TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Whenever I am unsure as to what the correct usage of a word is,
writing situations, I tend to look towards either my IBM
Dictionary of Computing
or the Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications. I
have found these
to be fairly accurate, and at least it provides some type of
consistency for my
Even before I checked what those two sources would say about
"prompt," I knew
that I have always used it the same way that Jim's developer
since I used to be a developer, I thought I might be biased and
sources. According to Microsoft, the definition/usage of prompt
"Do not use prompt as a noun to mean "message." Use prompt as
a verb to mean
the system is requesting information or an action from the user."
The IBM definition of prompt is:
"A visible or audible message sent by the program to request
response. A displayed symbol or message that requests input from
the user or
gives operational information. For example: on the displays
screen of an IBM
personal computer, the DOS A> prompt. The user must respond to
the prompt in
order to proceed."
So, for what it is worth, I'd say yes, prompt can be used as a
synonym for "ask"
and what is more, should be used as the synonym for "ask" when
referring to the
Kathi Jan Knill
Sr. Technical Writer
Template Software, Inc.
Kathi -dot- Knill -at- Template -dot- com
"Life is a banquet and most poor slobs are starving to death." --
Jim Cort wrote:
> Have you ever used "prompt" as a synonym for "ask"?