Re: Figurative language

Subject: Re: Figurative language
From: Tom Herme <hermet -at- DNINEVADA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 13:59:56 -0800


Ben Kovitz wrote:


I do not believe that figurative language has a large role to play in most
technical communication.  It's appropriate for inventing new terminology,
sometimes for tutorials, and not much else.

I would add that figurative language is used by any technical writer who has to present new concepts to the user. Before database applications came into everyday use, they were introduced using the Rolodex metaphor. You know, the entire Rolodex is a database, each card a record, the name entry is a field, the phone number is a field, and so on. Figurative language allows us to relate something new with something old, familiar, thus giving the user a means to assimilate the new concept.

I certainly agree that writing metaphors, similes, etc. is a good exercise for loosening one's writing, by that I mean giving a writer the experience needed to apply it to presenting new concepts to the user.

My 2 "sense" worth.


Tom Herme
mailto://hermet -at- dninevada -dot- com

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