0

I am writing some technical documentation - an instruction on how to test a certain piece of equipment.

I wrote: "Confirm, that the message playback over the loudspeaker is not distorted and clear with minimal noise from the recording."

One of my colleagues corrected the sentence to: "Confirm the message playback over the loudspeaker is not distorted and clear with minimal noise from the recording.", effectively losing the comma and "that" and stating, that it sounds "more english" and therefore correct.

And yet, it still does not sound right to me, hence the question: which of those two is correct and why?

1

One common exception to the rules of English grammar (and the rules of grammar in most other languages too!) is that orders or instructions do not have to obey the rules! The classic example would be a road sign that says "NO LEFT TURN". You wouldn't want a road sign to say "You cannot turn left here" - you'd have crashed your car before you'd finished reading it. Likewise, instructions, especially bullet-pointed steps are usually written in a slightly abbreviated form.

You were wrong to use the comma because saying "Confirm the message playback is not distorted" is essentially the same as saying "You should confirm that the message playback is not distorted". But your colleague's is not quite correct either. I think it should be:

Confirm the message playback over the loudspeaker is not distorted and that it is clear, with minimal noise from the recording. (note the comma)

Or, given that "clear" means the same as "not distorted" you could probably shorten it further. Also, if this is an instruction to be understood by all should you not clarify what "noise from the recording" means? Surely everything on a recording is "noise". I would probably write::

Confirm the message playback over the loudspeaker is clear and with minimal background noise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.