Re: Invoke or Use

Subject: Re: Invoke or Use
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 1994 14:24:50 EST

My 2cents is a little late (I've been a tad preoccupied):

Gwen Barnes writes:
>"Invoke" means to summon spirits or elementals during a magickal ritual.

This is one of its meanings. Another is "to put into effect or operation".
It should be clear from the context which meaning is meant (ie, are you
documenting software, or a magickal ritual?).

>I prefer the simplicity and clarity of the word "use", and I invoke it
>wherever possible.

"Use" is both shorter and more familiar. However, as someone else has
already pointed out, it is not synonymous. Invocation does not imply
continuing use; "use" could. For example, you might press the "Edit"
button to invoke the editor, but you would not be _using_ the editor until
you began inserting/deleting text, etc. This is a relatively minor
distinction in my example, but there's probably cases where making the
distinction could avoid real confusion. I generally use "start", but I
do remember using "invoke" once or twice in the past, and I have a childlike
faith in my reasoning at the time (even though I can't remember it :-)

Rose Wilcox writes:
>After you select or choose your option, the screen or dialog box "displays".

Just a nitpicky point: this usage of "displays" is grammatically incorrect.
The verb "display" requires an object (it must display something). One
solution is to use "appears" instead. Others prefer to rewrite (the operating
system displays the dialog, select option to display the dialog) or use the
passive (the dialog is displayed).

Personally I use "appears".

Take care,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: it was like that when I got here.

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