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Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – VI(c)

Imply – Infer

The former means “indicate” or “suggest” but not expressed; the latter involves a process of deduction from facts.

Importantly

When used as “more importantly”, it can usually be omitted.

Inside – Inside of

Unless meaning “in less than”, the latter should be substituted with the former.

In terms of 

Should be avoided.

Interesting

Should be replaced with the thing that is interesting.

Irrespective of – Regardless of

Interchangeable

-ize

Try not to create verb by adding ‘-ize’; it doesn’t work every time.

Lay – Lie

lay – laid – laid – laying

lie – lay – laid – lying

Less – Fewer

The former stresses quantity, e.g., “he has less troubles than me” means his troubles are not that great;

The latter stresses number, e.g., “he has fewer troubles than me” means his troubles are not that numerous.

Like – As

The former governs nouns and pronouns while the latter governs phrases and clauses.

Line/Along these lines

Often abused; instead use more accurate words to rephrase the meanings.

Meaningful

Try to replace it with more accurate descriptions.

Nature

Too vague; try to be more accurate.

Nauseous – Nauseated

The former means something that makes people feel like vomiting; the latter means being uncomfortable in the stomach.

Nice

Try avoid using it unless when describing accuracy, e.g., “nice distinction”.

Nor

WRONG: He cannot sleep nor eat.

CORRECT: He cannot sleep or eat. / He cannot sleep and nor can he eat. / He can neither sleep nor eat.

Offputting, Ongoing

Incorrect words; avoid using them.

One

‘One’ should correspond to ‘one’s’. “One should watch one’s step” but not “One should watch his step”.

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Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – IV(b)

Contact

Do not “contact” anybody; instead “call” / “look for” / “get in touch” / “meet” somebody.

Currently

To be more precise, use something else such as “at this moment”.

Disinterested – Uninterested

The former means “impartial”; the latter means “not interested”.

Divided into – Compose of

A halved apple is divided into two pieces – An apple is composed of skin, flesh and seeds.

Effect – Affect

When used as verbs: the former means “accomplish”; the latter means “to influence”.

Enormity

Has two quite different meanings: “monstrous wickedness” and “bigness”.

Enthuse

A verb from “Enthusiasm” – better not used at all.

Etc

Incorrectly used if following “such as …” “for example, …” etc.

Fact

Use this word only of matter capable of direct verification, not of matters of judgement.

Factor

A hackneyed word; can always be replaced with something more direct and idiomatic.

Feature

Another hackneyed word; usually adds nothing to the sentence.

Flammable – Inflammable

Both mean “combustible”.

Finalize

A pompous, ambiguous verb.

Folk

Used in singular form – “people”; in plural form – “parents” (not in formal writing).

Fortuitous – Fortunate

The former means “limited to what happens by chance” – the latter means “lucky”.

Get

Colloquial use of “have got” cannot be used formally to replace “have”.

Gratuitous

Means “unearned”, “unwarranted”.

He is a man who

Redundant phrase; should use “He is” instead.

Hopefully

Should mean “with hope” instead of “I hope” or “it is to be hoped”.

However – Nevertheless

The former means “in whatever way” or “to whatever extent”; the latter means “in spite of that” or “notwithstanding” or “or the same”.

Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – IV(a)

Aggregate – Irritate

Former means ‘making worse’; latter means ‘annoy’.

Allude – Ellude

Former means ‘implicitly refer to’; latter means ‘confuse’.

Allusion – Illusion

Former means ‘implicit reference’; latter means ‘unreal image’.

Among – Between

The former is used when there are more than two of them; however, in that case the latter might be preferred if each of them is regarded as an individual.

As good or better than

Should be re-arranged when used. E.g., my speech is as good as his, or better (if not better).

As to whether

Should instead use whether.

As yet

Means “so far” but usually should omit ‘as’ except when occurs at the beginning of a sentence.

  • No agreement has yet been reached
  • As yet we have not reached any agreement.

Being

Cannot be used after ‘regard … as [being] …’.

