Re: Periods After Whole Numbers etc.

Subject: Re: Periods After Whole Numbers etc.
From: Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 12:08:38 -0400

Frederic --

>> Insisting on placing "then" in
>> every clause starting with "if" is no help at all to the reader; it is
>> simply irritating. (The reader, if s/he is not to be pleased, should at
>> least not be annoyed.)

>Joanna, YOU are irritated, and so am I !... But what matters is not our
>opinion, neither our boss's or client's, but the user's *behaviour*.
>I'm not sure that the operator who has to concentrate on his/her task and
>not on the style of the manual, will care about the use of "then".

Well, actually, I was feeling pretty blustery yesterday, and I'm afraid I
let the list have my bluster, but it wasn't meant unkindly. Maybe I got my
cue from the autumn winds that have been flinging themselves around my
little cabin here lately, chortling and snorting and knocking everything
over, raising the dust in the road...

The reader IS the operator, as far as I know. And it is the reader/operator
I would rather not annoy. -- Not unnecessarily, in any case! ; )

>> For that reason, and because it adds unnecessary
>> characters to the line, the practice should be avoided whenever possible.

>Isn't the second reason rather specious ?....

Actually, no. I try very hard to make my manuals say what they need to say
in as few words as possible so that my reader/operators can get the
information they need without having to wade through unnecessary words.
That's because as a frequent but reluctant reader of software application
manuals I'm often left longing for such treatment myself.


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