Re: on vs in

Subject: Re: on vs in
From: dski -at- CAMEONET -dot- CAMEO -dot- COM -dot- TW
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 1996 13:28:56 GMT

Back when folks said and wrote what came naturally, commands and other
information were invariably described as being "in" this menu or that menu.

Then the sharpies moved in and decided that every trace of abstraction
should be removed from computer screens and descriptions of them. Everything
must look like, and be treated as, a familiar physical object.

"On the menu" started creeping into software manuals. It has gained much
ground, but its victory is far from complete. Even its perpetrators have
difficulty using it consistently. A 1991 MS-DOS manual has both "in the xxx
menu" and "on the xxx menu" (it also has "in the menu bar").

"The commands on the xxx menu" jars very badly on me. Long before Stewart
Walker posted his question, I asked friends how they felt about this usage.
They said it jars on them too.

For what it's worth, here are the results of four Alta Vista searches I just
carried out:
World Wide Web Usenet
in-the-file-menu 143 hits 138 hits
on-the-file-menu 144 hits 78 hits

Dan Strychalski dski -at- cameonet -dot- cameo -dot- com -dot- tw

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