RE: Prompt as ask

Subject: RE: Prompt as ask
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- systech -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 11:51:44 -0700

> <<Have you ever used "prompt" as a
> synonym for "ask"? Like so: "A "yes" answer allows the
> system to find any new or invalid wuddleblups and prompt
> the user whether the new wuddleblups should be added and
> the invalid ones deleted.">>
I think prompt is legitimately a verb. For instance, there has
always been a person called a prompter in the theater, who prompts people if
they forget their lines.

I don't think prompt is exactly a synonym for *ask*. I think of it
more like providing a cue to do something. The cue can be a question, but
could also be something else. For instance, it might be an instruction. e.g.
please enter your pasword. Or just a label, such as: *Name*. The prompts in
command shells are just a short word or two, or even just a character, that
lets us know (cues us) that the shell is waiting for us to enter a command.
The shell could just as easily display a question for a prompt (e.g., what
do you want me to do now?), but it doesn't.

In other words, yes, I use *prompt* as a verb all the time. "The
system will prompt you to enter your name." I think its more accurate than
*ask* and keeps the computer in proper perspective as a machine, not a buddy
who wants to get to know us better.


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corporation, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

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