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Subject:Re: metadiscourse From:Simon North <north -at- SYNOPSYS -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 2 Nov 1998 12:17:51 +0001
Apologies if this thread has died, but I had a week off (does happen
occasionally), and I feel I need to add something to this discussion.
I write books in the hope that people will read them, but in the
knowledge that people have paid good money to buy them in the first
place and most probably have some genuine interest in the contents.
I therefore write to be read.
I write technical manuals in the full knowledge that people do NOT
want to read them. Usually, they have better things to do and have
resorted to the documentation as either a first step (novice user)
or as a last resort. Here is write to NOT be read; I write to be
skipped. My main aim is to get the reader as quickly and effortlessly
as possible to the information he/she needs, while not forcing
him/her to read irrelevant information. Metadiscourse provides
important clues to the potential NON reader to aid them in NOT
reading irrelevant information, and possibly (post-discourse)
skipping back to information that they might have missed.
IMNSHO, will all our stress on writing well sometimes we tend to lose
sight that we aren't trying to write literature; we're trying to
impart information. Even poor grammar is excusable if we get the
information across and if I can save readers ten minutes by adding a
few sentences that warn them that the following material is possibly
uninteresting then I'm all for metadiscourse -- lots of it.
Simon North north -at- synopsys -dot- com sintac -at- xs4all -dot- nl
PGP Fingerprint 97FA 6A6C 1136 A66A 431D 8454 9C16 F677 A4C8 9CE2
"Presenting XML", "HTML4 Unleashed, PRE", "Dynamic Web Publishing Unleashed",
"Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days" (December 1998)