Re: Is use of "(s)" allowed?

Subject: Re: Is use of "(s)" allowed?
From: Mona Albano <Mona -dot- Albano -at- PROMIS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 14:21:21 -0600

Michael Graham <graham -at- PEAKS -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
said:
"The host computer will move the data from the cache module to the proper
drive(s)."

Question: is it proper to use (s)? If not, what are other structures seem
appropriate?
-----------------------------

You can say "to a drive or drives," which at least avoids the parentheses.
Techies are likely to think that "drives" excludes "drive," since they tend
to assume an exclusive or. (That leads to the spread of "and/or" even
though "or" includes "and." You could use "one or more drives," but it
sounds over-precise.

I would drop "proper." It's one of those motherhood adjectives put
in like legalese for insurance, but where the converse is absurd. If
the host computer is going to move the data to an improper drive,
that's out of the scope of a simple description of how the system works
on a good day.

I would probably drop "will" as well. My descriptions occur in
an eternal present with everything going right on the first pass. That is,
"the system does blah" not "the system will attempt to do blah."
It's grammatically simpler.

Mona Albano, tech writer & editor
mona -dot- albano -at- promis -dot- com (til Oct. 3)

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