Re: What do you assume as basic audience vocabulary?

Subject: Re: What do you assume as basic audience vocabulary?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 10:11:53 -0800

Kim McGarghan wrote:

> We just published our interim technical manual, where we used the term
> "initialize disk" rather than "format disk", especially since one of our
> functions is labeled "Initialize Disk."
>
> A few users have complained that we *should* have called this "format disk"
> instead.

George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" was published
over fifty years ago, but his basic rules hold true. One of the most
important is: never use a long word where a short one will do.

In other words, unless "initialize" carries some important meaning
than "format" doesn't, don't use it. I can't see that it does, but I
doubt I know the whole context.

For that matter, if it were up to me, I would have wracked my brain
for a single syllable word for "format" when the concept and
practice were first introduced, on the grounds that a routine task
should have a simple name. But did they ask me? Nooo...

--
Bruce Byfield, Progeny Linux Systems
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com

"Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set
And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'"
-Robert Browning

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