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The syntactically dangerous all and plural in specifications

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2 Author(s)
Berry, D.M. ; Comput. Sci. & Software Eng., Waterloo Univ., Ont., Canada ; Kamsties, E.

The items on the private check list are specific problems involving the correct use of the natural language in which the RS is written. It includes incorrect grammar, incorrect word placement, and all kinds of ambiguities. The lists of grammatical and word-placement problems are similar despite the difference in the natural languages involved. The syntactic problems are symptoms of ambiguities in meaning - a grammatical problem occurs when part of a sentence disagrees with another, and each choice in the disagreement corresponds to a different meaning. The use of plural to describe a property of elements of a set or of sets makes it difficult to determine whether the property is that of each element or of the whole set. A specification inspector can certainly search for plural constructions in a specification to examine each for its danger. Best of all is for a specification writer not to write plural statements when describing properties of each element of a set.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 1 )