Re: Left hand side (fwd)

Subject: Re: Left hand side (fwd)
From: Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- CFN -dot- CS -dot- DAL -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 15:14:51 -0400

Consider:
"on the right side of the equation ..."
vs.
"on the right side of the law ..." or "on the right side of the box ..."
(vs. the wrong side of the law or the box)

Could be confusing to semi-literate (which is most of us, when we're
reading in a hurry). Better, IMHO, to use

"to the right of the equation ..."
"you'll find the Stop key to the right of the Go key"
"click the button on the right-hand side of the panel"

Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- cfn -dot- cs -dot- dal -dot- ca>

On Wed, 15 Feb 1995, Bill Burns wrote:

> Bev Parks asks:

> >> Does anyone else out there have a problem with saying

> "...on the left hand side of...." (or right hand side; no matter)?

> Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I have to write to an audience
> with widely divergent reading skills. My first basic rule is to eliminate as
> many high-register terms from my vocabulary (mostly Latin and French
> derivatives) as I can. My second rule is to retain familiar orientation cues
> such as "right-hand side." When I refer operators to the keypad on the
> left-hand side, they can relate to body position rather than machine
> orientation. As long as the phrases are not slang or jargon, I don't see any
> harm in using them. The user's familiarity of the language can help us get
> the meaning across.

> These rules of mine desn't work in all instances, and they aren't
> appropriate for all audiences. (I certainly don't depend on them when I write
> literary criticism.) Sometimes, however, technical writing is not about
> brevity but about clarity, and brief isn't always clear.

> This discussion reminds me of when I used to play music gigs around the
Pacific
> Northwest. When we would set up the light show, the lighting director would
> always tell us to put such and such on the left side of the stage. He always
> meant STAGE left, of course. He finally got so sick of people placing his
> stage-left lighting equipment on stage right that he started referring only to
> stage left or stage right.

> Bill Burns *
> Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * "Purgamentum init,
> Micron Technology, Inc. * exit purgamentum."
> Boise, ID *
> WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Henricus Barbatus


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