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Juneau Lim
Juneau Lim

Posted on • Updated on

How readable is using pseudo-code instead of normal human language?

Honestly, human language is my Kryptonite.
I am not an English native speaker, however, to be fair, I am horrible in my mother tongue as well.

I am horrible at both verbal communication and text-based comm.
By all means, I am not good at programming languages, though, I feel it more comfortable to both write and read, for me.
I find that in this way, I can write more clearly structured text.

However, I'm aware that I'm usually out or average, and often kinda a weirdo.
Therefore, I wanted to know how others feel when saw it.
Even though standard pseudo might be the better way to do this, I just feel comfortable when I use Java, so I mostly do this in pseudo-Java way.


  1. a mention I just twitted this morning (btw, congratulation๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ‰ again, @emmawedekind ! sorry for using the tweet to you as an example. I was too tired after an extended vacation to find something else. โ˜น๏ธ๐Ÿฅบ)
  1. email to my school friend
    /* postscript. I almost forgot it. I registered in a ****** in *** about AI.
      I honestly know barely anything about it.
      But I recently tried some tech events and all the talks were easier to follow then I was worried. */
    If (You are willing to) 
        { join me. }
    Else If (you (don't want to) || (can't) join but still interested) 
        { I can share my summary later. }
    Else If (you (don't want to go) && (are not interested)) 
        { just ignore this ps. }
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

My question for Java dev // tempted to use forEach() ๐Ÿ˜
| non-Java dev
| non-dev (to be fair, I don't use it for absolute non-dev):

  1. How much does it readable?
  2. Do you find it ( weird | unpleasant ) in any way?

Liquid error: internal
I also made a poll๐Ÿ‘† on twitter.
Please comment on the post or/and join the poll.
Help me to be a better communicator. ๐Ÿ™
Thank you in advance!

Top comments (3)

curtisfenner profile image
Curtis Fenner

I don't think the email example is an effective way to communicate. Here's what I think is a much nicer form:

  1. If you are able to go and are interested, please join me
  2. If you are interested but unable to go, I can share my summary later.
  3. Otherwise, just ignore this.

Using jargon like && is not clearer. People, even programmers, are used to reading plain language, not a mess of symbols.

The reason we don't code in English (or any other human Language) is because it's not precise enough. Yet mathematics, a discipline obsessed with precision, does most of their communication in mostly prose. You can write using English to be precise and concise without resorting to symbols and notation.

It's also significantly cleaned up by "refactoring" the duplicated conditions. Writing good English takes effort, just like writing good code does ("I would have written you a shorter letter, but I hadn't the time")

voidjuneau profile image
Juneau Lim • Edited

I can't thank you enough for the elaborate comment.
Honestly, this makes me quite shameful, however, I think I have to keep it in my heart.

My frivolous excuse for && was that they were my friend from school, and we've learnt only Python and Java in school so far. It would be a very little bit better if it was JS. Or not. :-(
Still, I am aware that I often write horrible run-on sentences and the main purpose was that avoid those. I am trying to use '.' and ',' whenever seems appropriate. However, my writings get bad really quickly, and even I can't "decryption" it many times.
I should agree that numbering would be a much better option.

I also agree that there must be a reason that others don't do it that way. Probably that is a part of the reason I love Mathematics.

For the "duplicated conditions", I have no idea why but I wanted to do it in a redundant way, just like I would do it when I actually talk. Probably it's not good even for verbal communication as well. I'm guilty.

If I may confess to you a bit of TMI, as you might be able to guess, this is not all of my problems.
Another one which is not the last one is that I often say a bad joke with lack of context provided.
I'm often tempted to play a person who totally misunderstands the situation, or who have a really bad mindset.
However, many times, I fail to explain that, "It's not my real stance and I am just kidding". (<- see this horrible sentence <- guilty)

Another TMI confess is that: Language related courses have been always my weak point since I was a little kid. Part of the reason I do blogging is to practice writing, but many times I feel sorry for making my readers horrible texts.

ps. btw, this comment cost me almost an hour and it's still not looking good. I'm that bad.

curtisfenner profile image
Curtis Fenner

Writing is hard. I was lucky enough to have honors language class in middle School and high school which gave brutal feedback. Feedback can be uncomfortable but it can help a lot! You just need a lot of practice, and to collect a lot of constructive criticism over a lot of time. Blogging is a great way to get better!