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> Melissa Morgan wrote:
> > This is probably not the best way to enter the forum, but
> > I cannot help myself. Please do not be offended by what
And John Posada responded:
> First...you're right...it isn't the best way to enter this forum.
> Second...had you been around for more than several weeks...
I'm afraid I have more sympathy with Melissa than with John.
Yes, I have read the rules Eric posted over the weekend, and I know it's
considered improper to critique individual list members' spelling,
grammar, etc. HOWEVER, there's a bigger issue here, which I think
should be of interest to all of us who consider ourselves technical
It never ceases to amaze me how many contributors to this list
make systematic errors that any grade school student should be able to
recognize and avoid. Sure, we all hit a wrong key once in a while or
fail to proof something because there's just not enough time. I don't
have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is repeated
misuse of possessives, frequent subject-verb-object disagreements, and
so on. If we're going to represent ourselves as communication
professionals, how can we get away with using language so sloppy that we
lose any credibility we might otherwise have had?
I don't know about the rest of you, but I sometimes get requests
to edit things for engineers. I occasionally suggest changes to the
document's organization, major rewording of sentences, and so on. More
often, though, I spend my time patiently correcting "small" grammatical
errors: "...the system uploads it's stored records to...," or "...the
remote terminal, receives their data from..." What good is it to do the
best organizational and content edits in the world if the author ends up
looking like an idiot because of little screw-ups that WE should be
expected to catch?
People on this list spend an awful lot of time bellyaching about
how we never get any respect. Some of the grammar I've seen (not only
here, but in published documentation as well) makes me think it's little
wonder that folks feel that way. We're paid to know what's correct and
to make sure our deliverables reflect that knowledge. If we can't do
that, we don't deserve any respect.
Just for the record, I'd like to say that I DO NOT endorse
publicly pointing out individual members' faults to the whole list, and
I'm not sure I'd even send a personal email, unless there were more
involved than just the grammar problems. I would also like to say that
the "taylor" vs. "tailor" faux pas went right over my head the first
time through. (I knew there was something wrong, but couldn't put my
finger on it!) But that doesn't excuse the error, or my failure to
catch it as I read the post. If anything, I'd amend part of John's
response to say, "Second, had you been around for more than several
weeks, you would be truly appalled by some of the grammar you saw coming
from 'professional writers.'" I know this isn't going to gain me many
new friends on the list, but it needed to be said. Let's clean up our
own act, instead of shooting the messenger!