Archive for November, 2012

Abilities

November 10, 2012

In checking documents it’s important to “dot your I’s and cross your T’s.”
The trouble with those skinny little I’s is that they disappear when standing next to a lower case L. I’ve seen a couple of cases recently, and I have actually sinned thus myself.

Bad Examples:
Responsibilties – there should be a lower case i between the l and t.
Stablity ­– there should be a lower case i between the b and the l.

And here’s the one that my boss to the second power noticed in my spreadsheet today:
Faciliities – after reading all day, the eyes get blurry and the I’s, L’s and T’s run together.
Ouch! My bad.

So, my advice is to do a double-take whenever you see something that rhymes with “abilities” to make sure your I’s are not only dotted, but are present in the correct number.
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Funny Typo of the Day:
Believing devices, instead of Relieving devices.
Those pressure valves are devout little guys with a hope and a prayer for safe operations!

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Profound Quote of the Day:
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!
Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
– Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, 1898-1993
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Acronyms Revisited

November 9, 2012

We use acronyms so often that sometimes we forget what they stand for, and the result can be a sentence that doesn’t make any sense.

Bad Example 1A:
New PdMs must be prioritized by the Asset Integrity Manager.

PdM was spelled out in the glossary as “predictive maintenance,” so let’s substitute that for PdMs in the original sentence.

Bad Example 1B:
New predictive maintenances must be prioritized by the Asset Integrity Manager.

There is no plural listed in the dictionary under “maintenance,” so we have to find another way to express this thought in words. We need a noun to follow “Predictive Maintenance.”

Corrected Example 1A:
New PdM work orders must be prioritized by the Asset Integrity Manager.

Corrected Example 1B:
New predictive maintenance work orders must be prioritized by the Asset Integrity Manager.

Now that we see the problem and the solution, let’s try another one.

Bad Example 2A:
Spare parts must only be procured from the equipment OEM.

OEM was spelled out in the glossary as “original equipment manufacturer,” so let’s substitute that for OEM in the original sentence.

Bad Example 2B:
Spare parts must only be procured from the equipment original equipment manufacturer.

Clearly, that’s repetitively redundant. Let’s just use “equipment” one time.

Corrected Example 2A:
Spare parts must only be procured from the OEM.

Corrected Example 2B:
Spare parts must only be procured from the original equipment manufacturer.

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Profound Quote of the Day:

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
– Aristotle, Greek philosopher, 384-322 BC
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Totally vs. In Total

November 8, 2012

Totally is an adverb means “in a complete or total manner” or “to a complete or total degree.” It tells how something is done.
“Completely” and “fully” are synonyms of “totally,” so see if you can swap them and have the sentence make sense.

Example:
She’s not totally awake yet, as the baby’s crying kept her up all night.

Bad Example:
We plan to drill 436 wells totally between 2013 and 2025.
Swapped Example:
We plan to drill 436 wells completely between 2013 and 2025.

Of course you are going to drill them in a complete manner; that’s why we “complete” our wells.
Here you are talking about a full number of wells (noun), not the manner in which they are drilled (adverb). So use the noun “total.”

“In total” means “the whole number or amount” of something.

Example:
We plan to drill 436 wells in total between 2013 and 2025.

Another way to say the above example using the noun “total” is:
We plan to drill a total of 436 wells between 2013 and 2025.

Totally is also a slang word used by Valley Girls to mean “yes, indeed.”

Example:
He’s like, so cool, and like, so awesome! Totally!

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Profound Quote of the Day:
“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”
Maya Angelou, American poet, b. 1928
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Inches

November 2, 2012

There was a question from the Peanut Gallery today. Cynthia in Houston asks:

“What is the correct way to write in a document the inch: in. vs. “? As an example: 2in. vs. 2 in. vs. 2in vs. 2″.  Which one would be
most recommended to use? We are trying to be consistent, because I often read documents that have a variety of these notations used throughout the same document. As we move forward writing procedures, we would like to have a consistent approach. As we were reviewing one the other day, we noted that this might be a good question to ask you, so we can get it right in the future.”

Thanks for the excellent question, Cynthia. I commend you for trying to be consistent.

Short answer:  2 in.
Note the space after the 2 and the period after the in.

It turns out that my first Writing Style Tip of the Day in April 2012 concerned this very topic. For those of you who missed it (or forgot it), here is an encore.

The Inch
The unit abbreviation for inch is: in. (with a period).
It is the only unit abbreviation that has a period at the end of it.
Why? Well, some people say it’s there so people won’t confuse the inch unit (in.) with the word “in” when used in a sentence. Like that one.
I like to think it’s a souvenir from the inchworm. As he crawls by, he leaves a little dropping at the end of his nickname.

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Typo of the Day:
“vales” instead of “valves.”
A vale is a valley or dale. A butterfly vale  would be a very beautiful thing! Yet another one that got away from Spell-Checker!

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Profound Quotes  of the Day:

“There is but an inch of difference between a cushioned  chamber and a padded cell.”

“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”

– Gilbert K. Chesterton, English writer, 1874-1936