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Avoiding the possessive form in technical writing has been recommended in
recent years particularly where internationalization and translation issues
are involved. English is the only language that uses the apostrophe + "s" to
express possession and internationalization issues are almost everywhere in
hi-tech these days.
I find I'm able to avoid this form of the possessive without loss of
clarity, perhaps even with added clarity.
> A question has come up concerning the use of the possessive in
> reports. The author maintains that it's unprofessional to use the
> possessive. So instead of writing "the pilot's head" we should
> pilot head". The second sounds like pidgin to me. (Me take
> pilot head and bash with rock.)
> Me hope for you comments.
This nonsense. 8-)
There's nothing wrong with the possessive in technical writing. It
indicates ownership or other similar close relationships; that's
for. Your author has turned the noun "pilot" into an adjective and
therefore changed the relationship between the pilot and the head.
like the difference between "the blue sky," which describes the sky
and "the blue's sky," which means nothing.
It might be argued that it's preferable to use "the head of the
rather than "the pilot's head," but that's just a change in wording,
change in case.
Scott A. McClare - Technical Writer
Neptec Design Group Ltd., Kanata, Ontario, Canada
(613) 599-7603 x504
smcclare -at- neptec -dot- com
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