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      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
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      • Japan
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    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 132
    #1

    difference in meaning

    Dear teachers and native speakers:

    Please teach me if each of the following is correct or not. Also, please indicate me the differences among those:

    1) Press the Enter key and the Alt key (at the same time).
    2) Press the Enter key and Alt key (at the same time).
    3) Press the Enter and Alt key (at the same time).
    4) Press Enter+Alt key (at the same time).
    5) Press the Enter+Alt key (at the same time).
    6) Press the Enter and Alt keys./Press the Enter+Alt keys.

    For example, are 3) and 5) above acceptable, though there are two different keys on the keyboard? Of course, if it is seen as one set, it could be acceptable as "key," not "keys" though.... Is my understanding wrong?

    How about 4)? Is is acceptable or gramatically correct without an article "the" in this case?

    Hmmm, someone, teachers, native speakers, please help me clear out this problem


    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 182
    #2

    Re: difference in meaning

    One set of keys, not one key.

    I would accept numbers 1 and 6 only. I would also recommend that if you are giving instructions you make them extra clear. Say:

    Press the enter and alt keys simultaneously.
    Press the enter key and the alt key at the same time.
    Press the enter and alt keys together.
    Press the enter key followed by the alt key. (if you want them not together)

    If have instructions that say "Enter+Alt" or "Press Enter+Alt" it is shorthand to indicate that you should press the two keys together. "Ctrl+Alt+Del" is a common shorthand for pressing the keys control, alt and delete simultaneously. Verbally, we would say "Press control alt delete."

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: difference in meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsense View Post
    One set of keys, not one key.

    I would accept numbers 1 and 6 only. I would also recommend that if you are giving instructions you make them extra clear. Say:

    Press the enter and alt keys simultaneously.
    Press the enter key and the alt key at the same time.
    Press the enter and alt keys together.
    Press the enter key followed by the alt key. (if you want them not together)

    If have instructions that say "Enter+Alt" or "Press Enter+Alt" it is shorthand to indicate that you should press the two keys together. "Ctrl+Alt+Del" is a common shorthand for pressing the keys control, alt and delete simultaneously. Verbally, we would say "Press control alt delete."
    Thank you for your comments.

    I see, you say that only #1 and #6 are grammatically correct. Also, I would not need to put the word "keys" after "Alt+Enter", "Ctrl+Alt+Del", and the like which are all connected with "+". However, do you think that it is wrong to put "keys" in the sentence like "Press the Enter+Alt keys"?

    Well, I have one more question. Is the above 2) really ungrammatical? Of course, 1) and 6) are clearer than 2), I guess. However, is "the" in 2) really necessary? According to one artcile mentioning the parallel structure, it says: parallelism requires that an article (a, an or the) or preposition applying to all members of a series must either appear before the first item only or be repeated before each item.

    Hmmm, I am a bit confused. Someone, please help me out! PLEASE!!!


    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 182
    #4

    Re: difference in meaning

    I think that the formality of adding "keys" does not match the informality of using + instead of and. Whether it is appropriate to use "Enter+Alt" or "Enter and Alt" depends on the situation. You would use the expression "Enter+Alt" only in a situation where you were trying to be as brief as possible. In that case, tacking keys onto the end conflicts with the interest of brevity.

    The above 2) bothers me because it feels unbalanced. Think of "the" and "keys" as a set of parentheses. So, "the enter key and the alt key" would look like this: (enter) and (alt) with each one encased in a set of parentheses. "The enter and alt keys" would look like this: (enter and alt). Again, a balanced set. However, "The enter key and alt key" looks like this: (enter) and alt). It just feels unbalanced to me, and that makes it an awkward construction. If "the" is redundant, then "key" is as well. Why remove one and not the other?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
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    • Posts: 132
    #5

    Re: difference in meaning

    I see.
    Thank you for your additional comments

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