As a developer and technical writer, I often write different kinds of manuals, and sometimes I need to write sentences that look something like this:

If appropriate, [here goes a description of what the user should do]

Here is a real-life example:

If appropriate, put related declarations on a single line.

#foo {
  background: black;
  border: red solid 1px;
  color: yellow;

#foo {
  background: black; color: yellow; /* contrast ratio must be high enough
      for the text to be legible */
  border: red solid 1px;

I use "if appropriate" when it would be too long and too wordy to describe some obvious conditions, and so instead of describing them, I simply put attention that they do exist, and expect the reader is smart enough to figure out that conditions himself/herself.

However, I'm not sure that "if appropriate" is really a good choice for such sentences. Maybe there is a better option?

1 Answer 1


"If appropriate" is fine. It is also common to write "when appropriate", "where appropriate", "when/where applicable", and "when/where necessary". I'm sure other words could be used there.

You could also use more words if you need to give the reader more hints, like "when helpful for the sake of clarity", etc.

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