Verb Usage

Subject: Verb Usage
From: John David Hickey <jdavid -at- FARABI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 15:37:18 -0500


I'm updating a programming guide and I'm having a hard time over a verb that
keeps turning up. Maybe I can get a second opinion...

The GET command returns the value of the variable as a string.

What this command does is it goes to another part of the program, retrieves
the value, and uses it in the current function. I replaced "returns" with
"retrieves", but the reviewer didn't like it.

I'd rather use "retrieves" because it shows how the program goes to a
destination and returns with information. I don't like "returns" because
only indicates the journey back.

Is "returns" an industry standard (check out Dilbert today at for a related funny) in the programming world, or can I push
for the more accurate verb?

Please respond off-list and I'll post a summary of what I get.
Be seeing you,

John David Hickey (jdavid -at- farabi -dot- com)
DNRC Title: "Technical Writing Poohbah"

Lone Writer at Farabi Technology Corp. (Montreal, Quebec)

They say the pen is mighter than the sword.
But if you miss a deadline, you'd better bring the sword.
Do not confuse my opinons with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

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