Re: Language rules

Subject: Re: Language rules
From: Marilynne Smith <mrsmith -at- CTS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 10:48:07 -0700

Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins: The careful writer's guide to the taboos,
bugbears and out-moded rules of English usage. Theodore M. Bernstein.
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York 1971. This book is worth looking for.

You might also be interested in Bernstein's The Careful Writer, Atheneum,
New York, 1977. This book is a classic. You can probably still find it on
the bookshelves.

Marilynne <who agrees that communication must have its practical side>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
At 12:18 PM 8/13/97 -0500, geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA wrote:
> Speaking as a moderately heretical editor, there are _no_
> rules for English, though there're books full of rules of
> thumb. These rules of thumb all boil down to either "it
> doesn't make much sense in terms of clear communication but
> everyone does it anyway and will understand" or "we do it
> this way because everyone who speaks English has been
> trained to understand this form of communication". If you
> can't fit a rule into either category, make darn sure you
> understand whether the rule facilitates communication
> before you inflict it on your readers.
>
> Grammar has one purpose and one purpose only: to help us
> communicate effectively. Where a rule gets in the way of
> clear communication, it's almost always because it doesn't
> fit in either of the two categories I specified. And to me,
> rules that don't fit in either category are generally
> optional. There's a lovely book, Miss Thistlebottom's
> Hobgoblins (sorry, no details handy), that debunks many of
> the more common misunderstandings about English rules, and
> it's well worth a read.
>
> --Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
> Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.
>
> TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
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>
>
---------------------------------------------------------------
Marilynne Smith
Writing, Editing, and Online Documentation
---------------------------------------------------------------

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
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