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Subject:Re: Perform vs. do From:Paul W Goddard <paulwgoddard -at- gmail -dot- com> To:Barbara Philbrick <caslon -at- windstream -dot- net> Date:Sun, 13 Oct 2013 09:53:44 -0700
You have gotten lots of advice for your question. A couple thoughts about
simplicity and ESL factors. "Do is a simple direct verb that is usually
used in the imperative. Simpler vocabulary assists i ESL understanding.
Perform can carry additional implications that can create confusion. To
perform, usually means to get in front of people and do an act of some
sort; sing a song, recite a poem, etc. Using in it in a tech writing
context makes sense in that context and sounds good to the native speaker's
ear, but is can create confusion.
In addition, those who advocate dropping the imperative phrase, "do such
and such" are assuming their audience is as astute as they are. You really
can't make that assumption. Indeed, I could see a legal case being decided
on whether the user was explicitly told to do something as opposed to
implying they should do it.
On Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 6:07 AM, Barbara Philbrick <caslon -at- windstream -dot- net>wrote:
> Our writing group is trying to decide if we should start using "do"
> instead of "perform" for lead-in statements to procedures.
> For example:
> "To set the language, do the following steps:"
> compared to:
> "To set the language, perform the following steps:"
> Using "do" sounds odd to our ears, but plain language guidelines recommend
> it and we can't find any grammatical reason why it's wrong.
> Another consideration is that our audience is heavily English as second
> language readers (especially Asian languages).
> Have any of you found substantive reasons to use one or the other?
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