RE: Basic Voice ??s: OK for Software to "allow", "let", "enable", --- "pr ovide" and so forth?

Subject: RE: Basic Voice ??s: OK for Software to "allow", "let", "enable", --- "pr ovide" and so forth?
From: Watson Laughton <WLaughton -at- orphan -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 09:46:50 -0600

>>To say a CSF grants me permission to do
>>something implies that it has power over me, and insults my
>>humanity. The question is whether the CSF is *able* to do
>>what *I want* it to do... If not, I'll find
>>another tool. I am in control here.

<oh, sigh>. <oh, big sigh>.

To say that "entering the secret password allows you to enter the Pentagon
database" is not imprecise, insulting, formally incorrect, nor guilty of
using unecessarily baroque language. In some instances, one may "do"
something oneself; in others, a "CSF" (thought that stood for cerebrospinal
fluid) may "allow you to do" something. While straw constructs like a
toaster toasting your bread, or a prosthetic leg walking for you (none of
which were included in the examples accompanying the original question), may
be grist for the hearty banter mill, avoiding all instances of "x allows you
to do y" would appear to be in the same class of formulaic writing as "never
end a sentence with a preposition", or "always use active voice" (which the
CSF _IS_ engaging in by allowing the hapless computer user <HCU> to "do"

Regardless of one's control over mindless machines or one's ingenuity in
finding ways of circumventing the recommended way of doing things, inserting
a text box (or whatever we're supposed to call them now) DOES "allow you" to
enter text at the point where the text box appears. There may be other ways
to enter text, and particularly senstitive users may be offended by the
failure to recognize that they could, if all else fails, take a sharpie
marker and simply write on the screen. However, saying to say that
"inserting a text box allows you to enter text" would not appear to be
imprecise, incorrect, insulting, or baroque.

It all depends on the context.


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