Technical writing - Grammar, spelling, other languages

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Technical writing - Grammar, spelling, other languages

Worried about the nitty gritty?  Sort out those grammatical demons here.

English or American?

For the English and the Americans among us, this won't really matter, but for the rest of us... What do you prefer to write in? In South Africa we use mostly English with a bit of American mixed in.

Queen's only...

Having lived in America and NZ, in which the same language, more or less, is spoken, I report my astonishment at the number of words that mean completely different things in each country.

I knew we mumbled proper de English in Noo Zild, and them 'mericans did not. But I didn't realise the extent of it. Accent is nothing. Idiom and jargon had me laughing and misunderstanding alternately.

As for 'Queen's English', that could be a fascinating topic, come to think of it. "Queen's English" could be 21st century BDSM jargon, in disguise, now couldn't it?

Proud to be 'merican!

This is a subject Raymond and I have had a lot of experience with in the past nearly twelve years. I still adamantly believe Ray and I do not speak the same language! This has caused some pretty heated and also hilarious arguments. One very good example: If an American is "pissed" he is angry. If an Englishman is "pissed" he is drunk. As for rules of grammar and mechanics, they are some differences there too, and you really don't want to mix the two. In spelling, that too has a number of differences, sometimes obvious and sometimes not. I drive on tires. Raymond drives on tyres. This is pretty easy to keep track of simply by having a spell checker. Again, use one language or the other not a sprinkling of both.


Beware, this is going to be a rant! We can only see through our own eyes. We can sympathize or empathize with others--that is one of the great great gifts of being human. If we are writers, artist or musicians we can come real close to giving our feelings to others through the expression of our art. One of my main goals when I write is to give my readers such a clear view of the story they will cry or laugh or even get angry at the injustice of a situation. That is part of the gift of the artist. What most people never think about is being an artist, any kind of artist, first takes the technical skills. In other words--learn to walk before you try out for the Olympic Marathon. An artist must know how to hold a brush; mix colors, draw lines that bend and represent the object. A musician must be able to read music, the language of music. Writers will never be successful until they know some pretty boring things that even I hated to learn in school, over 50 years ago. One the the unique things about being an artist is that you have to master the basic techniques of spelling, sentence structure, plot, consistency, character construction and timing until they all become invisible. That is right, INVISIBLE! No one that I know ever sat down with a book to see how many nouns, verbs or adverbs were in a sentence but if they are not there and in the right place the story will not be told no matter how great the plot is or even if the character is so real you can almost talk to him. So I guess it all boils down to this. First things first! Learn to write good sentences and find out why they are good sentences. If you can't do that you will never get past the 99 cent list on

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