Re: Using capital letters

Subject: Re: Using capital letters
From: Virginia Day <Virginia_Day -at- DATACARD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 10:53:38 -0500

What is a "key word"? (I'd guess that it relates to the writer's
speech patterns.) Does your style include capitalizing key words? If
not, she should not do it. This might be a good time to re-publish any
style guidelines you have (with an expanded "Do's and Don'ts"
section).

It sounds like the new writer either is *really* new or has a 60's
approach to tech writing. I'd do everything I could to put a stop to
it right now. (Did you notice the lack of actor in both sentences?
Users will benefit from knowing whether they take action to cause the
display to scroll and specifically what causes the red LED to
illuminate. Also, there is almost never a good reason to use "will.")

Regards, Virginia


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Using capital letters
Author: Jennifer O'Neill <jennyon -at- ARITECH -dot- COM> at Internet
Date: 8/8/97 5:12 PM


A question for the weekend.

A tech writer who recently joined my company uses capital letters in
a way I can't quite follow and am not very keen about. She just
handed in a manual with sentences like:

The Red LED on the Alarm Panel will be lit.

or

The Display scrolls through the options.

When I asked her about it she said that these were key words.
I can't see what benefit it is the the user
to have 'red', display or 'alarm panel' et al written like that. I have to try
to get everyone writing in the same style and as most manuals are
written by engineers feel I'm asking for problems to tell them to
write the first letter of key words with a capital letter. Then it
all gets translated into 8 languages, with their associated usages of
capital letters. And what may only be one word in English can become
a few in another language. I want a simple life.

What do others think?

Jennifer

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