Returns vs. retrieves?

Subject: Returns vs. retrieves?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:54:13 -0700

John David Hickey queried <<The GET command returns/retrieves the
value of the variable as a string.>>

The correct verb depends largely on your audience. Although
"retrieves" is semantically correct, "returns" is more correct
programmer-speak. The word originates in the old BASIC
programming construct of "GOSUB" (go to the following subroutine)
and RETURN (i.e., come back from the subroutine with the data I
specified when I wrote the subroutine); it may have even earlier
roots in programming. If Richard Mateosian is monitoring the
thread, he can probably provide details, since he's got a few <g>
more years programming knowledge than I do. For a general audience,
"retrieve" is probably better, but programmers will certainly know
what you mean by "return", and will likely consider "retrieve" odd or
even wrong (e.g., I believe "retrieve" is now a keyword in some
programming languages.)
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.

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