Archive for July, 2013

New Words, Wrong Words

July 17, 2013

I’ve been editing lots and lots of stuff lately, so I apologize for not sending out my Tips of the Day each day. I think we shall have to go to Tip of the Week for a few months until these huge projects are over. I’ll try to make them worth reading, and by “worth reading” I really mean “will make you smile.”

Let’s start out with some words I ran across that are not actual words.
–       Remediative – Here somebody was trying to make an adjective out of the verb “to remediate,” but if you look in the dictionary, “remediative” is not there. The correct adjective is “remedial,” which means “intended as a remedy” or a corrective treatment, which is what the writer meant.
–       Stickance – Here somebody was trying to “noun a verb.” If your drilling assembly sticks in the hole, it’s called “sticking,” which is a gerund (the official way to noun a verb). See my previous post on gerunds at:

Now, it’s time for a couple of smiles. Here are two examples of the wrong word being used:
–       Seized CaCO3 – I guess this “sized” calcium carbonate must have been confiscated at Customs.
–       Crustal wells – I certainly hope these wells were in the earth’s crust. I think most are. Surely the writer meant “crestal wells” drilled near the crest of the field – in the earth’s
crust, of course.

At least these two “wrong” words were actually in the dictionary!

Profound Quote of the Day:
“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”
– Aesop, Greek author of fables, 620-560 BC


July 6, 2013

People can have intentions, but inanimate things such as documents, guidelines, and work cannot have intentions.

According to Webster, to intend – or to have an intention – means “to have in mind a purpose or goal.” That means, of course, that you must possess a mind in order to have a purpose or goal in it. Documents do not have minds, and neither do guidelines or work. And some people may have lost their minds, as well, but I digress….

Let’s take three bad examples I ran across today and correct them.

Bad Example #1:
It is not the intention of this document to replace the Contractor’s formal safety program.

This was listed under the heading “Purpose,” which is supposed to give the reason for the document. So let’s ask ourselves: Who has the mind with the purpose in it? Answer: The authors of the document, and by extension, the company management issuing these guidelines. So let’s indicate that in our example.

Corrected Example #1:
It is not our intention for this document to replace the Contractor’s formal safety program.

Bad Example #2:
These guidelines intend to compliment the API specifications.

Who is doing the intending? Not the guidelines, but the writers of the guidelines. You can use passive tense here to imply the intender. Plus, they are not giving flattering compliments to API, but supplementing their specs, so “complement” is the correct spelling.

Corrected Example #2:
These guidelines are intended [by us] to complement the API specifications.

Bad Example #3:
The intent of this work was to identify which thermal method would work the best in this

The work did not have the intent, but the guy doing the study had intentions for it.

Corrected Example #3
The intent for this work was to identify which thermal method would work the best in this field.

Make sure that you have a living subject with a brain as the one with intentions in your sentences, even if the living subject is implied. Don’t let your inanimate objects get carried away with their intentions!

Founding Father Quote of the Day:
“So confident am I in the intentions, as well as wisdom, of the government, that I shall always be satisfied that what is not done, either cannot, or ought not to be done.”
– Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, 1743-1826