Re: USAGE: "Therefore" and "thus"

Subject: Re: USAGE: "Therefore" and "thus"
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 17:39:55 GMT

In article <8525653D -dot- 005E0C54 -dot- 00 -at- web_srv -dot- coreco -dot- com>, Emru Townsend
<emru -at- CORECO -dot- COM> writes:
|> I'm running into a stylistic problem here.


|> Anyway, my question: in many of the documents, I see gleeful overuse of
|> "therefore" and "thus."


|> I'm currently looking for
|> ways around these terms, but most of the time, I'm stumped. The words
|> accurately convey the intended meaning, but they just seem wrong.


Picking the right alternatives depends a lot on what your audience
expects. However, in the past, I have had luck using rhetoric which
discusses the importance or the implications of a fact rather than
simply exposing causality. A lot of times, the "thus" or the "therefore"
is part of an awkward, wordy, passive, or incomplete construction. In
cases like that, you have to rewrite.

For example, the passage:

"Objects you write cannot be instantiated or executed without CREATE and
RUN methods. Therefore, CREATE and RUN methods providing the correct
functionality must be developed." a candidate for rewriting, and here's one possible solution:

"When you write your own object, your CREATE method must create the
record and catalog entry neccessary to define an application. Your RUN
method must recognize and correctly interpret the values of instance
variables it finds in the catalog entry for your application."

The second passage eliminates the "therefore", and provides information
the reader might find useful. The causality is still apparent, but the
second passage gives the reader an augmented version with facts the
documentation should be revealing.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Good luck.


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