Don’t be Ambiguous!

“Be clear” is one of my five gold rules of technical (and any expository) writing. Here’s a good example of what I mean. Is eWeek saying that the updates have critical flaws?

Apple Patches Critical Flaws in iOS 12.1, macOS 10.14.1 Updates

You have to read the article to find out. Inside the article they got it better:

Among the updated releases are macOS Mojave 10.14.1, iOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1, fixing high-impact flaws…

We hear of flaws being in operating systems, and we also hear of fixing things with an update. They could have put “with” right before “Updates” in their headline. Presto! Ambiguity removed!

They could also have changed the word order:

Apple Updates iOS12, macOS, and watchOS with Patches.

For that matter, whatever comes after “with” is unnecessary:

Apple Updates  iOS12, macOS, and watchOS

That last suggestion isn’t as dynamic, perhaps, but shorter is good. Being concise is another of my rules. And it gives room to mention all three updates in the headline by getting rid of all those numbers. Want longer anyway? How about:

Apple Updates  iOS12, macOS, and watchOS, Fixing Critical Flaws

Sorry—I couldn’t find a comic to illustrate this. Maybe my next post will have a comic.