Re: Midol Moment or National Tragedy? You decide...

Subject: Re: Midol Moment or National Tragedy? You decide...
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 13:40:57 -0500

Bonnie Granat wrote


>Mark Baker wrote:
>>
>>
>> Since the phrase "Click Apply, then OK" would seem to communicate
>> effectively, bad grammar would be any grammatical system that cannot
account
>> for it.

>The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications offers this
>explanation of the issue:

>then
>Then is not a coordinate conjunction and thus cannot correctly join two
>independent clauses. Use and or another coordinate conjunction or then
>with a semicolon or another conjunctive adverb to connect independent
>clauses in, for example, two-part procedural steps.

Then the Microsoft Manual of style is the work of bad grammarians.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps it is merely the work of officious editors (possibly
misled by bad grammarians).

It is one thing to have a house style and enforce it. It is another thing to
claim that English grammar itself forbids some structure.

If this passage is taken merely to express Microsoft's house style, fine. It
is only binding on those who choose to work for Microsoft and should not be
read as a rule about the English language in general.

But to say, as a general rule, that a structure that communicates clearly
and unambiguously and without offence to most English speakers is "bad
grammar" is not just incorrect, it is also, in the proper sense of the word,
bad grammar (that is, a failed attempt to understand and express the
mechanisms of the English language).









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