Wording one: 'The File menu is used to [etc]'.

Wording two: 'Menu File is used to [etc]'.

While Wording one seems 'canonical', is Wording two, without the article, acceptable?

  • These are two different things. A menu file is a type of file: standards.freedesktop.org/menu-spec/latest/ar01s04.html, while a file menu is obviously a menu, and not a file: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_menu. And this is a computer question, not an English language question. – fluffy Jun 30 '14 at 8:59
  • Brice C. might use the word order Menu File in his original language, so it seems a language question to me. In Russian, it is perfectly O.K. to say "Menu File is used to open and close files", for example. – CowperKettle Jun 30 '14 at 9:02
  • Incidentally, I am professional software developer and thus aware of the underlying ambiguity in the concept. I am also quite aware that this is a linguistics forum. CopperKettle has given a useful answer and the title of my query itself was unambiguous. This is definitely a question about the English lanquage. – Brice C. Jun 30 '14 at 10:15
  • 1
    @fluffy: I think you misunderstand OP's usage there, which is a bit "jargonny", but perfectly valid except for the fact that we'd usually enlist the help of typography: Menu "File" is used to... (or File could have been in italics). Where it means The menu called "File", not the file of type "Menu". – FumbleFingers Jun 30 '14 at 15:30
  • 2
    I don't understand why this is considered "proofreading". The OP has clearly asked about a specific point ("the file menu" versus "menu file") and phrased it in these terms ("order of words with and without the definite article"). They haven't asked anyone to do any proofreading. Why is this closed, and why did everyone vote to Leave Closed when it was in the reopen queue? – snailplane Sep 16 '14 at 4:34

The wording

Menu File is used to [etc].

seems awkward. We should add a definite article before Menu:

The menu File is used to [etc].

but then still the reader might perceive it to mean "the file for working with menus", so it would be better to bracket the word File with quotation marks, or add the word named:

The menu 'File' is used to [etc].

The menu named File is used to [etc].

yet still the File menu would look better, in my opinion.

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.