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RE: st: Help with Reading Arguments for Do-File

From   "George Stimson" <>
Subject   RE: st: Help with Reading Arguments for Do-File
Date   Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:33:26 -0600


Thanks for the response and the reference.

While I'm new to Stata, I've been using other advanced statistical
packages for a couple of decades, so perhaps I was over-confident that I
could just read what I thought were the relevant sections of the user's
guide and reference manuals out of sequence.  Of course, it would not be
practical for Stata to repeat common warnings about such things as the
distinction between left-quote and right-quote in every section of the
manuals, so my approach of sampling individual sections carries risk. 
Since I was not using a local macro, I did not read the section on local
macros you mentioned.  I did, however, spend some time reading various
other sections I thought would be relevant, doing searches and studying
published do-files on the web.  In every case, I just missed the obvious.

I didn't mean my comment about the manuals to be a complaint.  I like
Stata very much and am finding the manuals to be quite clear generally.
 I would think in this case, however, that the importance of
distinguishing between left and right quote marks might be highlighted
in the "Getting Started" manual, since, as you said, "Many people have
been bitten by this at precisely your stage."  This is, however, just a
quibble and not a serious complaint about a wonderful package or its

Now I think I'm going to force myself to work through the User's Guide
in sequence (at least skimming it), as I probably should have done from
the beginning.  : )

Thanks again for the reference.


Nick Cox wrote:

Many people have been bitten by this at precisely your 
stage, but it is wrong to blame the manuals. I find 
at [U] 18.3.1 (p.200 of Stata 9 edition) that the key 
difference between left and right single quotes is explained
when local macros are introduced. 

Note also that Stata is not being awkward here. As references
to local macros can be, and often are, nested, without some 
asymmetry of delimiters syntax like 


would be hopelessly ambiguous. 

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