atw: Re: Mouses??

So much for calming the waters. It looks as if I've sent Bruce stomping 
off in disgust. 

In case you do read this, Bruce, I understand that for some reason this is 
a hotspot for you, but I'm not trying to undermine your 18-year-long 
reputation. I was quite ready to accept that you may know something about 
this that I don't. (In fact, I'm quite ready to accept that almost anyone 
may know more about this than I do.)

However, you say: 
> 'Mouses' is recognized
> as the ONLY form in both the Macquarie and the Oxford. This was pointed
> out in two previous emails in the thread.

Checking the relevant posts on this list , I found the following:

> SOED (4th Ed.) shows the
> following:

> mouse, Pl. mice, in sense 4 *also* mouses
> Sense 4: Any of various objects regarded as resembling a mouse in shape
> or appearance; spec. (b) 'Computing' a small hand-held device moved over
> a flat surface to produce a corresponding movement of a cursor or arrow
> on a VDU, usu. Having fingertip controls for selecting a function or
> entering a command.

and

> Macquarie dictionary (revised 3rd Edition): 

>   /mows/ noun, plural mice /muys/; *also* for defs 5 and 6 mouses
> /'mowsuhz/.
[5 and 6 are the computer-related definitions]

I didn't add the word 'also' - it was there in both the original posts. On 
my reading of these, both say that 'mice' is a plural in all cases, but 
for computer uses there's ALSO an alternative form 'mouses'. So how can I 
or anyone interpret this as saying that 'mouses' is the ONLY recognised 
form?
So far I've seen nothing to suggest that any authority has proposed a 
definitive usage. But I don't claim any special knowledge - in fact, I've 
not had much occasion to work with documents in which this term is used - 
so I'm *still* open to persuasion.

And if it turns out that you're right and I've somehow missed the boat and 
'mouses' has been officially approved and is in general use, but I just 
didn't know about it, well, OK, I apologise for questioning you and let's 
turn our attention elsewhere. 

But if you choose to stick to your guns and leave it where it is, well, 
that's fine with me too. Probably everyone else is bored stiff with the 
discussion anyway.

Howard 



Howard Silcock
Technical Writer
ADI Limited
Electronic Systems
1 Phipps Close, Deakin, ACT 2600
Ph. +61 2 6234 6075
Fax +61 2 6234 6011
Email: howard.silcock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Web page: www.adi-limited.com.au 




"I-Ashley, Bruce" <bruce.ashley@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent by: austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
03/10/2006 11:53 AM
Please respond to austechwriter

 
        To:     <austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
        cc: 
        Subject:        atw: Re: Mouses??


(Sorry list ... this is my last comment on the issue)

Hi Howard,

You said: "But if you can provide evidence that 'mouses' is not only
acceptable but recognized as the standard form, I'll retreat
gracefully."

I shouldn't have to tell you how to suck eggs but 'Mouses' is recognized
as the ONLY form in both the Macquarie and the Oxford. This was pointed
out in two previous emails in the thread. If this word is too
uncomfortable, then avoid its use.

Also, if you have more definitive works than these two dictionaries, I'd
like to know what they are because they are certainly unknown to me.

As for pomposity, I think you've lost the point. This is simply a matter
of using the correct word as defined in a dictionary and not inventing
your own or promoting the incorrect use of a word frequently used
incorrectly.

Remember that we are technical writers. Entrepreneurial language should
come from journalists, jingo writers or advertising copy writers, not
us. We should be defending the language to allow standardization,
consistency and a clear understanding of the message we are trying to
get across.

As such, there is no like/dislike about the use of mice/mouses, there is
simply a right and a wrong based on the definitions found in a
dictionary.

As a technical writer, you should understand this. 

As for teeth/tooths et al., we are all aware of the idiosyncrasies of
the language but unless you intend to declare yourself a greater
reference source than our main dictionaries, learn to use what is
already there.

And one final thing Howard, I don't particularly care if you need
evidence other than the clear, succinct references in two major
dictionaries or if you think it bizarre to need to defend the incorrect
use of a word, or for that matter, if you will retreat gracefully when
more proofs are offered, because I have made my living, in part, over
the last 18 years, correcting these sort of errors.

There is nothing personal here Howard, I just think that on this one
occasion, you are defending the indefensible and by doing so, you are
sending the wrong message out.

Cheers,

Bruce


-----Original Message-----
From: Howard.Silcock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:Howard.Silcock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:25 AM
To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: atw: Re: Mouses??

Well, after a long weeked to recover from the pressure of work, perhaps
I 
can calm the waters a bit. I hope Melanie's and Michael Granat's efforts

to lighten us up have an effect too. Good on you, guys, for refusing to 
take the subject too seriously! Who would think that those little
devices 
(whatever we call them) could be the cause of such disagreement!

Thank you, too, to Janice for responding to my earnest request for
someone 
to explain what it is that people dislike about 'mice'. I do agree with 
you that it's a good idea to avoid distracting the reader with usage 
that's going to create a 'jar', whenever we can easily do so. I'm a bit 
surprised that you think using 'mice' would be an instance of that - but
I 
guess that's a matter for individual judgment. On the other hand, I 
definitely agree with you that using 'mouses' could be jarring - it jars

like anything for me. And 'mouse devices' jars almost as much. 

Bruce and I appear to be alike in having strong opinions on this issue -

perhaps stronger than the subject calls for, but others can judge that.
My 
strong opinions come from a dislike of pomposity and a preference for 
technical language to be as close to 'normal' usage as possible. Bruce 
seems to think I'm trying to fight a battle that's long ago been lost.
If 
you can give me some evidence of this, Bruce, I'll be happy to look at
it 
- what I've seen so far appears to suggest that both usages are
acceptable 
at present, so I thought it was a good time to bring the subject up. The

idea of having to 'defend' the plural 'mice' seems bizarre to me - as I 
said before, it seems like defending the use of 'teeth' against 'tooths'

for the objects we find on gears or combs. But if you can provide
evidence 
that 'mouses' is not only acceptable but recognised as the standard
form, 
I'll retreat gracefully.

Howard

Howard Silcock
Technical Writer
ADI Limited
Electronic Systems
1 Phipps Close, Deakin, ACT 2600
Ph. +61 2 6234 6075
Fax +61 2 6234 6011
Email: howard.silcock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Web page: www.adi-limited.com.au 




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