"Type" vs. "Enter" (take II)

Subject: "Type" vs. "Enter" (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 16:01:16 -0400

Bonnie Granat reports: <<The Third Edition of MMOS says this: Via: Via implies a geographic context. Avoid using via as a synonym for by, through, or by means of. Use the most specific term instead.>>

This clearly illustrates yet another frequently heard complaint about MMOS: The authors demonstrate an appalling level of ignorance of modern usage, and seem unfamiliar with the concept of consulting a modern dictionary.

Although "via" did indeed have a primarily geographical context in Roman times (the word literally means "way", so "via Appia" is the Appian Way = road), the word has been broadly accepted for the past 1000 years or so* to mean "way" in a less literal sense. Although some might argue, with some justification, that "via" is an informal and possibly sloppy way to say "by means of", the word is nonetheless broadly accepted in this sense.

* I'd wager the Romans, who knew something about turning a clever phrase, also used the word metaphorically, but not being a Latin scholar, I can't say this with any certainty.

See the Random House Unabridged and American Heritage (4th edn.) dictionaries for support of this viewpoint. For that matter, see just about any dictionary other than MMOS, which seems to feel it is necessary to set their own standards for how words should be used, irrespective of whether anyone else agrees.

--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)


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