Spell It Out

Sometimes you need to abbreviate words on a form to make sure everything fits in there properly. But if you can fit the whole word in there, then by all means, please spell it out.

For example, today I saw a form that had the following:

Rot Face ____    Stat Face ____     Shft OD Spec _____

I had to laugh; Rot Face sounds like a great name for a punk rock band – or possibly a supreme insult to an older sister from a little brother.

There was plenty of room on that line of the form to spell out Rotor Face, Stator Face, and Shaft OD Spec. Whoever is filling out the form will
be far more likely to include the correct information if things are spelled out. That person will not have to wonder if Stat Face means Statistical Face or Static Face or Stationary Face and have to go find the supervisor to ask what Stat Face is supposed to mean. Even interns will leave it blank rather than appear stupid because they did not know and were afraid to ask.

And that brings me to the Funny Typo of the Day, which I saw on that same form:
O’Rings – these must be Irish O-rings, the kelly green kind.
O-rings follow the same rule as X-ray, Y-axis, and J-function: the first solitary letter is capitalized, followed by a hyphen, and the word after the hyphen is all lower case.


In memory of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which exploded January 28, 1986, due to O-ring failure in the right Solid Rocket Booster:

“I touch the future. I teach.”
–  Christa McAuliffe, American schoolteacher and astronaut, 1948-1986


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