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Subject: Re: [office] Question of writing style?


Since I won't be on the call tomorrow I thought I should tender a few 
written comments about the 'you can' style question.

It is not improper grammar but a question of the style one uses in 
writing technical standards.

I am not surprised that a native American introduced the phrase, most 
writing in the US being first person and bordering on the familiar.

Not that such a style is necessarily a bad thing, in the proper place 
but I would argue it is inappropriate in standards.

I searched the latest collection of W3C documents (XML Standards 
Documents, a compilation of both draft and final documents, about 32 MB 
of documents) and found only one use of 'you can' and that was in an 
XSLT draft and explaining an example at that.

Hope you are having a great day!


Michael Brauer - Sun Germany - ham02 - Hamburg wrote:
> Hi Patrick,
> Patrick Durusau wrote:
>>At section 2.8 Page Styles and Layout, the phrase 'you can' begins to 
>>appear. By way of illustration:
>>In text and spreadsheet documents, you can assign a master page to 
>>paragraph and table styles using a style:master-page-name attribute. 
>>Each time the paragraph or table style is applied to text, a page break 
>>is inserted before the paragraph or table. The page that starts at the 
>>page break position uses the specified master page.
>>(fourth paragraph on page 52)
>>I think the preferred style for standards would read (first sentence only):
>>In text and spreadsheet documents, a master page is assigned to 
>>paragraph and table styles using a style:master-page-name attribute.
>>The phrase appears 400 times in the latest draft. Perhaps I have been 
>>too heavily influenced by ISO style drafting but it seems a bit informal 
>>for a standard.
> This phrase actually was introduced some time ago by a technical writer
> that did some editing work on the OpenOffice.org specification and that
> is a native English speaker. Because of this, my assumption was that the
> phrase is okay, alltough I never used it myself for exactly the reasons
> you mention.
> I think we should discuss in the next con call whether we want to change
> the phrases, and if so, when and how.
> Michael

Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model

Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!

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