voice, tone, and a pair of pennies

Subject: voice, tone, and a pair of pennies
From: Bill Swallow/commsoft <wswallow -at- COMMSOFT -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 13:33:05 -0500

I agree with the choice of an active voice. I disagree with "appears".
Elna, just because you cause the view to change doesn't make things appear.
The word appear implies that something is now present when before it was
not. "Display" is technically correct, though it's seldom used correctly.
Many of the instructions I have read use "display" as follows: "Click OK.
The whatever panel displays." Now, it is not possible for anything other
than an all-powerful diety to display itself, and even that is in dispute.

The correct use of "display" is in the case where something displays
something. Either element can be implied, but not omitted or ignored.
"Click OK to display the whatever screen" implies that the screen will be
displayed by the monitor/application/whatever.

My two pennies! My two pennies!

..active voice tends to make readers feel like they're reading
rather than history.

..Look up the word "display" in a dictionary - it's defined as a
transitive verb, thus requiring an object. ... As for "appears"
having magical connotations, think of what happens when you open a door:
the rest
of the world appears, not by magic, but because you did something that
caused the
view to change.

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