Re: Your opinions again, please

Subject: Re: Your opinions again, please
From: "David H. Citron" <dcitron -at- INCA -dot- GATE -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 10:58:52 -0400

mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com wrote:
: > 1. The system (or name of application) displays the XYZ screen.
: > 2. The XYZ screen is displayed.
: > 3. The XYZ screen displays.

: I would use "The XYZ screen appears". 1 is cumbersome, 2 is passive, 3 is
: grammatically incorrect ("display" is transitive, and takes an object,
: unless you're talking about mating birds).

I agree, for all the same reasons. "Select 1 to foobar. The XYZ screen
appears." is the most concise way to treat the situation -- and the only
approach I ever use.

I had to chuckle about the part (deleted) about "appears" denoting
magical qualities. It reminds me of an editor I once worked with at
IBM (please don't ask me his name -- he's a nice guy and an excellent
editor otherwise!) who would not allow possessives in any documentation.
He contended that that would be imputing human qualities to inamimate
objects. (I'm paraphrasing, of course!) All those occurrances of "of the"
really made a document awkward!
David H. Citron
Technical Writer / Journalist / Copywriter
Can you trust a government that subsidizes tobacco and tries to outlaw
vitamins to make intelligent choices about YOUR health care?
D e f e a t A L L I n c u m b e n t s i n 1 9 9 4

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