About Jeanne M. Perdue

Jeanne M. Perdue has 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry:

14 at Texaco research labs as a chemist and information specialist (librarian);

10 as Editor of oil industry technical journals (Hart’s E&P, Upstream Technology); and

6 as a technical sales and marketing consultant, freelance technical writer, and conference organizer.

Perdue was Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper and Production Manager for her college newspaper — and that was before PCs were invented, when layout was done with wax and backlighted tables! She also served as Secretary and Newsletter Editor for numerous organizations, and was elected President of the Manuscriptors Guild and the Houston Council of Writers.

So, basically, she knows how to write pretty well, and she’s willing to share that knowledge with you — for free.

She’s also willing to answer any grammar and writing style questions you may have — please leave a comment.



30 Responses to “About Jeanne M. Perdue”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    Thanks for this site! I’ve been a technical writer and editor for many years, many of those spent in the minerals/mining industries. Since Sept 2008, I’ve been working as a technical editor in oil and gas, and some of the terms used go against what I had always believed to be accepted practice (at least, according to standard dictionaries). I came across your site and you have nicely explained some of the compound and hyphenated words. I’ll be back!

  2. Nwabia Francis N Says:

    I so much admire ur prospects in life.

  3. Arnold Burian Says:

    Hi, Jeanne-

    You have a really useful site. I’ve added your feed to the Techdoc Superfeed (http://technicalwritingworld.com/page/techdoc-superfeed).


    -Arnold Burian

  4. Tarun Says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    I work in a IT company and find your articles very useful in my day to day life. I enjoy reading your tips. Thanks for your site

    Tarun Rawat.

  5. Tim Maddocks Says:

    Hi Jeanne,

    Your site is super fascinating! I’m happy to have found it. I’m writing an essay about the language of hydraulic fracturing and the Marcellus Shale and I was wondering if you would be available for an interview. I think you may have some great insight into some of my inquiries. It seems as though this contentious issue of hydraulic fracturing has has introduced the public to a whole new vocabulary, and I get the sense that it’s difficult for people (myself included) to confront some of the esoteric language of gas drilling. I’m particularly interested in hearing your insight into the word “fracking.” I know you posted on it earlier, but I’d love to ask you a few other follow up questions. (I would e-mail you, but I couldn’t seem to find an address where I might reach you.)

    Tim Maddocks
    MFA student U. of Pitt

    • petrocomputing Says:

      Dear Tim:
      The oil industry is full of technical jargon that the general public probably has never heard.
      I would be happy to be interviewed. My boss says “fracking” is a term used by the public and “fracturing” is used by oil professionals.
      Fracking just sounds like a dirty word. I just found out they are using propane to “gas frac” wells now. Never a dull moment in the oil patch.
      – Jeanne

  6. Stephanie Says:

    This is one of my new favorite sites! I have bookmarked you and will be reading the older articles this week with a warm cup of apple cider.

    I graduated a week and a half ago from Texas A&M with a BA in Geology, minor emphasis in English and a Professional Writing Certificate. Someday I hope to have a resume as long and distinguished as yours! I am working fulltime in a writing-related position but the subject matter is all IT. I have completed a SOP/other small projects and will be branching out to new territory soon…hopefully into oil and gas, where I studied.

    • petrocomputing Says:

      Dear Stephanie:
      Contact Clearpoint Creative and ask for Stephanie Hood — she is always looking for freelance technical writing talent in oil and gas.
      Also, Society of Petroleum Engineers is looking for a social media director who can blog, Facebook, tweet and LinkIn all the members, preferably someone who knows geoscience and other oil and gas terms.
      If those don’t work, email me at perduejm@comcast.net and I’ll see what other jobs I can point you toward.
      Love, Jeanne

  7. Dr. Allen Saphos Says:

    Terrific! Finally, I uncover a place in which I quickly get useful information relevant to my specialty.

  8. Craig Says:

    Looking for an authoritative reference for writing technical standards. I work for one of the largest oilfield classification agencies which has no effective style guide nor the perception that they need one. You can imagine what happens when you have engineers who took the bare minimum of English/writing classes and now must write. I am trying to change the culture but to do so I have find references that they will respect. At one time I had an oilfield style guide but it is long lost. I assume you are available for consulting?

    • petrocomputing Says:

      Dear Craig:

      Thanks for asking. API publishes good technical standards and recommended practices, and so does NACE International, the corrosion society. Use those for format and content style.

      For nitpicky stuff like grammar, units, punctuation and capitalization, I use the SPE Style Guide: http://www.spe.org/authors/docs/styleguide.pdf

      Sorry, I’m not available for consulting, as I’m working full-time, but you could have your folks read my blog or search it, as it covers just about everything.

      And if they have any questions, they can always ask me, as I often run out of topics for my Writing Tip of the Day.

