RE: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off?

Subject: RE: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off?
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Geoff Hart" <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>, "Technical Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Nancy Allison" <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 14:17:20 -0700

Geoff Hart wrote:

> Nancy Allison wondered: <<A friend is asking me what the rule is (or
> if there is one) that determines whether you write "Turn the monitor
> off" or "Turn off the monitor.">>
>
> You're asking about the difference between a phrasal verb ("turn off")
> and a simple verb ("turn") whose explanation appears at the end of the
> sentence. Although phrasal verbs aren't always clear (mostly when
> they're idiomatic), "turn off" is clearer than the simple verb:
> someone whose English isn't too strong may wonder about (for example)
> which way they should rotate (turn) the monitor.

Even if your English is strong, when you're reading "Turn the monitor
off," the meaning of the verb remains ambiguous until you reach the end
of the sentence, at which time your mind has to reconnect "turn" and
"off." That increases the cognitive load.

Admittedly, it's a small cognitive load. But if a document contains many
such tiny "speed bumps," you'll read slower and work harder.

IMHO, etc.

Richard


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
303-223-5111
------
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
303-777-0436
------





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References:
Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off: From: Nancy Allison
Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off?: From: Geoff Hart

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