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Dangerous Words

and more!
Ending a list in "and more" promises everything and reveals nothing; a cheap tease for the unwary reader. Take a step back and describe your subject as a whole. Even unfinished things - especially unfinished things - have a common motivation or theme that makes them interesting.

Almost always redundant. If the things you are linking to weren't available, you couldn't link to them in the first place.

Which way leads "back" depends on the direction your visitor came from. Describe the subject of the page instead, or use absolute directions.

Check it out!
A meaningless buzzphrase that often camouflages the speaker's lack of enthusiasm.

Some of your readers will not be able to click; use "select this" instead of "click here", if you must. (Better, avoid talking about the document in the first place; write about the subject instead.)

come back often
(or "check back often"). A frequent ending to the obligatory excuse: "This page is still under construction, so check back often." No one takes this seriously, so why pretend? If you want to prove that a document changes frequently, use a "last modified" date instead, and give people something to come back for.

The most overused buzzword of all. Try to describe why, not just that, you like it.

Often redundant. Used well, it refers to the current instance of a periodical event ("the current issue"); do not use it to refer to a document that is merely growing or being maintained ("the current comp.lang.c FAQ" "the current list of pizza toppings"). If you don't offer back issues of the event, you don't need to point out that what you have is the current version.

If you are using "current" to stress that the information you provide may become invalid in the future ("Currently, the internet is acquiring a million new users per month"), replace it with an explicit date or source of the information ("As of September 1994, ...").

cutting edge
Everything on the web is automatically on the cutting edge. It is also upcoming, rising, promising, leading, expanding, evolving, and quite possibly the first of its kind on the Internet.

"The resource describes fact" talks about organization, not about the subject.

"The resource documents information" again talks about organization, not about the information itself. "Documents" sounds good if the verb's subject is not usually considered a source of information; e.g.,
The rings on this tree stump document the forest fire of 1804, as well as the sequence of very dry summers in the 1960ies.
If the resource is implicitly a document (such as a file, a list, or a hypertext page), the "documents" is just redundant and boring; stop writing about the form, start writing about the subject.

To enhance something means to improve it by adding to it. The word is sometimes misused to mean "write", as in "This page is enhanced with HTML 3.0" or even "This page enhanced by Joe Smith"; or to mean "be made specifically for", as in "Netscape-enhanced". Perhaps people like to use the word so much because something that has been improved must, by definition, be good.

Feel free
Overused and often redundant. "Feel free to send me email" is meaningful: some people don't want to receive email from strangers, but you do; it makes sense to express that. "Feel free to browse my web subtree," in contrast, is completely superfluous: why else would you put documents online?

Here is ...
If you start a sentence with "here is" or "here are", you usually end up talking about the document rather than the subject.

Similar to "back". Which way leads "home" depends on the your visitor. Describe the subject of the page instead.

A definitive resource on a subject or a person. Not every webpage is a homepage, and saying it don't make it so.

Another buzzword. It started out as meaning "frequently used" or at least "recently used", and now says the same as "cool".

Should be a frequently used or popular link, not just a link. If the word "link" alone isn't spectacular enough, use "hyperlink".

hotlist of cool sites/links
At least pretend that you have been around long enough to tire of this pun.

is spelled "Internet". Big I, small n. Avoid the StoodlyCaps mannerism in general.

A (globally unique) set of interconnected smaller networks that transfer packets or, on a slightly higher level of abstraction, streams of data between applications on hosts. The World Wide Web is one of many Internet applications; others are email, chat systems, large parts of USENET, and user interface systems like X/Window and News. Since "Internet" sounds cooler than "World Wide Web," one often sees the two terms confused.

just a mouse-click away
The distance between Internet-connected users and the things they supposedly desire. "It's all there, so if you get lost in incomprehensible interfaces, transmission errors, and absurd installation procedures, it's your problem, not ours."

link to
means to edit a document to include an anchor or other reference to another document; it does not mean "follow a link".

If you describe the format that you present your information in ("Here is a list of things ..."), you could and should be talking about the subject instead.

log in
Someone logs in (or on) by supplying a "log-in name" (or short "login") to a log book--or, these days, software. In other words, one authenticates oneself. The frequently heard "to find out more, log on to our website" abuses "log on" to mean "connect".
As with "go to", the verb is unhyphenated, the noun or modifier hyphenated or (informally) compound. "Go to Jim, he's the go-to guy." "Can you give me a log-in on your new machine? I need to log in."

Mosaic page
"Mosaic" is only one of many possible programs people use to view documents available on the World Wide Web. The documents themselves are "HTML documents" or "hypertext documents" or "hypertext pages." Describing the medium with the name of one particular browser makes as much sense as calling a highway a Ford path.

Almost as overused as "hot" and "cool". Try to describe why, not just that, you like it.

If you do it, don't talk about it. If you talk about it, don't assume that markup geared towards a particular commercial vendor is an advantage, or that everybody who doesn't use a particular vendor's tool does so merely because they haven't heard of its existence.

One of the relative directions that make sense only in text that shouldn't be hypertext in the first place. If the next page has a title, at least mention it together with the direction.

If you ask your readers to "note" something, they should have a chance to arrive at your conclusion by examining your evidence themselves.

Do not use "note" when the information you give is not factual

or not related to the evidence.

Do not use "note" as a prefix for explanations of how to read a diagram, either.

Almost any sentence that uses "note" can be reworded to avoid it; simply state the fact the reader should be aware of.

Redundant in a way similar to available.

on line
Also redundant. If it weren't on line (or on-line or online), the user couldn't see it.

one-stop shop
Often used as "Your one-stop shop for X on the World Wide Web." Promises that I won't need to go anywhere else, and most often the first sign that I should.

point your browser at ...
One cannot point programs at sites.

press this button
Like "click here", only worse.

One of the relative directions that make sense only in text that shouldn't be hypertext in the first place. If the previous page has a title, at least mention it together with the direction.

"The resource provides information" again talks about structure, not about the subject. Many phrases with "provides" are better expressed using other verbs; e.g.

Sometimes, "provide" is just a fancy word for "give".

select here
The author has dutifully replaced the "click" in "click here" with a "select" - but failed to consider that one selects something, not somewhere.

select this link
Almost as bad as "click here," but at least the uninspired writer does not assume a bitmapped client program.

A host (or a group of hosts presented as one whole) on the Internet is called a site (because that's where things are situated), not a sight.

Something the author can't identify and consequently shouldn't write about.

"Surfing" is different from "browsing". One browses a site, but surfing does not keep to a subject; the surfer just follows the moods and ideas of the Web's authors, a serendipitous, playful motion. The metaphor is good, but its connotation of beach-boy hipness suffocates the word.

There is..., This is ...
If you start a sentence with Here, This, or There, you usually end up talking about the document rather than the subject.

update this URL
The URL is just the name; the updated entity is the document or page.

under construction
Documents that aren't yet fit to be seen shouldn't be public. If you want to stress that your document changes frequently, use a "last modified" date; it will tell a reader whether you've kept your promise.

Do not use "view" when you mean "read".

view this server
Much as one cannot point a browser, one cannot view a server, either; only a document, page, or screen.

viewing pleasure, for your
Avoid worn-out phrases like this one unless you're writing a parody.

Unlike "WWW", the word "Web" is not an abbreviation and is not spelled with all-capital letters.

Welcome to ...
There is information that first-time visitors might want - an overview of the site, a mission statement, an idea of who you are. Whether or not visitors feel at ease is decided by whether they get that information; your explicit "Welcome" helps little.

can be hyphenated either as "World-Wide Web" or "World Wide Web" (but try to be consistent within one document). It is a world-wide (hence the name) network of documents, software, and protocols that connect them. Consequently, it does not make sense to speak of "this" or "my" or "our" WWW; the part controlled by a single human or company can only be a document, subtree, web, or site.

Your ...
As in, "your online guide to everything," "your electronic pal that's fun to be with", "your one-stop shop for what's hot and what's not." Patronizing.

Thanks to Daniel Barclay for suggesting "login". Thanks to many others for their corrections. (I'm not sure why I haven't credited them until now.)

What is...? Text Editing Maintenance Words Related Material