Do you follow your instinct when choosing a verb in your function?
Do you use a number of synonyms for the same purpose inconsistently?
If the answer is yes, you are not the only one.
In order to write a clean code, or at least to attempt it, we need to know what words are commonly used so that we can use them, and people can understand easier what we are trying to do.
At the same time, we need to stick with one word for one concept rather than using synonyms inconsistently.
In this post, I'll summarise commonly used verbs found in programming books and Github regardless of the type of programming language, so we can find the best-suited verbs for our own needs.
On the tables below, we'll see 5 rows:
- The verb
- The number of times the verb is written on Github to give us some ideas on how commonly it's used
- Its general definition
- Synonyms to avoid using to express the same concept
Just bear with me, this is not a complete list of common words, so please do let me know in the comment if you find some of the definition is too biased on certain programming languages. I'll also be grateful if you could teach me any other verbs that you think it's common!
I hope this post helps us, newbies choose a suitable verb and stick to it.
Table of Contents
5️⃣ True or False Statement
|set||2B||Often used to put data in an existing resource such as an attribute of an object.||set_name(), set_store_id()|
|change||668M||Often used when a whole thing, such as image, is replaced by something else||change_image(), change_colour()||edit|
|edit||325M||Often used same as change. It could be used especially when action is responsible for rendering the view.||edit_title(), edit_record()||change|
|update||739M||Often used when one or more of the components is updated as a result, and something new could also be added.||update_file()|
|add||1B||Often used to add something into a group of the things.||add_item(), add_member()||append|
|append||287M||Often used same as add. It could be used when it does not modify the original group of things but produce the new group.||append_item(), append_element()||add|
|remove||824M||Often used when a given thing is removed from a group of the things.||remove_record(), remove_item()||delete|
|delete||455M||Often used same as remove, but it could also render nonrecoverable.||delete_record(), delete_item()||remove|
|save||478M||Often used when preserving data to avoid loss.||save_json(), save_order()||store|
|store||396M||Often used the same way as save.||store_json(), store_order()||save|
|disable||586M||Often used to configure a resource an unavailable or inactive state.||disable_user()||hide|
|hide||237M||Often has the same intention as disable, by hiding it.||hide_field()||disable|
|split||276M||Used when separating parts of a resource.||split_table(), split_group()||separate|
|separate||151M||Often used the same way as the verb split.||separate_table(), separate_group()||split|
|merge||312M||Often used when creating a single resource from multiple resource.||merge_records(), merge_tables()||join|
|join||220M||It can be used in a same way as merge.||join_records(), join_tables()||merge|
|create||1B||Used when creating a resource.||create_package(), create_directory()||make, generate|
|make||797M||Often used in a same way as create.||make_package(), make_statement()||create, generate|
|generate||286M||Often used in a same way as create.||generate_directory(), generate_statement()||create, make|
|copy||1B||Used when creating a resource with the same structure and data as the original one.||copy_file(), copy_graph()||clone|
|clone||147M||Could be used in a same way as copy.||clone_file(), clone_graph()||copy|
|start||1B||Generally used when initiating an operation.||start_listening()||begin|
|begin||342M||Often used in a same way as start.||begin_listening()||start|
|open||854M||Used when changing state of a resource to make it accessible or usable.||open_file()|
|get||2B||Generally used to obtain a resource.||get_data(), get_store_id()||fetch, retrieve|
|fetch||146M||Can be used in a same way as get.||fetch_data(), fetch_store_id()||get, retrieve|
|retrieve||116M||Can be used in a same way as get or fetch||retrieve_data(), retrieve_store_id()||get, fetch|
|read||1B||Used when acquiring data from a source.||read_file()|
|find||672M||Used when looking for an unknown data in a container.||find_element(), find_keyword()||search|
|search||438M||Generally used in a same way as find. It may refer to look for an unknown data from multiple containers.||search_element(), search_keyword()||find|
|close||492M||Used when changing state of a resource to make it inaccessible or unusable.||close_file()|
5. True or False Statement
|is||3B||Used when defining state of a resource.||Method: is_available(), is_correct()
Variables: name_is_available, date_is_correct
|has||1B||Used to define whether a resource contains a certain data.||Method: has_name(), has_date()
Variables: person_has_name, course_has_date
|can||2B||Used to define a certain ability of a resource.||can_load(), can_create()|
|should||1B||Used to define a certain obligation of a resource.||should_render(), should_print_message()|
Writing clean code is not a skill that we can obtain overnight. But at the same time, I believe that we can improve the quality of code significantly and constantly by learning the wisdom of other people's clean code. To write this bost, I gained so many ideas from the book Clean Code written by Robert C. Martin and many codes on Github. I especially recommend the book for anyone who is just started coding. Many of the contents might seem going too far for newbies, but I am certain that this book will be my forever reference for my career as a developer.
Thanks to these people who share their own hard work!
Thanks for reading. If you have any opinion or question, please leave a comment below! In the meantime, please follow me on Linkedin @Maiko Miyazaki or Twitter @Maiko Miyazaki
Top comments (4)
Thanks for this quality reference document!
This strongly echoes this part of Clean Code about picking one word per concept:
Thank you for your words, Nino! That section of the book definitely convinced me why consistent word of choice is the key. I'm also grateful to know that the book is fully available as a PDF! Thanks for sharing your ideas and the link!
Simple idea in naming:
Name your variables based on what information it will contain
Name your functions/methods based on wharmt they do
A function/method will go just one thing, but it can call another function/method which will help it do its job inside it
Your explanation is very clean and neat. It's easy to understand how to differentiate the names between functions, methods and variables! Thank you for sharing your tips!