Re: grammar survey

Subject: Re: grammar survey
From: Dan Xiong Ding <dxding -at- RS6000 -dot- CMP -dot- ILSTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 00:53:30 -0500

Folks and Chris:
Each of the versions is grammatically correct. However, these versions
differ from each other *stylistically*. We can talk about the style
endlessly. For example, version #1 suggests that the writer prefers the term
"finished," which indicates a more complicated state of of mind of the
writer than the term "done" found in versions # 2 and 4. Also, "finished" is
more formal than "done." Probably the writer chooses to render the
instruction more formal. The comma after "finished" suggests that the writer
pauses (or would like readers to pause) after "finished" and the action of
pressing END is added as a choice of action. That is, when the writer starts
writign the first part of the sentence, she or he is not sure what action
readers should take after "finished." She or he realizes that they should
press END *only after* "finished." We could keep discussing the stylistic
differences for hours. But my point is that when it comes to style, there is
no question of right or wrong, but only personal preference.
Dan Ding
English Department
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240

At 02:16 PM 5/17/98 -0400, Chris H. wrote:
>Hi gang -
>Vote for your favorite:
>1) When finished, press END.
>2) When done, press END.
>3) Press END when finished.
>4) Press END when done.
>There's a raging debate here on my technical review team as to which is
>the correct construction. Some don't like "when done" as it makes them
>think we're baking a cake, others don't like "when finished" and are
>adamant that "when done" is perfectly acceptable. Some want the action
>to be taken at the front of the sentence, others want the time to take
>the action at the front of the sentence.
>I've heard and read plenty of good arguments for each construction and
>am wondering how you folks feel about them.
>Chris Welch-Hutchings
>Sr. Technical Writer
>Home Wireless Networks, Inc.
>Norcross GA (USA)
>cwhutchings -at- homewireless -dot- com
Dan Ding
Department of English
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4240
Normal, IL 61790-4240
dxding -at- rs6000 -dot- cmp -dot- ilstu -dot- edu
Tel: (309) 438-3726
"The passive voice is not passive at all."

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