re: Preposition at Beginning or End?

Subject: re: Preposition at Beginning or End?
From: "Sean Hower" <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 07:11:37 -0700

> Keith Hansen asked:
> 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."

If it's just between the two, I'd have to say No1, but I don't like it. It should be trimmed or something.

Now that I've picked one of the options, how about "Select Country > USA" instead? ;-) Depending on your audience, of course.

> 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."
> It sounds totally wrong to begin with a preposition here--but not so
> wrong in Sentence No. 1 above. Why?

They both sound wrong to me and for the same reasons. What that reason is, I don't know. Maybe it has nothing to do with starting with "in" or "from" but has more to do with the way the sentences are written.


Ah, I know why it sounds wrong now, because it was grilled into my head to start a procedure with an verb and neither No1 nor the text-box sentence do. So that explains why the sentences sound off. Now, the only question is, without that sort of gut reaction to both being wrong, are they more concise and clear than the other options. I'd have to say yes, depending on your audience. But I would not write either sentence in that way.

That's my two cents.


Sean Hower - communications specialist

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