RE: Display, Displays, or Appears

Subject: RE: Display, Displays, or Appears
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 09:43:02 -0400


First, to clarify, I meant that I felt the instructions should account
somehow for the situation in which the window that's expected to appear
doesn't appear because of some kind of error condition. You originally
said you felt that was outside the scope of the documentation, but I
would feel more comfortable if it were accounted for.

As far as what I said about cleaning up our documentation, it seems I
was reading something into what you said that wasn't there. Sorry. It
was late in the day and I was tired.

Our style guide doesn't explicitly address the issue of how to handle
each new occurrence of a n window, but it does says to use the passive
"is displayed" instead of "displays/" Maybe it should address the window
issue, though. I see it hasn't been updated since October 2002. I can
either raise this question privately with our editor or bring it up at
our next semi-monthly departmental meeting.


-----Original Message-----
From: Lauren [mailto:lauren -at- writeco -dot- net]

> From: Downing, David

> Okay, so you just refer to the window without explicitly saying it
> opened. That makes sense. However, I am still concerned about the
> situation where something goes wrong and the window isn't displayed as
> it should be. You say that's outside the scope of the
> instructions, but
> I'd be more comfortable if it were accounted for somehow.

Can you see your own contradiction in the above paragraph?

"Okay, so you just refer to the window without explicitly saying it
That makes sense."

"I'd be more comfortable if it were accounted for somehow."

How is the window not accounted for when it is referenced?

Do users really need to be told that a common and expected result will
when that result is referenced?

What would read better in the two example that follows? Leave it as is
announce that a window has opened after step #1? I would not construct
sentences the way Microsoft does, but Microsoft does not announce that a
window has opened and neither would I.

Create email message in Outlook
(this is taken directly from the Outlook Help file)
1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Mail Message.
2. Enter recipient names in the To: , Cc:, or Bcc: boxes.
Separate names with a semicolon (;).
To select recipient names from a list in the Address Book,
click the To or Cc button.
3. In the Subject box, type the subject of the message.
4. In the message body, type the message.
5. Set message options, if you want. Do one or more of the
> Change the importance level
> Make a message unavailable after a specified date
> Delay delivery of the message
> Save a copy of this message to a folder other than Sent
6. Click Send.

> As far as cleaning up my documentation to remove unnecessary instances
> of "The window is displayed," that, I'd have to take up with
> out editor.
> Another factor that must be considered is what your existing policies
> and style guide tell you to do.

What cleaning??? I just said count the occurrences! Clean if you want,
that has nothing to do with what I said.

So, what *does* your style guide say to do for each new occurrence of a


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RE: Display, Displays, or Appears: From: Downing, David

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