Re: Using the word "may"

Subject: Re: Using the word "may"
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>
To: "Mr Smith" <techwritermw -at- altavista -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 16:59:00 -0500

On 1/26/2000 11:44 AM, Mr Smith (techwritermw -at- altavista -dot- com) wrote:

>"Depending on [blah], you may or may not be able to...[blah blah blah]."
>
>Any suggestions about how to rewrite? The use of "may" bothers me, but I
>haven't found a better replacement.

I'd probably say something like this:

The next step depends on the state of [blah]:

* If [blah] is purple, gently [something] it onto your [euphemism].
* If [blah] is larger than a Volkswagen Jetta, contact a physician
immediately.
* If [blah] is missing, turn off your computer and go home.

In other words, tell the user what condition to check (the state of
[blah]), then provide a bunch of nicely-formatted conditional statements.
The theory here is that by placing the "if" statement right at the
beginning, the user can scan the bulleted list for the one that applies,
and ignore the rest.

Hope this helps,
----->Mike

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