Another Few Little Things

I keep a list of little things that I want to mention to y’all, but none of them merits a whole Tip of the Day. So when I get a few little ones, I lump them together. Today is one of those Tips.

1)  I was scrolling through the SPE Gulf Coast Section membership database preparing for the Board meeting tomorrow morning at the Petroleum Club, and I ran across eight different people who had the job title of “Principle” rather than “Principal.” You don’t have to be the boss of a school to have the title Principal. As long as you are one of the main or foremost leaders, you too can be a Principal. A person cannot be a Principle, which is a concept, rule, or idea. And if you’re in a law firm and you are the Principle Partner, that would imply that the other partners are unprincipled – not a good thing.

2)  Maybe it’s because my vision is so bad from reading on a screen all day every day, but when I see ~350°F it looks a lot like -350°F, which is a whole different temperature. Just in case the tilde doesn’t translate well when faxed or photocopied or scanned for optical character recognition, it might be better to say “about 350°F” instead.

3)  Be careful when using both the day of the week and the date when setting deadlines or inviting people to meetings.  Bad Example:  Monday, October 4, 2011
You see, the Monday of that week is October 3, and the Tuesday of that week is October 4, so which is it? Monday or October 4? It cannot be both.

I keep a hardcopy calendar on the wall next to my computer screen at all times, both at work and at home. I make it a point to check both the day and the date whenever I write down both together to make sure they jibe (which means agree).

4)  Finally, there is a safety presentation to be given in November by a supersize oil major (I’ll let you guess which one) focusing on achieving a “Hurt Free” workplace. I had to chuckle, because without a hyphen this would mean that people are hurt at no charge. What a bargain! You see, –free is a hyphenated suffix, so if that big company wants all of its employees to be free from hurt of any kind, they need to focus on being “Hurt-Free.”


3 Responses to “Another Few Little Things”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    Hi Jeanne

    Another ‘little’ thing is date formats. Many of the oil and gas companies are global, and many of their employees flit from country to country.

    Which means that a date written as 3/10/11 can mean quite different things to readers who were educated in different countries and systems. For the US/Canada, 3/10/11 is March 10, 2011, but for Australia, UK etc. it’s 3 October 2011 — two very different dates.

    I recommend to my authors to either write the date in full or use an abbreviated word format in a table, such as 3 Oct 2011 or 10 Mar 2011. That way, no-one gets confused no matter where they’re from.

    For file naming, I recommend that they use the ISO 8601 date format of YYYY-MMM-DD (see my blog post about this:


  2. TracieSpeiser Says:

    Surprisingly enough,these mistakes can be found in educational materials for our youth. I actually laughed while reading this because I know exactly what you mean. This is one of the reasons I would like to be a proofreader, preferably in the oilfield industry. I look for mistakes in everything I read and unfortunately I find them in abundance. Keep giving the tips they are both informative and humorous.


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