[Fwd: Re: Prompt as ask]

Subject: [Fwd: Re: Prompt as ask]
From: Kathi Knill <Kathi -dot- Knill -at- template -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 11:18:48 -0400

Whenever I am unsure as to what the correct usage of a word is,
in technical
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
did. However,
since I used to be a developer, I thought I might be biased and
checked my
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
the user's
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." --
Auntie Mame

Jim Cort wrote:

> Have you ever used "prompt" as a synonym for "ask"?

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