Four Little Things

While editing various documents, I found a few things I’d like to address in my Tips of the Day. So today, you get four tips for the price of one.

First, let’s discuss standalone vs. stand alone. The former is used as an adjective, whereas the latter is used as a verb phrase.
Examples:
This software program comes in both a network version and a standalone version. (adjective)
If you stand for truth and justice, you will never stand alone. (verb)
Webster’s dictionary hyphenates the adjective stand-alone, but SPE Style Guide trumps Webster in my line of work, and SPE says it’s a single word.

Second, I ran across the phrase “higher drawdown” and was confused. Did the writer mean “higher drawdown rate” such that it was drawn down even lower, or was the drawdown drawn not as far down such that it was actually higher? I presume the author meant higher drawdown rate, which would
also mean “faster drawdown.” So I changed the word “higher” to “faster.”

Third, I encountered a new instance of “verbing a noun,” which you know makes me cringe. The expression was “cook-booked,” and although it was
“coined” by placing it inside “quotation marks,” it made for a recipe that was hard to swallow.

Bad Example:
Stimulation practice cannot generally be “cook-booked” across such different plays.

I’m sure the writer meant that the method could not be duplicated in a “cookie-cutter” approach in every field.
However, I found three problems with this expression:

1) Cookbook is a noun, not a verb, and it pertains to food recipes, not stimulation.
2) Cookbook is not hyphenated. It is a single word.
3) There is an idiomatic expression called “cooking the books” that refers to creative (i.e., illegal) accounting practices, and you surely don’t want the reader to think that is what you mean by “cook-booked.”
Hence, I would change that word to “duplicated.”

Corrected Example:
Stimulation practice cannot generally be duplicated across such different plays.

Fourth, I found another example of repetitive redundancy: $1M dollars

For one thing, you don’t need both the dollar sign ($) and the word “dollars;” use one or the other.
For another thing, I would spell out M as million, because some people will mistake it for a thousand, as in Mscf — unless the figure appears in a table or Excel spreadsheet, in which case I would use $MM.
Thus, I would say we gave out $1 million in SPE scholarships in the past five years.
That’s enough to make you feel like a million bucks!

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