Re: "always read and follow the instructions"

Subject: Re: "always read and follow the instructions"
From: "technical writing plus" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 11:34:24 -0600

Methinks that strictly speaking you are correct.

However, I think that their instruction 'Always ...' is a good attempt to
enlist the user or reader's cooperation.

If this particular instruction were to sound very cut and dried, as many
instructions do indeed sound this way, then the user might stop reading. It
might turn him or her off. And most people do not read the manual.

Jim Jones

-----Original Message-----
When I see a statement in a manual such as "Always read and follow the
instructions in this manual", two thoughts come to mind:

- Following the instructions in the manual (i.e. the ones actually in
the manual, not the instructions you imagine) presupposes having
learned them, so the direction to "read" them is redundant.
- Telling someone to "do x" with no qualifiers provides no options,
so the modifier "always" is redundant.

Do you think "always read and follow the instructions" is likely to be
more effective than "follow the instructions"? Do you think it depends
on the context?


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