Re: Grammar Issues

Subject: Re: Grammar Issues
From: Michael Lewis <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 11:39:48 +1100

I'm in substantial agreement. I take the view (supported by some
research into a commercial translation operation) that formal grammar is
above all a tool for analysis. When your native awareness of language
tells you that something isn't working properly, you can apply formal
grammatical principles in order to diagnose and fix the precise problem.

Miles Kimball wrote:
> Jeffery Luke's suggestion that we handle grammar problems just by
> "re-writ[ing] the sentence so the problem is no longer there" is a
> fall-back solution, but not the optimal one.
> The difficulty is that writing your way around a grammar problem frequently
> leads to awkward sentences -- which of course don't "aid the reader in
> better understanding our language."
> If our only recourse to a grammar problem is to write our way around it, I
> think we may not be in full control of your language. Better to write
> *through* grammar problems by using our skills to solve them.
> For what it's worth --
> Miles
> At 08:53 AM 2/12/98 -0400, you wrote:
> >Grammar essentially is just a tool to aid the reader in better
> >understanding our language.
> >
> >If I have a grammar question concerning one of the sentences I'm writing,
> >chances are the reader will have those same questions.
> >
> >The easiest way around such issues is to re-write the sentece so the
> >problem is no longer there. I think in the end this will better service our
> >readers.
> >
> >Grammar should be invisible to the reader. And especially in Technical
> >Writing, all they're concerned about is meaning. Grammar issues should not
> >impede meaning.
> >
> >Rewrite when in doubt.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> Miles A. Kimball
> Asst. Prof. of English
> Murray State University
> miles -dot- kimball -at- murraystate -dot- edu

Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia
PO Box 1249, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
Suite 8, The Watertower, 1 Marian St, Redfern 2016
Tel +61-2-9310-2224 ... Fax +61-2-9310-5056

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