TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:RE: within vs. in From:"Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net> To:<Gause_Brian -at- emc -dot- com>, <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, <Tammy -dot- VanBoening -at- healthlanguage -dot- com> Date:Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:45:19 -0800
> From: Gause_Brian -at- emc -dot- com
> I agree with Janice. You are the writer. You have final say on words.
I thought the customer-project sponsor-document owner had final say in how
the documentation is presented. My experience is that writers can state
what they think is best, but the final product and its content is determined
by the product's owner who is not usually the writer when an SME is
If the OP is the owner of the document, then she would have final say on
words; otherwise, she does not. Although, support for an argument to use
"in" rather than "within" can help her make her case about the convention to
Personally, I think that the choice of words depends on the context of the
usage of the words. An example was not provided by the OP to help make a
case one way or the other. I can easily think of cases where "within" is
not best represented by "in." Examples follow.
"Tasks 1-3 are *within* the project scope; however, tasks 4-7 fall *outside*
of the project scope."
"Within" and "inside" are essentially interchangeable, but they have
different connotations. "Inside" seems to refer to a physical relation to a
specific structure, whereas, "within" is a conceptual relation to a state or
For example, "within the walls of a building," means "in the building."
Here, to say, "in the walls of the building" would have an entirely
different meaning than to say "within the walls of the building." Termites
can be in the walls, but not within the building. Saying, "within the
walls" has more drama than saying "in the building," so there is a possible
reason to choose one term over the other.
"Inside" and "outside" are direct opposites, just as "in" and "out" are
We would not state that tasks are "out of the project scope," we state that
they are "outside the project scope." If we use "outside," then its
opposite is "inside," but "inside" is physical and "within" in conceptual,
so we should use "within" in reference to a task's status in a project
scope. Now here, we have a use for "in a project scope." "Tasks are
described as either 'within' or 'outside' in a project scope document."
My suggestion is to see what reads best and make a case for that term. If
the undesired term is requested by the customer, then rewrite the sentence
until the customer's term reads well. Arguing with the customer is rarely
Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-