RE: Wrong? Poor style? OK?

Subject: RE: Wrong? Poor style? OK?
From: Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 10:17:18 -0400


> > Does this sentence violate a grammatical principle, is it stylistically
> > poor, or is it OK, in your opinion:
> >
> > "There are two ways to control how test results are saved."
>
> What about
>
> "There are two ways to save test results." ?


Some of the discussion on this thread has been interesting (and some has been somewhat over the top), but what everybody has been missing so far is that none of the proposed alternatives actually say what the original did. All the alternatives have focused on two ways of saving test results, while the original wording refers to two different *means of controlling* how the results are saved. A common scenario that is consistent with the original wording is an application that supports both GUI and command-line interfaces to the save operation. It's possible that the "ways to save the test results" could actually encompass a dozen or more permutations of media/location, file type, and results filtering. All we know from the original sentence without any surrounding context is that there are two ways *of controlling* whatever save options actually exist.

Now it may be that the original statement is actually incorrect, and really was supposed to say that exactly two ways of saving results existing. But we don't know that for sure (without querying an SME or trying the application first-hand) and must therefore be very careful about changing its meaning when rewording to make it sound better. Accuracy has to be a higher priority than producing pretty (or punchy) prose.



-Fred Ridder
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References:
Wrong? Poor style? OK?: From: Nancy Allison
Re: Wrong? Poor style? OK?: From: voxwoman

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