eliminate / delete / erase

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djeneba

Senior Member
English; Seattle, USA
Hello,

I'm wondering if there is an important difference between these three terms if I'm working with a software program:

eliminate
delete
erase

The software is a tool for managing projects. I'm doing a last revision of the list of messages that will go into the software and want to make sure that I'm not misusing the terms.

To me, using "erase" in a computer program doesn't work. However, I'm not sure if there is a significant difference between eliminating something in a program and deleting something. If there is a difference, what is it?

Thank you!!!
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    "Eliminate" is certainly the stronger word. You haven't told us what's being eliminated/deleted and I think that's important. I'm not so sure that this is a language question - I think the choice of words depends on the skill level of the user. Most laymen think that if you "delete" something, you can still retrieve it from the Recycle Bin. If this is not the case with your program, then I wouldn't use it. To me, "eliminate" means gone forever and that may be what you mean.
     

    IDK

    Senior Member
    Amr English
    I believe delete is the best. Delete is more for technology, such as software. Eliminate sounds like a game show, and erase sounds like fixing a math homework error.
     

    djeneba

    Senior Member
    English; Seattle, USA
    Thanks so much for your help Dimcl.

    Some examples are:

    Delete/Eliminate...
    ...meeting
    ...questionnaire
    ...question
    ...audit
    ...project

    I'm not sure what you mean by "I'm not so sure that this is a language question". Have I got the wrong forum for this kind of question? I am working on a translation from Spanish, but I was concerned about this little detail in English.

    Part of my concern was that someone mentioned that meaning of "delete" to mean once in the past - as you said, "delete" meaning sent to the recycle bin and "eliminate" gone forever. Is this a general norm for softwares?
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thanks so much for your help Dimcl.

    Some examples are:

    Delete/Eliminate...
    ...meeting
    ...questionnaire
    ...question
    ...audit
    ...project

    I'm not sure what you mean by "I'm not so sure that this is a language question". Have I got the wrong forum for this kind of question? I am working on a translation from Spanish, but I was concerned about this little detail in English.

    Part of my concern was that someone mentioned that meaning of "delete" to mean once in the past - as you said, "delete" meaning sent to the recycle bin and "eliminate" gone forever. Is this a general norm for softwares?
    No, no, no, Djeneba. Sorry for the confusion. What I meant about it not being so much a language question is that I think it's more of a technical question. If you wish the program users to understand that if they want it gone forever, never to be seen again, then I would use "eliminate".

    Not knowing anything about this program, I hesitate to recommend one word over another. To me, "eliminate" implies that it's gone for good whereas "delete" to basic users means "Oh, well, no problem. I can always fish it out of the Recycle Bin". Having said that, "eliminate" is not used in any computer program that I've ever used. I'm not a programmer, though, so you may want to check with the program designers.
     

    djeneba

    Senior Member
    English; Seattle, USA
    Thanks everyone!
    Dimcl, Sorry - I misinterpreted your response. As I've learned to use wordreference, which has been a great tool for me, I've made some embarassing errors, so I thought I'd done that again and misunderstood what the English only forum was for.

    Yes, now I understand what you mean. Yes, I need to see if I can find someone at the company who can confirm if these things will be gone forever or retrievable from somewhere else.

    Thanks so much for your guidance! Have a good evening in Texas and BC!
     
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