Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two Birds With One English Lesson, er Stone

I am taking English 316, technical communication, so prepared to be bored out of your minds while I take the time to share some rules/guidelines to help me with my class.

  • Avoid Ambiguous Pronoun References: You know, he she it, they and all that referring to the proper thing so everything doesn't get all confused. Make it clear. It's like the facebook status thing; if you stick to 3rd person pronouns, things are bound to get confusing if you mention something else.
  • Avoid Ambiguous Modifiers: Words like 'only', you know, "only press the button in an emergency." You don't know if only refers to emergencies or the button. Not clear. That's a no-no. We also know that you only press the red button to launch a nuclear missile. So please don't press it.
  • Just say no the stacking modifying nouns. You put too many on and everything gets crazy confusing.
  • Word Order: Apparently each sentence builds on the previous sentence to build up to next sentence. It's like they're plot-layout happy. So just keep things connected and familiar. So new information, unfamiliar stuff should be near the end of the sentence, just to keep people happy. Imperative or commands are the exception. They're allowed to go at the beginning of the sentence to get all up in your business.
  • Use Active Voice Whenever possible: Cause passive voice is for ninnies. There's also more to read and it's more direct. So whatever it is, you should just do it, not have it be done by you. That's passé. It is also unethical because it can be confusing. Hence it is for ninnies. active voice has power. Notice that when a Jedi uses the mind-trick, he never uses passive voice. And don't use both in the same sentence, if you do a grammar fairy dies somewhere. And that's the truth!
  • When to use Passive Voice: When you're a ninny! Actually the correct answer is selectively. So it's like selective evolution, passive voice always gets left out of the loop. Apparently passive voice is used on a need to know basis, or when it is obvious who is doing it. Like that Mr. Jones who was brought to the emergency room. Most people assume it is a doctor or nurse that brought him there and thus people don't care and passive is OK. Or when the object, like a Ring of power that was thrown into a fiery volcano. The object is more important than the subject. Again: Ninnies! And as ninnies like to be indirect and inoffensive, they use it to avoid offending people. Instead of saying you didn't pay the bill, you say the bill hasn't been paid. Peaceful! Also in describing actions, like someone ratting out Joey the Rat, the person doing the ratting out wants protection and so all that is said that Joey the Rat was ratted out.
  • Overstuffed Sentences: Don't take them to the buffet line, it gets ugly if you do. Things get messy and people get dizzy if too much information is stuffed into one sentence. (Look at 3:20-3:34)
  • Editing for Conciseness: Apparently it is a crime to be inconcise. Transmit the most information using the fewest words possible. Use the drafting process.
  • Avoid Wordy Phrases: Reduce phrases like 'due to the fact' and 'the majority of' to 'because' and 'most'. It means no laziness in writing essays, you have to think more and be more efficient in your writing. No filling up space for the word count!
  • Eliminate Redundancy: Don't say things twice. You only need to say it twice. However, this is only for the English language, cause Spanish is inherently redundant. It means you can't use some descriptive words. After all, this is technical documents, not a novel!
  • Avoid Needless Repetition: Doesn't that count as a type of redundancy? Or maybe this is to block subliminal messages. So don't say things over and over again and no superhero will think you're trying to hypnotize people into doing your bidding.
  • Avoid There Sentence Openers: We openly discriminate those who use 'there' to start a sentence. It is also weak and for ninnies. Be manly and don't say that there is something to going to happen, say that it will happen, you ninny! Although it should be noted that you are allowed by proper context to be a ninny sometimes.
  • Don't use It to start sentences either: It is vague, unclear and I just broke my own rule. So use 'it' responsibly if what it is, has been established in a previous sentence. So don't drink and start sentences with 'it'. This is for your own protection.
  • Delete Needless Prefaces: Monologueing if you will. Or self narration. Don't say what you are doing, just get to the point. For example: 'I am writing this letter because...' Unnecessary! Get rid of it!
  • Avoid Weak Verbs: They're for ninnies. You want a verb that specifies an action, not something like 'am', 'was' and other ninny verbs.
  • Avoid Excessive Prepositions: Reduce, reduce, reduce! After all, everybody in this economy is doing it right?
  • Fight Noun Addiction: Wow. I didn't even know you could be addicted to nouns. This sounds dangerous. Very dangerous indeed. Someone should conduct a study on the addictiveness of nouns! Resist the temptation to turn verbs into nouns. Addiction is not pretty.
  • Make Negatives Positives: So, we've moved from English to altering the laws of physics have we? On the English side of things, don't use words like do not, like I just did! Tell people what they can do, what they can not do.
Hmmn, I think this is enough grammar guidelines for now. Hope you learned something. Enjoy your weekend.

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