Archive for April, 2014

Stubborn Watermark

April 22, 2014

Kirby, a loyal member of the Peanut Gallery in Qatar, had a problem. He had a DRAFT watermark on his Word document that simply would not go away. The watermark on the odd pages went away using the normal means (Page Layout tab > Watermark > Remove Watermark), but the one on the even pages was stubborn and stayed there no matter what. He asked for help and emailed his document to me.

I tried the usual means, which didn’t work (no surprise), and tried a few other things, which didn’t work either. Then I went to my Word guru, Rhonda Bracey in Australia, who just so happened to have the solution posted on her CyberText Newsletter blog on WordPress:

Watermarks have always been stored as part of the header in Word, so:
1. Double-click inside the section’s header to open it.
2. Move your cursor over some of the letters in the watermark until it turns into a 4-way arrow.
3. Click to select the watermark (you’ll see colored selection handles around the watermark text when it’s selected).
4. Press the Delete key to remove the watermark.
5. Repeat for all other sections that have a stubborn watermark that you can’t remove.

I tried this on the document Kirby had emailed to me, and TA-DA! It worked like a charm! Thanks, Rhonda!
So I thought I would share this with the rest of the Peanut Gallery in case they ever experienced a stubborn watermark.
It sure makes you feel great when that DRAFT is gone, and the document is done!

Profound Quote of the Day:

“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, 1844–1900



April 18, 2014

I received two submissions from the Houston Peanut Gallery today.

The first is from David, who spotted an error pertaining to an irregular verb in a news story:

“The South Korean coast guard managed to pull a 6-year-old girl to safety before the ship capsized and sunk.”

Here’s another example of that same usage, taken from a TV commercial from my youth (way back last millennium):

“You sunk my battleship!”

The simple past tense of the verb “to sink” is “sank.” Sunk is used as a past participle after the verb “to have.”

Corrected Examples:
…before the ship sank (simple past)
…before the ship had sunk (past participle)

Yes, the dictionary says that both “sank” and “sunk” are accepted as the simple past tense, but I’m a grammar purist and will change it to “sank” every time just to be consistent.

The second irregularity is a short video / poem sent by Don about how irregular the English language is. I think you will enjoy it.

Having such weirdness is one of the reasons I have a little bit of job security!

Profound Quote of the Day:

“The secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, 1803-1882


Acronym Plurals

April 12, 2014

As a follow-up to yesterday’s tip about apostrophes to be used for possessives and not for plurals, George from the Houston Peanut Gallery asked me to address the plural of acronyms.

“I’ll use blowout preventers as an example. Which is correct when discussing multiple blowout preventers – BOPS, BOP’s or BOPs? I’ve seen them all.”

Good question, George. We’ll do it the way the SPE Style Guide says to do it:

“DO NOT use an apostrophe when forming the plural of figures, letters, years, abbreviations, etc.”

–       the 1920s
–       Do you want your cash in all $20s, or do you want some $5s and $10s?
–       got all As on her report card
–       BHAs and BOPs and ESPs

So mind your Ps and Qs, and only use apostrophes when you want to indicate a possessive.

The US DOE’s latest study is an interesting one.
The ESP’s main drawback is short run times under those conditions.

So the rule is the same for acronyms, initialisms, and full words: use an S for plural, use an ‘S for possessive.

Profound Quote of the Day:

“Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.”

– Herbert Hoover, 31st American President (and before that, a professional mining engineer), 1874-1964

‘S or S’

April 9, 2014

I got a question from John out in the Peanut Gallery about the appropriate use of the “inverted comma.”

First off, John, that thing that looks like an upside-down comma is called an apostrophe. And as you have correctly noticed, sometimes it comes before the letter S, and sometimes it comes after the letter S when forming a possessive.

Here are the rules about using apostrophes with an S:

#1: Do not use an apostrophe to indicate a plural.

Bad Example: Open Sunday’s

Good Example: Open Sundays

#2: If the possessor is singular and does not end with the letters S, X, or Z, then you can use ‘S to form the possessive.

Example: Sunday’s weather is supposed to be sunny and warm.

#3: If the possessor is singular and does end with the letters S, X, or Z, then you only use an apostrophe to form the possessive (no S needed).

Examples: Japex’ and Invensys’ CEOs will be attending AAPG in Houston.

#4: If the possessor is plural and does not end with the letters S, X, or Z, use ‘S to form the possessive.

Example: The children’s toys were all over the floor.

#5: If the possessor is plural and does end with the letters S, X, or Z, use S’ to form the possessive.

Example: The students’ grades on this test were much better than on the last one.

#6: Possessive pronouns do not have any apostrophes.

Examples: his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs, whose

There’s another use of ‘S that’s a contraction (it’s not a possessive):

Three examples in the sentence above:
There is => There’s
That is => That’s
It is => It’s

Although it’s so small, the apostrophe’s a very versatile bit of punctuation!

Profound Quote of the Day:

“You always pass failure on your way to success.”

Mickey Rooney, American actor, 1920-2014