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I too have heard the old rule that contractions are not allowed in tech
writing, and I acutally do avoid using them, *but* we seem to be awfully
rigid in this group about how we should be writing and what our screen shots
look like, and who gets credit, etc. (oops, I shouldn't be using latin
You get the idea; rules provide a framework, but as a professional writer
with a firm grasp of the framework, you should be able to decide when to bend
the "rules" and what works best in your professional judgement. Rules of
grammar and formal writing provide a structure for the language, but I
believe writers can and should manipulate these rules as they see fit.
If you want to set an informal tone in your manuals, I say, "go for it." It's
not as if using contractions is some bold step that's never been tried
before. If you think it will help your readers relate better to the material,
then by all means do it. If we blindly follow these rules, we will never
experiment and find ways to improve the way we communicate with our