RE: Unprofessional possessive

Subject: RE: Unprofessional possessive
From: "John David Hickey" <dave -at- toonboom -dot- com>
To: "Halter, Meg" <HalterMC -at- navair -dot- navy -dot- mil>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:12:01 -0500


> A question has come up concerning the use of the possessive in technical
> reports. The author maintains that it's unprofessional to use the
> possessive. So instead of writing "the pilot's head" we should write "the
> pilot head". The second sounds like pidgin to me. (Me take pilot head and
> bash with rock.)

Me think it more unprofessional to be not clear. Unless language of audience
is second, or you think audience be confused with use of possessive, me
think you can assume that reader understand better with possessive than

Me think that people who say it unprofessional to do something that make a
phrase easier to undertand are not professionals, just nitpickers. People
like that would not know what professional is if it bashed them in head with

If you think it clearer to use possessive, then use possessive. Reader would
rather understand information than worry about professionalism.

Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
Grand Poohbah of Documentation
and proud recipient of two Wing awards

ToonBoom Technologies
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?
Tel: 514-278-TOON (8666)
Fax: 514-278-BOOM (2666)
Pag: 514-205-9209

Their site:
My site:

They say the pen is mightier than the sword.
But if you miss a deadline, you'd better bring the sword.
Don't confuse my opinions with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

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