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Which one of these is more common or better to use?

Delete selected Item(s).


Delete selected Item/s.

Note: It should be used in our Document (not a Program).

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closed as too localized by Jasper Loy, Mahnax, simchona, Mitch, kiamlaluno Mar 2 '12 at 15:22

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In my 8 years of business and proposal writing for a U.S. corporation, I've always seen "item(s)," so I'm assuming that this is the more commonly used term, at least in business documents. I've never encountered "Item/s;" however, that doesn't meant it's not in use in some writing circles or certain geographical areas.

Which of the 2 would be "better to use" depends on the circumstances, such as the document, setting, intended audience, geographic area, etc. Without that information, it's difficult to make a suggestion.

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Thanks. much appreciated. – kobik Feb 27 '12 at 15:36

The most common method is to know how many items are selected (if you're a human, you can see that, if you're a computer, you can be programmed to know that) and then ask the proper question based on the result as such:

If one item is selected, you ask: Delete selected item?

If more items are selected, you ask: Delete selected items?

If you want to omit the singular / plural part completely, you can go with: Delete the selection?

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This is probably a personal view, but I think "item(s)" jars less on the eye, possibly because it offers 'closure' on the plural case. But then I find "s/he" infuriating and would much prefer simply "he or she"

Consider "item[s]" if you're writing for an audience of software developers, as they're more used to square brackets as optional parameters.

Any of the options will be understandable by all, however. It's a purely a matter of taste. The most important thing is to be consistent.

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