OT RE: Using Contractions in Software Manuals

Subject: OT RE: Using Contractions in Software Manuals
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 13:57:51 -0400


Is this subject off-topic? Anyway, seeing no comment on that issue, here's
(?here are?) my two cents:

I don't use contractions in technical writing, which I do mainly for
software apps. When I read contractions in technical publications, I trip
over them. I have noticed that many of my proof-readers notice use of
contractions, too. Currently, my audience is college-educated and many of
them had those "no contraction" teachers. (As an aside, I had a professor at
college who routinely chastised me for using only one space after a period,
in papers written on a Mac. Teachers are not always correct but, as long as
they are consistent, I can be forgiving.)

I avoid contractions for two main reasons: I don't want that level of
informality and I seldom have the need for contractions. As for using
contractions with the future tense, I'll not be using the future tense in my
docs; for me it's not necessary.

I do use contractions in newsletters, such as those I send out to residents
of a town, for example, and on web sites.

Let's move on . . .

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

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

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