Clauses or Sections?

Thomas L. Shinnick tshinnic at
Mon Nov 16 12:47:11 PST 2009

At 01:35 PM 11/16/2009, Brendan Eich wrote:
>On Nov 16, 2009, at 11:25 AM, Garrett Smith wrote:
>>The ES5 Specification mentions "clauses" in many places (e.g. "Clause
>>10."). This seems unclear. Is a "clause" the same thing as a
>>"section"? Why the double terminology?
>I don't know -- I should have noticed these, since ES3 lacks such
>solecisms. "Clause" occurs in ES3 only as part of CatchClause(s).
>It's odd to use clause, which has a specific meaning in natural
>language grammars, and a different but irrelevant meaning for legal
>documents, to mean something as big as an ES5 section.
>Allen no doubt knows the history. I hope this isn't an Ecma thing.

I'm sure it is, and the style is consistent with 'clause' === 
'chapter-level', e.g.
     "The syntactic grammar for ECMAScript is given in clauses 11, 
12, 13 and 14."

This bit of strangeness was mentioned by me back in January, saying
     Sometimes there will be a bare "clause 7" or "See clause 14", 
but elsewhere it will be stated "See 7.2" or "See clause 14.1"
     Is it just custom not to say 'chapter' or 'section'?  Or is it a 
carry-over from some style guide?
                     :              <examples>                 :
     In fact, it seems the uses of 'section' outnumber those of 'clause'...
     It does conflict a bit with needed terminology "case clause"
and by others since.

Gotta be a style thing, as in 'irritating' but thus not actionable?

I'm a pessimist about probabilities; I'm an optimist about possibilities.
     Lewis Mumford  (1895-1990)
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