Re: Using Contractions in Software Manuals

Subject: Re: Using Contractions in Software Manuals
From: Peter Martin <peterm -at- FOXBORO -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 11:46:31 +1000

Suzette:
At 11:33 14/05/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Toni Williams wrote:
>> Isn't "would of" the written expression of a verbal slurring of "would've"?
>> (And isn't this an awkward sentence???)
>
>Would've is a contraction of "would have", as in "I would have gone to the
>store, but I forgot my wallet at home."
>
>Would of, could of, etc. are perfect examples of how the English language has
>degenerated. I put those phrases in the same category as "ain't".

Ah, but if you were to pause to consider the history of the English language,
you might be eternally grateful of such "degeneration", rather than
disdainful of it.

Old and well-used languages are in a perpetual state of what you
call "degeneration". Take that English classic that begins:

"Whenne that Aprille with its shoures soote..."

If we were to be pure and reject all "degeneration" of the language,
we would still be using the language of Chaucer -- or for that matter,
the phrases of Beowulf.. But we haven't, we don't, and we won't.

Contractions have been a major part in the simplification of the
English language, making it much easier to speak and read.
For a start, we've largely got rid of the gender-distinguishing
endings that still cause problems for foreign speakers of, say,
the European Romance languages. In fact, we got rid of most of the
Latinate conjugations as well as the declensions...

These were "contractions" -- I don't think you really want to
ask for the original usage to be restored or preserved in
written works.

Or do you really want to vary the ending of your nouns when
they follow "by, with or from", vary them differently when
they follow "to", change them again when they follow "of",
and then multiply the variations according whether the noun
is singular or plural ?

Vive le contraction ! Or is that "la contraction" ?





--
Peter Martin, Contract Tech. Writer peterm -at- foxboro -dot- com -dot- au
+61 2 9818 5094 (home) 0408 249 113 (mobile) peterm -at- zeta -dot- org -dot- au

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