Re: Is (s) allowed?

Subject: Re: Is (s) allowed?
From: "James R. Hay" <jrhay -at- HAYA -dot- QC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 01:08:35 -0500

On Tue, 4 Mar 1997, Jean Weber wrote:

> One could argue, I suppose, that some users will not understand that the
> plural includes the singular. On the other hand, in this particular case at
> least, some users could interpret "the proper drive(s)" as "the proper
> drive, which is the s drive." (Don't laugh. It's happened.) As with almost
> everything else, it depends on your audience.
>
> In most cases, I would simply say,
>
> "The host computer will move the data from the cache module to the proper
> drives."
>
> If you believe it is necessary to explicitly state "one or more drives," or
> "the proper drive or drives," then say so. Just don't use (s).

While I am Canadian and prefer Canadian spellings and styles wherever
possible this seems to be a universal problem which would depend on the
audience. Surely in this case the form you use will depend on the
likelihood of your audience misunderstanding what you are trying to say.
If they are expected to have a good knowledge of Engilsh to the standard
of the average person who grew up with English as a first language, then I
would think the plural will do nicely. If you are dealing with folks with
a lesser knowledge it may be a different story. As someone said before,
you know your audience.

James R. Hay jrhay -at- haya -dot- qc -dot- ca
James R. Hay and Associates
P.O. Box 46003 ax25: ve2ve -at- ve2tcp#mtl -dot- pq -dot- can -dot- noam
Pointe Claire, QC amprnet: ve2ve -at- ve2tcp -dot- ampr -dot- org
H9R 5R4

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