Re: Is Grammer Important?

Subject: Re: Is Grammer Important?
From: "Long, Vicki" <LongV -at- KOCHIND -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 13:26:15 -0500

This has been taken out of context. I believe the book Tony refers to is
"Procedure Writing: Principles and Practices" by Douglas Wieringa,
Christopher Moore, and Valerie Barnes. There is a quote that states "It is
quite possible to write adequately without knowing a single thing about
grammar (or at least without knowing a single thing that is taught under the
heading of "grammar" in the public schools). Furthermore, knowing a whole
lot about grammar is not likely to make you an excellent writer. In fact one
survey after another has shown that formal study of grammar in school has no
correlation whatsoever with ability to write effectively. So why bother?".
(Stratton, C.R. (1984). Technical Writing: Process and Product. New York:
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.)

The point the authors are trying to make, as I understand it when I read the
rest of the section, is that just knowing grammar is not enough; it must be
effectively applied. The beginning of Chapter 5, Step Syntax (which contains
the above quote) discusses five principles of syntax for action steps, one
of which is "follow the rules of English grammar unless there is a very good
reason not to do so." The Chapter 5 summary states "Procedures that are not
written according to the rules of accepted English grammar, through either
error or intention, may be misunderstood because they violate the
expectations that readers bring to documents. Even if grammatical errors do
not lead readers to misunderstand the procedure, they can lessen the
procedure's credibility in the eyes of the user."

The authors go on to discuss the importance of following the rules of
grammar and how accurate information cannot be written without using
grammar. So yes, grammar is important and, I would say, required.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anthony Markatos [SMTP:tonymar -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM]
> Sent: Thursday, May 21, 1998 11:10 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Is Grammer Important?
> To all Technical Writers:
> Is good grammar important for effective technical communications? About
> six months ago, I read a book on procedures writing that said "Numerous
> studies have concluded that there is no correlation at all between
> effective technical communications and grammar".
> I seek responses for career planning purposes.
> Tony Markatos
> (tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)
> Note: I forgot the title and authors. Was a "how-to" book written by
> three consultants out of the Battelle Laboratory (Columbus, Oh).
> ______________________________________________________
> Get Your Private, Free Email at
> ~

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