Words to avoid?

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Wed Jul 5 05:48:12 UTC 2006

On Jul 4, 2006, at 3:18 PM, Mike MacCana wrote:
> ...
> * Word to avoid: System.
> ...
> * Better word to use instead:
>  - Computer


>  - Kernel

Not so good -- most people don't know what a kernel is. Use it if you 
absolutely have to discuss the kernel itself, otherwise just use 
"Ubuntu" (or equivalent depending on what derivative you're writing 

> * Word to Avoid: Architecture
> * Why: Ambiguous.Is my architecture 'x86 64', or 'thin client'? The 
> front page of Community Docs has used the terms with both meanings for 
> a couple of months now. Most humans aren't aware that computers have 
> architecture.
> * Better word to use instead:
>  - CPU type

Similarly here, I think most people haven't heard of a CPU. And "Intel 
Core Duo" CPU type, for example, doesn't tell you whether it's a PC or 
a Mac. Perhaps "computer type".

> * Word to avoid: Configure, configuration
> * Why: Unnecessary - 'configure' means the same thing as 'set up', but 
> isn't used part of regular, plain speech.
> * Better words to use instead:
>   - set up, setting up

Or "change", depending on the situation.

> Any more suggestions/additions folks?
> ...

For anything produced or overseen by the Documentation Team, I 
recommend avoiding these words (and their plurals, participles etc): 
abort, allow...to, boot, browse, button, checkbox, conventions, dialog, 
dialogue, die, documentation, empower, enable, following, illegal, in 
order to, kill, note, please, radiobutton, simply, tab, this section, 
tick, usage, user, wizard.

In addition, for help intended to be read on-screen, I recommend 
avoiding: alternatively, consult, first, GNOME, GNU, KDE, guide, menu, 
next, welcome.

Some of these are unnecessary words or syllables (e.g. enable, first, 
in order to). Others are symptoms of inappropriate sections (e.g. 
alternatively, conventions, welcome), or of unhelpful impressions (e.g. 
abort, please, simply).

Matthew Paul Thomas

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