Do windows appear?

Subject: Do windows appear?
From: John Bell <johnbell -at- MNSINC -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 1996 02:14:17 -0400

Martyn Thirlway posted:

>Just to start another discussion, should one say that a window "is
>displayed", "appears", "will be displayed", or what? Personally, I think the
>future tense should not be used, and that "appears" has a rather magical
>ring about it.

I don't like the "is displayed" construction for two reasons.
1) It is a passive voice construction and I prefer active voice.
2) "display" is a transitive verb. It must be followed by a direct

It is grammatically incorrect to say "The Print window displays." You can
say "Word displays the Print window." That gets a bit tedious all the time
to keep on having to name the program that is doing the action.

I avoid the future tense in user's guides. Present tense describes what is
happening now, as the user plays with the product.

I don't used "opens" because that implies that there is a closed status.
Try as you might you can't find a closed window in a GUI environment, although
you'll find plenty in your house. When you close a GUI window it goes away,
it "disappears". That leads me to the next logical choice.

Although "appear" sounds somewhat magical, I have settled on it because it
does get the idea across and it is an intransitive verb. Thus it is
correct to say "The Print window appears."

--- John Bell
johnbell -at- mnsinc -dot- com

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