Preposition at Beginning or End?

Subject: Preposition at Beginning or End?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Keith Hansen <KRH -at- weiland-wfg -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:51:25 -0400

Keith Hansen wondered: <<Which sentence do you prefer: Sentence No.
1: "From the Country drop-down list, select USA." Sentence No. 2:
"Select USA from the Country drop-down list.">>

Both are acceptable, but the first is nominally superior because it
tells the reader where to look; in the second, the reader must hold
the action ("select") in their head while they figure out where the
action must take place. But for such short phrases, that's largely a
theoretical objection. I doubt that there's any practical
significance to the difference, and that it's more important to be

Note, however, that this query doesn't really have much to do with
prepositions. <g>

<<ALSO: Consider this sentence: * "Click in the Name text box and
type your name." I would never write this sentence: * "In the Name
text box, click and type your name.">>

Again, both are correct, but this time the second option follows the
abovementioned principles, and is arguably superior. But "click" and
"click in" aren't necessary in either option. Readers who don't
already know how to click to position the cursor in an input field
aren't going to be helped much by the rest of your instructions.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Capitalization question - Microsoft Manual of Style: From: Rob Hudson
Re: Capitalization question - Microsoft Manual of Style: From: Dana Worley
Preposition at Beginning or End?: From: Keith Hansen

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