Proposal Writing for Large Corporations

Subject: Proposal Writing for Large Corporations
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 15:00:18 -0400

Avi Jacobson <avi_jaco -at- NETVISION -dot- NET -dot- IL> wrote of the "English Teacher
Syndrome," in which engineers who spoke English as a second language refused
to accept correction of their (obvious) grammatical errors. It seems to me
that there's a strong psychological urge at work here; I just don't know what
it is.

Based on my own and others' reaction to editing, I think it's safe to say
it's not pleasant even for native English speakers to be told their work is
grammatically flawed. If I may generalize, I'm guessing that these people
would feel insecure about their grasp of English, and wouldn't want to be
corrected (thus rubbing their noses in their mistakes). You'd think they
would welcome the chance to have their mistakes caught and fixed before the
documents went public, but there you are. I would predict that the absolute
worst thing you could say to them would be the otherwise logical statement,
"You don't want this to get out and show everyone you can't write in
English." (Ouch!)

We might extend this theory to non-writers in general. Perhaps the root
motivation of people who argue grammar with writers is insecurity (assuming
the writers are right in the first place, of course!).

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Group Leader ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc, 281 Winter St., Waltham, MA 02154 USA
<jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com>, 617.672.4902 [voice], 617.890.2681 [FAX]
Home Sweet Homepage:

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Tech Writer Levels and Responsibilities (long)
Next by Author: Acrobat for a regularly updated doc?
Previous by Thread: ISO Standard for Warnings?
Next by Thread: Re: Proposal Writing for Large Corporations

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads