The following is a simple sentence, I prefer to not be wordy, but sometimes I may think a longer sentence could be more clear or fluent.

Through the application, the user can select any element of the page by moving the mouse over it and get access to its static and dynamic information.

Through the application, the user can select any element of the page by moving the mouse over it and get access to the static and dynamic information of the selected element.

Which of the sentences sound more fluent and natural? (as an example)

  • 1
    I think using precise words would make it sound more fluent/natural. Like, "hovering the pointer (mouse pointer over [the element])", and "to access the pop-up information..." - "By using the application, the user may select any element on the page by hovering the [mouse] pointer over the the element, thereby opening its static and dynamic pop-up description [information?]." - just a suggestion, kindly clarify if it is a pop-up you are referring to. – shin Aug 17 '15 at 7:39

It's mainly a question of being unambiguous, not of being "fluid" or "formal". The aim of technical writing is to eliminate ambiguity.

In the first rendering, there is uncertainty as to whether "it's" refers to element, page, or mouse. So, it's a good idea to repeat "element" to eliminate that ambiguity.

The secondary aim is brevity. You do not need to repeat "selected", because there is no doubt about what the user selected. And many other terms might be shortened. Thus:

("[]" means optional; "{}" means choose one)

  • {Through/Using/In} this app[lication] {the user/you} can {select/click/right-click} any element {of/on} the page [using the mouse] {and/to} {get access to/access/see} [the] static and dynamic information {of/for} that element.

(or, "that element's static and dynamic information")

Oops, that's writing advice, not syntax, grammar or usage... Should be on Writing SE.

Oh, and "information" is vague. Do you mean properties, or something else?

| improve this answer | |
  • Yes properties. I thought information is general and better! – Ahmad Aug 17 '15 at 7:49
  • General is rarely better. If "properties" is more accurate, say "properties". Or speak of them in terms of how the user might manipulate or utilize them. Maybe there are "settings" and or "values"—colors, sizes, captions? Be as specific as you think will be useful to the reader. – Brian Hitchcock Aug 17 '15 at 8:21

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