Deirdre Reagan wrote: > Here's what I'm talking about: > > "Move the part numbers that begin with a numerical character to the > end of the list after the part numbers that begin with an alpha > character." > > I'm just wondering how widespread this usage is. Are these terms just > in my documents in my company, and I should make the correction, or do > technical writers the world over use "alpha characters" to refer to > letters and "numerical characters" to refer to numbers?
Lots of people -- even some tech writers -- think their writing sounds more formal and educated if they avoid short, simple, direct words and statements. It's true that in some contexts, like programming, you need to distinguish between, for instance, integers and numeric characters. But this is not that kind of context. In this context, "letter" and "number" are far better. But to avoid repeating "number," I'd use the equally clear "digit": "Move the part numbers that begin with a digit to the end of the list after the part numbers that begin with a letter." IMHO, YMMV, etc. Richard Richard G. Combs Senior Technical Writer Polycom, Inc. richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom 303-223-5111 ------ rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom 303-777-0436 ------