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I read the following recommendation of our IT department:

Don't visit the Internet with Windows XP machines

We're a German company. Is this sentence ok?

I would have expected

Don't browse the Internet with Windows XP machines.


Don't use the Internet with Windows XP machines.

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Yes, one "uses" or "accesses" the Internet... "visit" suits a page/site/url better. – d'alar'cop Mar 11 '14 at 8:24
@Thomas W - Access is prior to browsing or using (or even visiting, which implies personal presence entering a space, historically for charitable or humanitarian purposes), so I'd suggest avoiding 'visit' and using 'access'. I'd also suggest 'on' rather than 'with'. – Leon Conrad Mar 11 '14 at 9:34
@LeonConrad: thanks for pointing out the on thing. Otherwise it could be interpreted as: Don't use the Internet on Windows 7 machines, because the Internet has dangerous Windows XP machines, which could be harmful. Right? – Thomas Weller Mar 11 '14 at 10:24
@ThomasW. It took me a while to get what you meant, but yes. It's not the most obvious reading, though. Think of writing 'with' a pen 'on ' paper. The computer is like the paper. The software is like the pen. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's the reading I'd go to first before thinking of yours. – Leon Conrad Mar 12 '14 at 6:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You're right - both of your alternates are better. You can visit a website, but not the Internet as a whole. It definitely doesn't work if you're also trying to tell people not to use any internet functions, such as email, messaging services, Skype, etc.

The sentence 'browse the internet' would probably be taken as specific to the web - and not relate to email and other services either. So, if you want to stop people using the internet at all on XP machines, I'd use:

Don't use the internet on Windows XP machines.

If it's just the web you're talking about, try:

Don't browse the web on Windows XP machines.

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I like this answer most, because it makes clear that our IT department should really be more specific as the current sentence leaves room for interpretation. I'm glad I asked this question here :-) – Thomas Weller Mar 11 '14 at 10:28
There's nothing wrong with visit, per se. It's just not convention. – David M Mar 11 '14 at 12:21

Just like d'alar'cop says: I´d say "Don't access the internet...". One visits a page, but you access the internet. When I visit the internet, it sounds more like ring the door bell, enter the building and drink a cup of tea with internet.

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