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I have some items which are either mandatory or not mandatory for a recipe. I am listing them in a table. I have a column which will say either an item is required or not. What could be the proper word for the header of such a column?

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What is wrong with mandatory? –  Matt Эллен Sep 20 '13 at 11:59
    
Or required... –  iterums Sep 20 '13 at 12:10
    
With mandatory or required I will have to write "Yes" or "No". Instead I want write "Required" & blank for the optional ones –  ontherocks Sep 20 '13 at 12:19
    
There is nobody going to stop you from titling a column "Required?" and then writing "Required" or blank on the appropriate rows. –  MετάEd Sep 20 '13 at 12:49
    
Maybe for a recipe "Necessary Ingredients" and "Optional Ingredients" would be a more "friendly" way of wording the headings. –  JLG Sep 20 '13 at 13:38
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2 Answers

I'm guessing this is really a database design question.

You say

With mandatory or required I will have to write "Yes" or "No". Instead I want write "Required" & blank for the optional ones

I would submit that, no, you don't want to do that. What is blank? Is it a place where you forgot to write required? I would suggest you want a postive indication one way or the other as to the category in which each item should be placed.

I second JLG's suggestion that necessary and optional are friendlier. If you titled the column "Importance?" and populated it with the values neccesary and optional that might work.

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You guessed it right. It is for a database. Somehow the column header word is not coming right. The word should have two states only. With the word Importance there could be degrees, like very important, just important, not important, etc. –  ontherocks Sep 23 '13 at 5:19
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I am no great cook myself but would love to see the table with columns that say 'Required' and 'Optional' -- that would be amply clear to anyone and also have the ingredients conveniently separated from each other.

Listing all the items in one column with another column showing which are required and which optional is thoroughly confusing.

By the way, saying that anything is 'mandatory' is like if you don't use those ingredients, the police will haul you up before a court of law. :)

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