Re: Old thread, hopefully new spin on "allow" v. "enable."

Subject: Re: Old thread, hopefully new spin on "allow" v. "enable."
From: "Chris Jackson" <crassick -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
To: Ron Rhodes <RRhodes -at- fourthchannel -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2000 09:41:10 -0500

From the Apple Style Guide (98):

*allow* Avoid using *allow* when you can restructure a sentence so that the
reader is the subject.

Correct: FileMaker Pro allows you to create a database.
Preferable: With FileMaker Pro you can create a database.


From the Microsoft Manual of Style (98):


Avoid *allow* in the sense of a program permitting a user to do something,
especially in end-user documentation. Use *you can* if possible. However,
you can use *allow* or *enable* in instances where you must use the third

Microsoft Exchange allows a user to log on as a guest.
The function allows the program to print lists of files.
Using this function, you can print lists of files.

See also Anthropomorphism, can vs. may, enable.

[For *enable*, the MS Guide states that it is "acceptable in the sense of a
programmer setting the guidelines for making a command available." It then
repeats the info under *allow*.]


I'm not a big fan of the salespeak of "With WonderProduct, you can . . . !",
but I think the point of anthropomorphism is worth considering.

Chris Jackson

>From: Ron Rhodes <RRhodes -at- fourthchannel -dot- com>
>To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
>Subject: Old thread, hopefully new spin on "allow" v. "enable."
>Date: Tue, Mar 7, 2000, 9:42 AM

>I have used the word "allow" throughout my career as a tech-writers. And I
>really don't have a problem with it even now. But I am wondering if perhaps
>"enable" is better when documenting software applications.


Previous by Author: Re: Marketing's Role
Next by Author: Re: Curious printing problem (PRN files)
Previous by Thread: RE: Old thread, hopefully new spin on "allow" v. "enable."
Next by Thread: RE: Old thread, hopefully new spin on "allow" v. "enable."

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads