Dealing with informing people, sometimes in a public way, how a system or concept works can be a challenge. In an effort to educate myself on why people report confusion, feedback said the words 'this' and 'that' are sometimes to blame. I already found articles referring to inward and outward projections of 'this' vs 'that' and I have read examples and opinions of 'this' vs 'that' at the end of sentences.
I say this to prevent redundant responses. As well as using that last sentence and this one as possible examples. My inquiry is for how they are used at the beginning of a sentence and or paragraph.
How correct is it for me to use the word "this" to refer to what was concluded/identified in the sentence prior? Or sometimes the whole paragraph prior. Either way I only do so if there is only one presumable element available that can be immediately elaborated.
I want to give some additional thoughts that pertain to the question of distance being all the indication of context required. I may be incorrect and I welcome feedback:
Elaboration in some form or degree is what both words "this" and "that" express. Where "that" is more general and 'this' is specific. Thus, given the nature of time, space, and writing language, using 'that' would be something over a larger distance and 'this' would be close. For intangible ideas the distance argument should hold true relative to written text.
It is important to recognize I am dealing with intangibles, so saying "This dog also was seen sporting a bowtie and.." may not apply to the rule I am trying to confirm. For elaboration of an intangible idea I think it is only correct to use 'this' when referring to something immediately prior and enhancing the description of it immediately. If starting a paragraph or sentence with 'that' then the meaning must be intended as an indication for the reader to collect several points explained across possibly multiple paragraphs. So to prepare for how the collection of notions or facts is to be handled across several coming sentences. Or to change how they would otherwise be handled without such elaboration.
I need to report specific sequence on systems and concepts. The word "this" at the beginning of a sentence is invaluable to me. As sometimes it is an inappropriate use of space and time to attempt redundant articulation of something just said the sentence before. That all said I realize I will always run into people unaware where their reading comprehension is at, but I welcome creative ideas on how to introduce a reader to my usage needs.
Thank you for your time reading this...or that. =)