Re: Microsoft Manual of Style

Subject: Re: Microsoft Manual of Style
From: "Marie C. Paretti" <mparetti -at- RRINC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 11:00:50 -0500

At 10:22 AM 2/1/99 -0500, Lynette_Petendree wrote:
>Has everyone out there lost there minds!! Does anyone remember when REAL
style guides were used (Chicago Manual of Style, etc.)? I hate to remind
everyone but the Microsoft Manual of Style is nothing more than a style
manual taken from an in-house technical writing department
<end snip>

I suppose it depends on what you need the style guide *for.* When it comes
to most grammar and usage questions, I agree that the Chicago Manual of
Style or a good grammar book is the place to go. But when it comes to
questions of user-interface terminology, the MS Style Guide is the first
place I turn because, for the apps I document, Bill developed the operating
system interface and most of our customers already use a number of other MS
apps. Like it or not, for our applications at least, Microsoft built the
city; they get to name the roads. I stay in sync is because our customers
already have reams of Microsoft documentation (both online and on paper)
that uses the MS terminology; it's familiar to them. To avoid confusing my
readers, more often than not I accept MS's choices.

In short, for when to use a comma, I turn to a grammar book. For what to
call that little box with a downward arrow at one end that displays a list
of choices when I click the arrow, I turn to the MS Style Guide.

IMO, style guides (including grammar books) are not absolute truth; they
are sets of rules agreed upon by people in a particular area or context
that govern standard usage *in that context.* I simply use the set of
rules that best applies to the context I'm writing in.


Marie C. Paretti, PhD
Recognition Research, Inc. (RRI)
1750 Kraft Drive, Suite 2000
Blacksburg, VA 24060
mparetti -at- rrinc -dot- com

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