Re: on the fly

Subject: Re: on the fly
From: Phillip Wilkerson <phillipw -at- ALLENSYSGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 13:41:33 -0400

Cathy Carr <ccarr -at- OVID -dot- COM> said:
> And can an anyone suggest an alternative word or phrase to "on the fly"?

I've seen this phrase used off and on for several years. In my dept., I ask
people to stay away from it. In the first place, it is difficult to translate
this concept into other languages. Secondly, IMHO, it is, as you point out,
jargon. Third, I caution writers to avoid the tendency to overuse this (or any
other similar phrase) to the point of annoying the reader. Fourth, as a writer,
I ask myself: Am I using this (word, phrase, term) this because there is
absolutely NO better way of expressing the idea or, am I just being lazy and
picking the first (word, phrase, term) out of the air to express the idea.

The term "ad hoc" carries the same general connotation as "on the fly" but is
subject to many of the same points listed above.

Here are some Standard American English alternatives:
(Flamers: this list is not meant to be all inclusive.)

at any point during ...
whenever you need to ...
at any time ..
as frequently as needed
whenever the need arises
as the situation demands
you can <verb> when needed
as needed
throughout the procedure

Phillip C. Wilkerson
Technical Communications Manager
Allen Systems Group, Inc.
Naples, Florida
1-800-932-5536, ext. 2247
phillipw -at- allensysgroup -dot- com

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