But

No need to be used after ‘doubt’ or ‘help’.

  • I have no doubt but that…
  • I couldn’t help but thinking…

Can

Means ‘be able to’; cannot (is not able to) be used to replace ‘may’.

Case

Usually can be omitted, e.g., “In many cases the rooms were poorly ventilated” -> “Many of the rooms were poorly ventilated”.

Certainly

Should be avoided using in writing.

Compare to – Compare with

The former address the similarity given the obvious difference; the latter address the differences given some similarities.

Comprise

Means ’embrace,’ ‘include,’ etc. For example, a zoo comprises animals.

Consider – Consider as

Consider X Y == think X is Y (expressing a belief)

Consider X as Y == based on X being Y (prepare for further thinking)

Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – III

1. Do not use a hyphen between words that can better be written as one word.

2. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. Write them in figures or in Roman notation, as may be appropriate (Exception: When they occur in dialogue, most dates and numbers are best spelled out).

3. Typographical usage dictates that the comma be inside the marks, though logically it often seems not to belong there.

* “The Clerks,” “Luke Havergal,” and “Ricard Cory” are in Robinson’s Children of the Night.

4. Scholarly usage (of title) prefers italics with capitalized initials… Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them

* A Tale of Two Cities; Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities.

Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – II(b)

1. …expressions similar in content and function be outwardly similar.

* It was both a long ceremony and very tedious -> the ceremony is both long and tedious;
* My objections are, first, the injustice of the measure; second, that it is unconstitutional -> My objections are, first the measure is unjust; second, that it is unconstitutional.

2. The subject of a sentence and the principal verb should not , as a rule, be separated by a phrase or clause that can be transferred to the beginning.

* A dog, if you fail to discipline him, becomes a household pest -> Unless disciplined, a dog becomes a household pest.

3. The relative pronoun should come, in most instances, immediately after its antecedent.

* There was a stir in the audience that suggested disapproval -> A stir that suggested disapproval swept the audience.
* He wrote three articles about his adventures in Spain, which were published in Harper’s Magazine -> He published three articles in Harper’s Magazine about his adventures in Spain.

4. Modifiers should come, if possible, next to the word they modify.

* He only found two mistakes -> He found only two mistakes.

5. In presenting the statements or the thought of someone else, as in summarizing an essay or reporting a speech, the writer should not overwork such expressions as “”he said,” “he stated,” “the speaker added,” “the speaker then went on to say,” “the author also thinks.” He should indicate clearly at the outset, once for all, that what follows is summary, and then waste no words in repeating the notification.

6. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end.

* Humanity has hardly advanced in fortitude since that time, though it has advanced in many other ways -> Since that time, humanity has advanced in many ways, but it has hardly advanced in fortitude.
* This steel is principally used for making razors, because of its hardness -> Because of its hardness, this steel is principally used for making razors.

7. The principle that the proper place for what is to be made most prominent is the end applies equally to the words of a sentence, to the sentences of a paragraph, and to the paragraphs of a composition.

Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – II(a)

  1. Make the paragraph the unit of composition
    • A paragraph is a topic, a step further into the writing subject;
  2. After the paragraph has been written, examine it to see whether division will improve it
  3. The beginning of each paragraph is a signal to him that a new step in the development of the subject has been reached
  4. As a rule, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition.
  5. Use the active voice
    • [NO] There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground;
    • [YES] Dead leaves covered the ground.
  6. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is or could be heard.
  7. Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; he wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form.
    • not honest -> dishonest
    • not important -> trifling
    • did not remember -> forgot
    • did not pay attention to -> ignored
    • did not have much confidence in -> distrusted
  8. The surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being specific, definite, and concrete.
  9. Omit needless words
    • the question as to whether -> whether
    • there is no doubt but that -> no doubt
    • used for fuel purposes -> used for fuel
    • he is a man who -> he
    • in a hasty manner -> hastily
    • this is a subject that -> this subject
    • His story is a strange one -> His story is strange
    • the reason why is that -> because

Notes of [Elements of Style] by Strunk and White – I(b)

