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Re: proposed change to dialog example in HTML5 section 4.6.26

From: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2008 11:33:39 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: public-html@w3.org

At 03:44 PM 12/8/2008 +0000, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
>a contraction is an abbreviated form; this particular contraction is
>non-standard english (the presumed natural language declared for the
>example), so where's the problem with using ABBR?  why should encasing
>"watcha" in an ABBR be "wrong"?

Right and wrong don't really capture what I was trying to convey.

Sure, if you want to dig into semantics, then a contraction is one way
to abbreviate a word or phrase, and thus ABBR is suitable for "whatcha".

As a technical writer and editor who has often been responsible for
ensuring that a document conforms with editing guidelines, especially
as it pertains to correctly indexing the document, I have to say that
I would find it particularly unhelpful to markup contractions as

Many style guides require first use of abbreviations to spelled out
in full in the text with the abbreviation in parantheses following,
such as "the World WideWeb Consortium (W3C)".

That's not to say that I would forbid the other use, I just would not
promote it because I would find it to be counter-productive.

It is more common in print media to italicize an phrase that is
in a foreign language or the vernacular to distinguish it from
the surrounding text in such a way that readers recognize it
as an uncommon phrase.

Abbreviations, on the other hand, are typically rendered in small-caps
so that the abbreviation does not tower above the rest of the text.

Just my $0.02 worth.
Received on Monday, 8 December 2008 16:34:06 UTC

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