Sunday, October 02, 2011

English majors in action (perhaps)

If you ever wondered if English majors who end up getting jobs in the software industry ever get to use those multi-syllabic words they fancied in their technical writing, allow me to offer what I saw while installing the drivers for the new Canon printer/scanner/copier we bought recently.

Hovering over the option called "Solution Menu EX" the description of that option displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Allow me to zoom you in to that portion:
Yes, the writer of this part found a way to work "furthermore" into the text.

Necessary? Not really, but it is applicable in the context of what is being described, and I'm sure its inclusion made the writer happy to get that in there.

Of course, had the writer been less enamored with the vocabulary and paid a smidge more attention to syntax perhaps he/she would not have followed that by splitting "can" and "access" with the adverb "easily."

It's not that "can easily access" is uncommon in this sort of technical writing, but that "furthermore" changes the rhetorical rules for what one can get away with; as I've had pointed out to me on more than one occasion, upping that ante in one area makes the "grammar police" hold one up to higher standards.

This must be why the recommended "Easy" installation skips over this part. It's easier for everyone involved.


  1. That's a split infinitive, right? I know how to write, but I have mostly forgotten the verbage in the rules which explain how to write. I merely know what's right, and what's wrong.

  2. Rules are for those who have a desire to follow them.


So, what do you think?