Re: I solicit your HELP (etc.)

Subject: Re: I solicit your HELP (etc.)
From: George Mena <George -dot- Mena -at- ESSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 13:26:32 -0700

Dear Cassandra Parker,

The best way to use the word etc. is to NEVER use it. Engineers use it
all the time because their writing skills are typically not as strong as
a senior tech writer's skills and use it solely because they don't know
how else to make a specific point. Please don't fall into this trap.
It's weak writing and a worthless word in most technical documentation.
Let the academicians use it in their doctoral theses. Technical writers
have to write for the real world.

This recommendation is found primarily in the Associated Press
stylebook, which has worked for me for the 17 years I've been a
technical writer. Additionally, MIL-STD-38784, the bible for mil-spec
type documentation, also frowns on that particular word, as I recall. I
don't know what the Chicago Manual of Style says, nor do I care. The
objective is to tell the reader what to do and how to do it and not to
get the reader lost in following written instructions.

Rather than saying "computers, printers, scanners, etc.", remember that
printers and scanners are computer peripherals. More specifically,
printers are output devices and scanners and digital cameras are input
devices. It's often better to describe such devices by the type of
devices in a given class.

In closing, proceed -- and write -- as you think best. Good luck.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Parker, Cassandra M. (EXCH) [SMTP:CMPARKER -at- INTERMEDIA -dot- COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 1998 12:29 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: I solicit your HELP (etc.)
> Hello All,
> Could you, my trusty List friends, help me with this one.
> What is the appropriate usage of the word etc.
> For example:
> 1. When it is in the middle of a sentence, should a comma follow it?
> 2. When etc. is at the end of a sentence and the sentence ends with a
> question mark or a period, how do you handle this?
> 3. When etc. is at the end of a sentence but in parentheses, what
> would
> you do here:
> (computers, printers, scanners, etc.). OR
> (computers, printers, scanners, etc.)
> I have seen the usage of this little acronym in so many different
> forms
> that now I am confused.
> Thanks for your help.
> Cassie
> &^~~~
> Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF

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