Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: Nora Merhar <nmerhar -at- CHARLESINDUSTRIES -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 11:57:43 -0600

Leonard Porrello wrote:

> "The race was not lost by Joan" is a _boring_ version of "Joan won
the race=
> ."
> This is not an issue of maturity or attention span, and the concept
of winn=
> ing is difficult to grasp in the first sentence because the writing
is poor=

Actually, "The race was not lost by Joan" is NOT a "boring" version of
"Joan won the race." There are a number of ways to continue with that
first sentence, NONE of which necessarily have to do with her winning.
For instance:

"The race was not lost by Joan. It was lost by her partner, Sam, who
tripped on his shoelace and went sprawling right before he was
supposed to hand her the baton."

Now I would have written "Joan didn't lose the race..." but once
again, this doesn't necessarily imply that she won. Or if I was
talking about an Agility trial I was in last weekend, I would perhaps
say, in answer to the question "Did you win?" "We didn't lose. We
qualified and came in 3rd."

It is a *literary* construction as opposed to the kind of construction
you want to see in a manual, but taken out of context it certainly
isn't bad writing.

p.s. Here's some bad writing for you--substituting "Everyone was not
here" for "Not everyone was here." Those two sentences do NOT mean the
same thing, but many people appear to think they do.

Senior Technical Writer, Charles Industries, Ltd.
nmerhar -at- charlesindustries -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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