Re: Verb Usage

Subject: Re: Verb Usage
From: Roy Anderson <royanderson -at- MINDSPRING -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 23:27:50 -0500

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

Nice! The above is a concise, elegant phrase which makes sense to any
programmer. Someone wants to modify the phrase? Say it ain't so. :-)

This former mainframe systems engineering manager assures you that
"returns" is the proper verb and is an industry convention. Believe
it or not, GET "gets" a value in storage and "returns" it to the
associated argument/variable/field. Programmers understand these
things. "Returns" has been a part of programming lingo since I
started coding in 1967.

> 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.

"GET" goes to the destination and "returns" makes the journey back. :-)

> but the reviewer didn't like it.

No joke! You are unnecessarily tweaking a programming convention. Your
reviewer is absolutely correct. I'd throw a creamy pie at you for even
suggesting such an edit. (Grin.)

> ...can I push for the more accurate verb?

Oh, God, there is a scary thought!

I know it's difficult thing but please trust your SMEs on the use of
programming conventions.

Good luck! I'll be praying for the programmers. Hahaha.

Roy

John David Hickey wrote:
>
> Greetings!
>
> 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
> www.dilbert.com 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,
>
> Dave
> ---
> John David Hickey (jdavid -at- farabi -dot- com)
> http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Hills/7829/
> DNRC Title: "Technical Writing Poohbah"

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