Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?

Subject: Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?
From: DIGEST Marlene Reynolds <reynoldm -at- AGCS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 17:37:04 -0700

Gail Hodgson wrote...

> As technical communicators, we have a responsibility to our readers to give
> them text that is as clean and correct as possible.

Hear, hear! We *do* have a responsibility to serve as a bridge between the
developers and the user, and our documentation should be as clear, simple and
concise as possible. We are "translators"...

> One of my pet peeves is new words invented by sticking an "able" or
> "ability" on the end of perfectly good words. Last week, our Marketing
> department wanted to use "low costability" or "cheapability" to describe
> one of our new products. :-(

Oooh... "marketese"! Don'tcha luv it? I agree, Gail. Everyone I've talked to
(mostly engineers) thinks "cacheable" is a confusing word, and suggests avoiding
it altogether.

Sue Gallagher writes:

> My job is to communicate with my audience as best I can.
> If there is a single word that my audience understands

Well, many network engineers I talked to understand what the writer means by
that silly word, but they don't like it. They recommend *rewriting*. Why should
you stick to that one word? Part of a tech writer's job is to WRITE. There are
many thoughtful ways to effectively convey the idea to the audience, other than
using coined words.

> The dictionary of 1890 certainly did not contain a lot
> of words that are commonplace in dictionaries of today --
> and the dictionary of 2050 will certainly contain more
> different words. It is not my job (nor, I venture to say,
> yours) to hold back evolution (whether you view it as
> progress or not is a whole different story). You may, if
> you wish, attempt to stem the flow. You won't stop it.
> And you'll become very tired and frustrated trying.

I don't think Gail is trying to hold back the evolution of the English language.
We should use grammar rules with precision, and adopt new words and phrases when
they become fully integrated and widely recognized in the venacular. Yes, our
dictionaries are constantly evolving...let's hold onto the old *while* embracing
the new.

> So, if you want to sit there with your finger in the
> dike, go right ahead. Just don't expect me to stand
> and watch you. I'll be at the other end with my
> sledge hammer.

Gee... I thought the whole idea of this list is to share ideas and help each
other. It seems like there's a lot of verbal bashing going on everywhere. Hey,
it's OK to disagree, but I don't think we need to criticize or get personal.
That sorta makes people want to get off the list, ya know?

Please save any editorial comments... in this medium, I think everyone realizes
that it is informal conversation. In this list, I see stuff w/grammar errors
from many esteemed colleagues -- so what? I'm not reading a document that went
to production here, I'm reading someone's thoughts, so I don't call it out. If,
however, you want to argue and discuss, I'm all for that. :)

Have a stress-fee day.

Marlene Reynolds, Phoenix, Arizona
Independent Contractor/Freelancer

*** Opinions expressed here are entirely my own. ***

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