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In the context of a website form, a user is required to use at least three of four listed character types in his or her password. Which is correct:

1)

Your password must contain three of the following: 
- Uppercase letters 
- Lowercase letters
- Numerals
- Non-alphanumeric characters

2)

Your password must contain three from the following: 
- Uppercase letters 
- Lowercase letters
- Numerals
- Non-alphanumeric characters
  • Three of the following makes more sense, because saying "three from the following" means that you have to pick three items - like a multiple choice question. – user63241 Jan 28 '14 at 23:29
  • I don't think that makes very much difference. But from the way both are worded there is a bigger problem, I believe. The first time I read it I thought it meant three of/from the following meant three characters from each. – WS2 Jan 28 '14 at 23:35
  • @SanathDevalapurkar Thanks for your input. The requirement is that the user must "pick" three unique "items" from a list of four. – SoAwesomeMan Jan 28 '14 at 23:41
  • @awesome: Exactly! So the first example tells you that in your password, you should have at least three from the list of uppercase letters; lowercase letters; numerals; non-alphanumeric characters. The second, though tells that you password must have at least three of the phrases "Uppercase letters; Lowercase letters; Numerals; Non-alphanumeric characters". – user63241 Jan 28 '14 at 23:47
  • @WS2 Thanks. I agree—not much difference. Yes, the wording seems a bit confusing, but I'm constrained by the approved specs provided to me. However, I'm curious about which is more correct or even which is more acceptable. – SoAwesomeMan Jan 28 '14 at 23:55
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I would suggest "Of the Following", since these are listed as discreet items. If the options were presented as a set, say, "Your password must contain three from the following set: {upper case letters, lower case letters, numerals, non-alphabetic characters}", then I would use "from". The use of "from" implies a single entity/set, "of" implies a selection from a loose affiliation of entities.

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In colloquial terms, "of the following" sounds somewhat better and simpler than "from the following" which could easily be misinterpreted because it sounds awkward. That's just my two cents.

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