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Re: Non native English speaker is checking whether a phrasing should be filed a minor bug report.

On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 06:51:44 -0700, Paul E Condon wrote:

> I am a native speaker of US English. I think the rules that I learned
> many years ago for the proper use of the word "it" are mostly violated
> by US native speakers of English. I was taught that "it" refers to the
> most recent prior noun. In this case the most recent prior noun is
> "memory". So if the rule that I learned in school is applied, the
> sentence makes no sense. I don't know any other language than English. I
> have studied several in school, but never gained a facility with any of
> them. I, myself, find that establishing the referant of a pronoun in
> other people's sentences is often difficult. I never have a problem with
> my own sentences. But many people do seem to have problems with my
> sentences.

There is a similar rule in Spanish language for relative pronouns but it 
is very relaxed (the noun it is being referenced has to be said before in 
the whole phrase but not immediately before, it can be placed anywhere).

> I think computer documentation, when written in English, should avoid
> the use of pronouns, as is suggested above.

Technically speaking (if we attend just to its syntax analysis), I find 
the English phrase well constructed but I agree it can be improved for 
the user who is reading the man page can get the whole meaning.

In fact, it is not uncommon to find that many times, even when the autor 
of a program is native English speaker there are many syntax errors and 
phrases are poorly constructed (not this case, though), but it is normal, 
programmers are not linguistic experts. People who usually translate 
programs or documentation from English to another language have to deal 
with that very often :-P



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