RE: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off

Subject: RE: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off
From: Andrew Warren <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: Jay Maechtlen <techwriter -at- covad -dot- net>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 04:37:07 -0800

I wrote:

> "Turn off the monitor" is preferable precisely because splitting "turn" from "off"
> will make the reader expect "around". It would be bad, for example, to write:
>
> 1. Turn the monitor around.
> 2. Turn the keyboard around.
> 3. Turn the mouse around.
> 4. Turn the motion-sensitive bomb detonator off without moving or rotating it.

and Jay Maechtlen [techwriter -at- covad -dot- net] replied:

> hmmm - sorry, I think those are perfectly good statements.
> Although, for item 4, I might just leave the task for someone else!

Sorry, I should have made it more clear that those were meant to be read as four
steps in a procedure. I agree that the first three are perfectly good statements,
but since they condition the reader to expect another "turn .... around" in
step 4, the direction to remove power from the detonator should have been
written differently: without splitting "turn off".

> "turn off the monitor"?
> ugly!

I don't think so. Regardless, you'll write uglier sentences if you always choose to
split the verb: "Turn the monitor on the top shelf, second from the left, in the third
row back off."

-Andrew
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References:
RE: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off: From: Andrew Warren
Re: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off: From: Jay Maechtlen

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