Grammar and technical writing?

Subject: Grammar and technical writing?
From: Geoff Hart <Geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 14:33:30 -0400

Anthony Markatos observed that <<A little bit of grammar
knowledge never hurt anyone. Having said that, numerous
studies have concluded that there is no correlation at all
between grammar knowledge and effective technical
communications. In fact, too much grammar knowledge can
actually hinder communication.>>

You couldn't produce actual citations for any of those
"numerous studies" last time you made these indefensible
claims, and I doubt you'll be able to produce them this time
either. In any event, your point obscures the far more
important point: that possessing knowledge and using it
effectively are not always correlated.

Techwhirling tie-in: Anthony's statement does demonstrate,
quite convincingly, that grammatical knowledge alone is
insufficient for effective communication. That's why you
should always insist that your editor or peer reviewer
understands more about communication than just the rules of
grammar. And when you're arranging peer reviews for your
documents, insist on substantive reviews (facts, internal logic,
correctness, and effectiveness of presentation) rather than
solely grammatical ones.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Though the editor is the author's ally, she should never forget that
she is also the reader's first line of defense."--Shoshanna Green

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