RE: Are these words being used?

Subject: RE: Are these words being used?
From: "George F. Hayhoe" <george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, <JULIA -at- juliasugarbaker -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 09:59:19 -0500

Julia Countryman said, with regard to "orderability" and

<<. . . what we're talking about here is not a technical
term, which has much more leeway as far as its usage, but a
word form that doesn't exist (at least not in the Oxford
Dictionary), so in this case, my reply would be "I ain't
gonna use it.">>

With respect, Julia, if a word is used, it exists, whether
it appears in the Oxford Dictionary or any other dictionary.
Speakers of English and all other languages are remarkably
innovative and coin new words every day to meet their needs.
If you've got a dictionary that's more than a dozen years
old, try looking up "e-mail," "online," and "Internet." Does
the fact that these words don't appear in that dictionary
mean that they "don't exist" and therefore shouldn't be

That's why dictionary makers are constantly at work on new
editions. Otherwise, we speakers of English would still be
using Johnson's Dictionary and we wouldn't have needed that
new-fangled Oxford upstart a hundred years ago--or its
recent offspring.

We're technical communicators, not gatekeepers for the
English language. Our documents should use the terms that
users use.

--George Hayhoe (george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com)

George Hayhoe Associates
Voice: +1 (803) 642-2156
Fax: +1 (803) 642-9325

APEX '99 Grand Award for Publication Excellence

Awards of Distinguished Technical Communication
South Carolina/Carolina Foothills STC Chapters
1998-99 Technical Publications Competition

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