"See" and "Utilize" -Reply

Subject: "See" and "Utilize" -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 17:23:11 -0800

Kathy Fisher (thank you, Kathy) writes: If I see the word "see" used
ONE MORE TIME in documentation to reference another document I'm
gonna lose my lunch! We "see" with our eyes. We "refer" to a

I say: Nah, come on, lighten up, Kathy. See is but English for vide
(VEEday), the Latin imperative meaning "see," which is what polite
scholars used to tell each other to do when referencing. "Refer to"
is needlessly throwing ink around, like saying "utilize" when "use"
would do.

Kathy says: I also wish the word "utilize" would be permanently
banned and replaced with "use." The trend in technical writing is
less is better. Why use $64,000-dollar words when a $5-dollar word
will do the trick???

I say: Unjustified. Check your dictionary. While I agree too many
people use utilize erroneously, there can be times when utilize is
the better word. It depends on what you are talking about and how
big it is and how much it does for you. You would use a toothbrush
to brush your teeth, but you might well utilize a program of
brushing, flossing, and rinsing to control all the bad things that
could happen inside your mouth, for example.

Bill Sullivan
bsullivan -at- deltecpower -dot- com
San Diego, California

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