Re: The or no The

Subject: Re: The or no The
From: Christi Carew <christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 09:24:53 -0700


Typically, the name of a product is supposed to be an adjective, especially
if your company is concerned about copyrights. So you are writing about
"the software" and "the hardware". It's just as if you were writing about
"the cheap software" or "the expensive hardware"; you (technically) should
use "The SuperThing software" and "The SuperThing hardware".
Most (I think) users are used to saying and hearing it without the "the",
as in "use superthing to do something cool". What seems to have worked for
a couple of the companies I have worked for is to use the technically
correct way ("the superthing software") the first time it appears in a
section or chapter of a guide, but from thereafter, just use the adjective
What it came down to was, if we were forced to write "the superthing
software" every time it came up (as our legal dept. wanted), it got to be
very clumsy, especially when there were many references on one page.

Hope that helps.

Christi Carew
Technical Writer

christi -at- sageinst -dot- com
p. 831-761-6565
f. 831-761-2452

Sage Instruments
240 Airport Blvd.
Freedom, CA 95019

At 10:04 AM 10/21/1999 -0500, Melanie wrote:
>I'm documenting software for a communications server. Previous
>documentation (written by developers) was inconsistent in the use of "the"
>preceeding the name of the software/hardware. One of the programmers thinks
>I should put "the" in front of the name of the software, as in "The
>SuperThing can be customized to do anything." SuperThing refers to both
>hardware and software -- the communications server itself and the
>(client/server) software used to run it.
>It seems to me that if we are referring to the server, I would use "the" but
>in referring to the software, I wouldn't use "the." Just as I would say
>"NT" but not "the NT" unless it was used as an adjective, as in "the NT
>operating system" or "the NT server."
>In the user documentation, I am primarily referring to what the user can do
>with the software, so I would not use "the." But since the name applies to
>both the software and the hardware, I'm not sure. Is this just a matter of
>personal taste, or does CMOS or MMOS (or anyone else) have something to say
>about it?

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