  1. A colon tells the reader that what follows is closely related to the preceding clause. The colon has more effect than the comma, less power to separate than the semicolon, and more formality than the dash.
  2. Join two independent clauses with a colon if the second interprets or amplifies the first.
    • The squalor of the streets reminded him of a line from Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
  3. The colon used in a title (of an article) separates the main title and the subtitle.
  4. A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses.
  5. Use a singular verb form after each, either, everyone, everybody, neither, nobody, someone.
  6. A singular subject remains singular even if other nouns are connected to it by with, as well as, in addition to, except, together with, no less than.
  7. Difference between gerund and present participle – the first sentence centers on ‘me’ while the other centers on ‘asking a question’
    • Do you mind me asking a question?
    • Do you mind my asking a question?
  8. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.
    • WRONG: On arriving in Chicago, his friends met him at the station
    • CORRECT: On arriving in Chicago, he was met at the station by his friends

Body Schema

What is Body Schema?

Body Schema is how we are aware of the presence of body in the space. More specifically, it was defined by Sir Henry Head as “a postural model of the body that actively organizes and modifies ‘the impressions produced by incoming sensory impulses in such a way that th e final sensation of [body] position, or of locality, rises into consciousness charged with a relation to something that has happened before”. Or it can be understood as “the collection of processes that registers the posture of ones body parts in space”

Body Schema and Proprioception

One of the fundamental properties of body schema is ‘supramodal’ – meaning it consists of various sources of sensory-motor information. And proprioception is one of them (which is interpreted as the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of one’s body)

Body Schema and Body Image

The two are different in the sense that: a body image is a person’s perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of their own body while body schema conssits of sensory-motor capacities that control movement and posture. Or “body image differs from body schema as perception differs from movement”.

Notes of [The Elements of Style] by Strunk and White, Part I(a)

  1. For date and time, punctuate as follows:
    • February to July, 1972
    • April 18, 2011
    • Wednesday, November 13, 1929
  2. The abbreviations etc., i.e., and e.g., the abbreviations for academic degrees, and titles that follow a name are parenthetic and should be punctuated accordingly:
    • Letters, packages, etc., should go here
    • Previous work, e.g., Mark’s [2] and Strunk’s [4]…
    • The other people, i.e., those that …
    • Horace Fulsome, Ph.D., presided
    • Rachel Simonds, Attorney
    • The Reverend Harry Lang, S.J.
  3. Clauses introduced by which, when and where are nonrestrictive; they do not limit or define, they merely add something.
  4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause.
    • The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed;
    • The situation is perilous, but here is still one chance of escape.
  5. Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (‘because’), for, or, nor, or while (‘and at the same time’) likewise require a comma before the conjunction.
  6. If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.
  7. Note the use of semicolon is needed for the case where the second clause is preceded by an adverb (e.g., accordingly, besides, then, therefore, thus, etc.), but not a conjunction.
    • It is nearly half past five, and our car is almost broken.
    • It is nearly half past five; besides, our car is almost broken.

My Humble Opinions About Usability Study

Should we be harsh about each innovative research paper (in order to be in CHI) must have a strong (and safe) usability study?

Wait a second, if the answer is yes – why? why doing usability study in the first place?

Imagine parallel universe is real and in the other world, the CHI community even have no idea what ‘usability study’ is. What differences would there be? Is that much a big difference? (here starts the endless argument…)

Let alone ‘usability study’ and back up to the design itself, in my shallow experience in HCI, I humbly think it is very important to generate new ideas. And what is really difficult after that is being able to say, this is actually a good idea. How can one prove and validate his/her ideas? This is much more interesting and worth more effort into it, compared to some of the usability study that just tries to ‘fit’ in the innovate stuff.

Therefore I believe usability study is just one of the many ways toward questioning, proving and improving the innovative design. That means, sometimes we might not need it at all, simply because it is not applicable or there are better ways to do it. However, what is really important, is not the how, but the what – what is the problem –  and the why – the motivation and direction of such attempts to ‘gauge’ it.

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