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From: Edward Diener (eldiener_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-12-14 13:08:09

David Abrahams wrote:
> Edward Diener <eldiener_at_[hidden]> writes:
>> Sorry, but as a former literature major I can't help it:
>> "Start with libs/index.html if you're looking for the whole enchilada."
>> should be in proper English
>> "Start with libs/index.html if you're looking for the beginning of the
>> entire documentation."
> As an inveterate stickler for precise criticism, I have to object.
> What I wrote is proper English; it just happens to use a
> colloquialism.

"Proper English" is a relative term, based on the context in which it
occurs. When you are writing a technical document you want to be as
clear and precise as possible. Colloquialisms tend to blur that
preciseness. In the case of "the whole enchilada" you are using a
colloquialism which badly blurs what you mean in favor of the idea that
the reader should just intuitively understand what you are trying to
say. If you do believe that, you should just leave out the expression
connected to the explanation entirely, since you are telling the
end-user next to nothing by using it except that you can use a
colloquialism which generally has a humorous connotation. Years ago
people might have used the phrase "the whole kit and kaboodle". Maybe
today it is "the whole enchilada" or something even more commonly used.
Neither of those phrases go over well in serious technical
documentation, and the effort to be precise and helpful to end users. In
casual speech, or e-mails most people use such language, but the effort
to write technical documentation should set a higher standard. Of course
it is your document and your decision, but I think such language is not
proper English in its context.

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