RE: Display, Displays, or Appears

Subject: RE: Display, Displays, or Appears
From: "Keith Hansen" <KRH -at- weiland-wfg -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2008 14:27:27 -0500

Ah, the "Displays vs. Appears" thread has again... appeared!

Deborah wrote:

<<The ABC dialog box appears.>>
<<- accuracy - the dialog box is not only displayed "To show, make visible
or apparent" (it wasn't hidden) - rather, it has appeared "Come into
sight or view" - nothing was there, now something is there.>>

I agree. A coworker of mine avoided "appears" like the plague, claiming it "sounds like magic--abracadabra!"

Nonsense. "Appears" just means "comes into view," which is exactly what happens here. So I use "appears."

In her eagerness to avoid "appears", my coworker tried:

"The ABC dialog box is displayed by the software."

However, this is passive voice (if I'm not mistaken--correct me if I am...). So she then tried:

"The software displays the ABC dialog box."

Now, the subject of the sentence is no longer the dialog box (which should be the center of our attention) but rather the software itself.

All this effort due to fear of "appears"...

Perhaps neither "displays" nor "appears" is right or wrong. However, you do need to pick one and consistently stick with it in your documentation.


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RE: Display, Displays, or Appears: From: Hemstreet, Deborah

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