fast scalable access to any size object. (my contribution was
to put commas in the adj. stack and delete the word "storage" before
As a side note (and this is in good humor):
I found it interesting to see how the tide turned during this thread!
To my original question re trying to communicate with a senior
programmer on a specific issue, I got a multitude of responses about how
awful the guy was and how I should stand my ground and tell him where to
get off! Then I ask a simple question about a common writing rule (try
to avoid stacking more than 2 adjectives or nouns) and, while it evoked
a number of thoughtful responses (both public and private), there were
also more than a few remonstrances--even though I actually stated that I
understood the programmer's point and was trying to reconcile it with
good writing practices. I never thought I would ever be accused of
rewriting just for the sake of rewriting--the cardinal sin!! <grin>
After all, I'm a writer before I'm an editor.
But seriously, I really am trying to meet the needs of my
audience--including creating informational text that isn't exhausting to
read! Personally, however, I'm less concerned about stroking someone's
ego--do we really want to go there? (Maybe that attitude's why I'm a
reluctant marketing writer!) By the way, I know that our first rule is
to write to our audience, but am I the only one who's noticed that this
refrain has been used to justify all sorts of stupid philosophies?
OK--now I've posted in one week the equivalent of all my posts for the
past year! (And all that time could have been spent on my novel...)
BTW: Thanks to the individual who pointed out that the word metal (as
in "worth their metal") should have been mettle. I learned something
Applied Technical Systems, Inc. (ATS)
Bremerton, Washington USA
>Developers of the CCM Database