Re: Select and open

Subject: Re: Select and open
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 May 1995 12:09:15 -0700

Karen K writes...

> I suppose this is a simple and obvious question, but I'm having
> trouble with something I'm editing. The text says

> Select and open the file to be converted.

> Now, I get very confused when I'm reading instructions like this. When
> I see 'select', I want it to be followed immediately by the thing I'm
> supposed to be selecting. I want to change this to

> Select the file to be converted, and open it.

> But that looks way too wordy to me. So am I engaging in an excess of
> angst about something that doesn't matter, or does anyone else see the
> problem I have...and know how to solve it?


I think that part of the problem you're having with the
sentence is that it combines two distinct steps (selecting
and opening). If this is a part of procedural text (steps),
you may want to break it out.

OTOH, the author assumes that the "open" process is
obvious enough not to warrant documenting (such as
"double-click to open" or "select open from the menu"
or...). This makes me wonder why the "selecting" part
needs to be there at all. Seems to me that if the
sentence, as written, is appropriate for the target
audience, then "Open the file to be converted" would
work just as well.

So, you've got two choices... Document the procedure
completely by creating two separate steps OR eliminate
the unnecessary words and just say "open".

That's my $.02

Sue Gallagher
StarBase Corp, Irvine CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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