Words making tech

Words are one of the many ways we use to communicate to each other, in our code and in daily life. As programmers, techies, and as human beings, we definitely depend on words when are unable to communicate directly: through our code and our documentation and reports, as well as instant messaging, sms, email, blogs, web pages, ... and even ... hand-written letters.

And why is a page about words in the technology section?? Because words are a technology — a tool we humans use.

in our code

In speaking we use certain conventions, or habits, so that people can understand us. In code we have to be even more careful because computers are much more stupid than people, and need things to be very clear.

In addition, if we format our code nicely and add comments, it makes it much more useful for those humans who must read it after us — even for ourselves a few weeks later!

in daily life, tech writing, web content, ...

After the Deadline - English spell, grammar, and style check

Checks spelling, misused words, style, and grammar using artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

Use as a website, FireFox add-on, WordPress plug-in.

Here's a nice article about it, with video - by Matt of WordPress: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/atd-wpcom/

And here's a bonus link for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commonly_misused_English_words Verrrry useful!!

watch out! British and English words

India uses mostly British English ... but more and more American usage is creeping in. Some words are different for the same thing. And there are differences in meaning of words — and some words mean totally the opposite in UK and US English! With the web we are all much closer together ... it's probably best not to use words that may have confusing meaning — especially if it may have completely opposite meaning.

Here's two sites that tell us about the differences:

over-complexitizing-lengthifying words

There seems to be a trend in the past few years to make words longer — and harder to say! Is this a good thing?

more info

dictionaries and word usage guides

Common Errors in English Usage
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
Elements of Style, by Strunk & White - the classic
http://www.bartleby.com/141/
The Free Dictionary
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/
Wiktionary
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page

about lengthening words, and "back-formation"

http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/e29.html
A simple explanation of "back-formation".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-formation
A more complex discussion of "back-formation", with examples.
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/b.html
Interesting discussion!
And, for people who are less uptight about language than me: http://neologasm.org/neologasm/backformation/
fun with words!
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