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Is it correct to use the word copy instead of the word text in some contexts?

For example, the titles of two tasks were as follows:

Update log out copy in the profile menu

and

Copy for notifications

Which respectively means Update the text of the logout button and List of texts for notifications

For me, the use of the word copy here seems a bit strange and somewhat incorrect, however, I was not able to find any source on the use of copy to mean text.


Edit: I was referred by my colleague to this link, specifically to the "written text that is to be printed, or text that is intended to help with the sale of a product" section. However, I don't personally believe this is the same use case.

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  • The 2 examples you gave don't make sense to me at all. This suddenly makes me double my English skill... Mar 1, 2020 at 8:08
  • One definition of copy is matter to be printed. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/copy Mar 1, 2020 at 8:31
  • @KateBunting Just found the same link from a previous argument with my college. But does it make sense to use the same meaning in the context of a text of a button? In the link provided, it refers specifically to a "text to be printed" Mar 1, 2020 at 8:38
  • 3
    Copy is a common term for text in the context of news media and advertising, but I wouldn't use it to describe the label on a button. In the context of editing a web page or application menu it would be confused with the clipboard copy function.
    – nnnnnn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 9:20
  • Context needed!
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 1, 2020 at 14:05

2 Answers 2

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It is correct to use copy to mean text in certain contexts, such as advertising and in print media.

Your colleague cited Cambridge:

text that is to be printed, or text that is used to sell a product: She writes advertising copy.

Source

Consider your first example.

? Update log out copy in the profile menu

The text (not copy) will appear on a computer screen, not, say, for a printed newspaper or magazine. So in this context, the words are not interchangeable.

If you were working for an advertising firm or a magazine or a newspaper, someone might say:

Submit the copy / text for the coronavirus outbreak by noon, or you're fired.

Either would work.

But for a non-print medium, someone would say:

Submit the text for the coronavirus outbreak by noon.

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  • "Copy" is also used to describe the text used by the reporter or anchor person in television and radio news stories.
    – nnnnnn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 13:42
  • Agreed, and a copyeditor could edit in many media, extending the notion of printed news to TV or online text.
    – rajah9
    Mar 1, 2020 at 13:54
  • It's often said that text is printed to screen. Why wouldn't copy cover this meaning?
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 2, 2020 at 20:06
  • It would be an extension of an extension to use copy in this context, @CJDennis. You would be extending the text on screen to be "printed." Then the "print" of the screen is extended to an advertisement or a newspaper column. You could do the stretch, but I think the OP was correcting in fearing that "the word copy here seems a bit strange."
    – rajah9
    Mar 3, 2020 at 14:36
  • @rajah9 The first time I encountered copy as in advertising copy it sounded strange to me. Now that I'm used to it, it doesn't sound strange as in "prepared text containing a message for customers".
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 3, 2020 at 21:09
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yes, it is correct. otherwise, you wouldn't have a term "microcopy"

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