Re: Harsh criticism needed

by John Garside <jqg(at)>

 Date:  Tue, 11 Jan 2005 18:40:20 +0100
 To:  hwg-critique(at)
 In-Reply-To:  louisville
  todo: View Thread, Original
At around 10:42 11-01-2005 -0500, Dennis J Keibler wrote, in part 
>So fwiw (in the U.S.) ...
>The expression et cetera is usually avoided in formal writing; a phrase 
>such as "and so on" would be used instead. When etc. is used to close a 
>series, a comma is placed before and after the expression (except at the 
>end of a sentence).
>In your web page text, I'm not sure what "agree dates" are, but this is 
>probably a cultural difference. I'm guessing an Agree Date is like a Time 
>Line. Is that correct? Or, reading it another way, do you mean you agree 
>upon dates for delivery?
>Some other ways to construct the paragraph would be:
>-  Once we have an idea of your training goals, we work with you to 
>determine the exact nature of your requirements and design a suitable 
>solution. We then prepare the detailed programme and agree dates for delivery.
>-  Once we understand your specific training requirements and goals, we 
>prepare the detailed programme, a time line, project deliverables, and so 
>on, for your review.
>The variations could go on and on, but the point is that the sentences 
>can be written in such a way that any ambiguity is avoided.
>I hope you know I'm not trying to criticize your writing. I know my own 
>writing is far from perfect. Rather, I'm offering my perspective as a 
>fellow website creator from the U.S.

Thanks again Dennis.

To take your last point, the perspective from across the pond -- and 
globally -- is very important. This site is far from alone in being aimed 
at a worldwide audience. It's all too easy, even now in the Net Age, to 
assume that other species of English native -- let alone non-natives -- 
will have the same understanding as one's mates!

In this instance, I would not have considered that "agree" would be read 
as anything but a verb, nor that "etc." was more informal than "and so 
on". (On this second point, I actually think the 'voice' of this website 
overall is *too* formal; a more human, personal feel might differentiate 
it better.)

This list (Do you say board in the States?) is handy for assessing the 
global-ness of the language as well for all the other aspects of a website.

On the subject of global-ness, I can thoroughly recommend Rachel 
McAlpine's _Global English for Global Business_.


john g

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