  9. Oluwatoyin Says:

    Dear Jeanne, i read your article in world oil magazine on subsea processing technology make big strides and i really learnt from it.i am a postgraduate student in one of the universities in Malaysia and i am requesting if you could help answer a few questions on subsea processing technology.

  10. Oluwatoyin Says:

    Dear Jeanne, many thanks for your kind response.i will get in touch with Brian Skeels.

  11. Neurotic (@pcgneurotic) Says:

    Hi Jeanna,

    First of all, many thanks. Being a professional proofreader and editor myself, and having recently moved into oil&gas in Central Europe, your blog is almost too good to be true!

    I would like to ask you a question about something which remains frustratingly vague to me. Is mixing numbers with words legitimate in any way, shape or form? For example, writing 270 thousand instead of 270,000. The reason I ask, is that the new place I’m working in has a rule that it’s acceptable to mix, because the written word ‘thousand’ (or million, etc) represents an approximate figure, and the writer either doesn’t know the exact amount or doesn’t want or need to specify it. This means that if you read ‘340 thousand barrels of Brent crude’, it could well be 340, 452 barrels.

    It sounds mad to me, but before I go laying down any laws, I wanted to hear from the Oilpatch!


    Guy Cole, Poland. 🙂

  12. andrew mcdonald Says:

    Looking for help to compil in writing 6 Drilling Units for a Petroleum HND being delivered in Libya, anybody out there can help!!!!

  13. Sheila Says:

    Help… I am reviewing a report about a site where there are two pump houses (east and west), and there is one 400,000-gallon underground water reservoir associated with each pump house – which is a total of two reservoirs. The writer has written: [Employee] observed two 400,000-gallon underground water reservoirs within both the east and west pump house on the site.

    Is this correct?? To my mind, it reads two reservoirs were under each building, a total of four. I want to change it to something like this, but if it is okay as written, it is better not change it.

    One 400,000-gallon underground water reservoir is located within each of the east and west pump house on the site (two in total).


    • petrocomputing Says:

      Dear Sheila:
      I agree with you that this particular wording implies two reservoirs in two pump houses for a total of four. Your revision is OK. I would word it like this:

      [Employee] observed two 400,000-gallon underground water reservoirs on the site: one under the east pump house, and one under the west pump house.

      That’s pretty clear.
      Thanks for asking!
      Love, Jeanne

  14. Ted Richardson Says:

    I know this is a technical writing site, and I respect your language skills. Therefore, I can’t resist asking you, in your opinion, if the “t” in the word often should be pronounced when spoken … or not.

  15. Ted Richardson Says:

    Thanks. I had been wondering if there was a situation where it would be pronounced. Now I know there is not. Ted

  16. Craig Weems Says:

    Programmatic maintenance of document metadata

    I’m seeking a software solution for the technical writing challenge we
    face. I work for an international organization that makes construction standards. These standards are based on common engineering practice, our own experience, requests by other bodies or by reference to other authorities. These standards are revised every 3 or 4 years. We are now being asked to document all the background data for all requirements (a standard is the document, a standard is composed of individual requirements). The background data can include attributes such as the requester, the request, our technical opinion, supporting standards, the location of the new or changed text, who responded and a numerical ID. If someone questions the competency of a requirement we would like to be able to quickly provide a consummate answer.

    All of these requests are currently kept in an excel spreadsheet. The standards are drafted in Word. Each request that is acted upon (some requests are judged “not compelling”) has its ID noted in a Word comment which point to the affected text. The expectation is that all text will have comments that lead to supporting data. Obviously the Excel/Word approach not a competent nor durable solution.

    We are seeking an application that will keep the text and supporting data as part of a programmatic solution. We are prepared to continue the use of Word as a text editor if need be. The published text would remain as before; a collection of requirements. Access to background data will remain with the document owner. I would expect that there are others who need to maintain text and supporting data but identifying a solution has resisted my best efforts.

    Are you aware of a solution?


    Craig Weems

  17. Adam Says:

    Hi Jeanne,

    Let me know if you are currently looking for client engagements pls.



  18. Nitin Says:

    Hi Jeanne,

    I am looking for freelancers who have experience of writing for O&G/ Energy sector in North America. Additional experience of writing for technology/software solutions for O&G/Energy will be a great plus. Would you be a position to recommend anyone?


    • petrocomputing Says:

      I know a bunch of freelancers who could write IT stuff for the oil and gas industry. Carole Minor, Virginia Brooks, Stephanie Nelson, Donna Marcotte. They are all linked to me on LinkedIn.

  19. Vita Says:

    Wow I found your blog interesting. I came across your blog while searching for “well-known” and the hyphen 😀
    Keep writing! it seems that I’ll come back often 😀

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