Wednesday, November 16, 2005

YOU CAN'T USE A SEMICOLON THERE!

| |

At this point, I think my blog will explore the same dozen issues over and over. It may run its course and I'll be done with my thoughts after a set amount of time. But lets move on.

On of my biggest gripes about technical writers is the people who are grammar nazis. If you work in tech, or spend any time in any forum online, you know who I’m talking about - the people who get offended at the deepest levels, or act like you just punched their mother if you punctuate a sentence incorrectly.

Now there are some egregious punctuation errors out there. They are funny to read, and sad because the original author is showing off their ignorance. But come on - laugh at the person, shake your head, and then MOVE THE HELL ON.

The number one rule of writing is: if the person reading your prose understood what information you were trying to convey, then the text was a success in its first goal.

I don't understand it, it's like people feel that language is their domain and feel the need to belittle others when their mastery isn't on par. English (or whatever) as a language is freaking amazing in that it still works with highly imprecise input- unlike math or a programming language. IMHO, there are more important things to do with your passion and anger than correct an adult. Children are a different story :)

Believe me, I am a huge fan of terse and precise writing. However, it is not required, nor should it be fought over in realms outside of published textual media.

1 comments:

Michelle said...

I agree! Message boards are message boards - they are not published, distributed information. I take that back - they are, but in a different sense. In a message board, you're usually not in "writer persona." If I post to the Madcap Flare boards with a technical question, I'm usually way too wrapped up in my issue to worry about my grammar more than usual. Now, most of us have decent grammar to begin with or we wouldn't be writers, but we all make mistakes. You're right. Let it go and move on. A casual environment is very different than a finished manual given to a client. :)