Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

Re: English is tough but its "grammer" is even tougher

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
And many times it is just a matter of someone's fingers being faster than
there (intentional typo) brains!!  In otherwords, _TYPOS_!

My point (here and in my past messages) is that I am _FAR_ from perfect
when it comes to speaking and writing English and I will never be stupid
enough to claim otherwise.  As a result, I tend to not "throw stones while
in a glass house," as the saying goes.

While I think that Gail made much more of the issue as it relates to
engineers (in otherwords, MANY more people than just engineers write and
speak poorly, including other professionals such as doctors, lawyers,
etc), I do agree with her that this list is a much more informal medium,
which results in many people not taking the time to check spelling,
grammar, punctuation (sp?), etc.  I think that most consider it much more
important to provide assistance to techinical questions and problems.

I, like Gail, would be more careful if I was writing something for a more
formal medium (although I do have to admit that I am EXTREMELY lazy when
it comes to proof reading my own writing even for things that need it),
such as techinical reports for clients or articles for publication.  Even
in such situations, however, I still make mistakes that I don't always
catch.  Thus, I am hesitate to point out someone else's English flaws lest
they toss many back in my face.

And more than likely, there are a few mistakes above!!


Ypsilanti, MI

P.S. If someone wants to respect me less for not taking the time to proof
read this and other messages, no skin off my back.  After all, it is due
to the "sin" of being lazy.

On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 valentin.shustov(--nospam--at) wrote:

> English looks very tough and its "grammer" seems even tougher.
> I do not mean the "grammer" as the "grammar" but the "grammer"
> as a non-traditional spelling of the word "grammar" introduced
> by Scott Maxwell in his two messages of 2 Sep 2003 devoted to
> better English for engineers.  Thanks!!
> The following is the list of this and other upgrading of the
> English Spelling in those messages: "grammer" (4 times),
> "intented", "otherwords", "momuments", "techinical" (2 times),
> "sophmore", "sypathize", and "sentances".
> One of the Scott's messages was addressed to Alden Manipula
> who also engaged non-traditional "sentace", "sentances",
> "ridiculouos", and "legelese" in his response.
> Gail Kelley who, actually, started the discussion on
> engineering schools that "put a very low premium on teaching
> engineers to speak and write correctly… which is one reason
> engineers get very little respect", used only one irregular
> word "polical" in the short message of 31 Aug 2003 against my
> usage of the word-combination "aspired position".
> However, my search in Google for the word-combination "aspired
> position" resulted in 29600 entries.  It is widely used in
> different personnel questionnaires and human recourses related
> literature.
> What a pity!
> Write safely,
> Valentin Shustov, Ph.D., P.E.
> -----------------
> Original Message-----
> From: valentin.shustov(--nospam--at)
> Sent: at 17:40:00 on 29 Aug 2003
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Advance Degrees and Structural Engineering
> I agree with Dennis Wish on the necessity of educating people,
> primarily, of U.S. for the structural engineering and other
> similar jobs rather than using cheap foreign brains and
> skills. However, I am skeptical about a possibility of any
> dramatic improvement in this direction unless the following
> improvements in the upper branches of government take place:
> Any aspirant for the U.S. presidency or for a gubernatorial
> position in states like California should:
> 1. Pass an IQ test.
> 2. Be licensed (like, e.g., CE or SE) for the aspired
> position.
> Period,
> Valentin Shustov
> ----------
> On 31 Aug 2003, Gail Kelley wrote:
> From: GSKWY(--nospam--at)
>  To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>  Subject: Re: Advance Degrees and Structural Engineering
> A good understanding of the English language would be a handy
> thing for anyone in the US, even if they are not aspiring to a
> polical position.
> "aspired" is not an adjective.  It is the inflected form of
> the intransitive verb "to aspire".
> As in "He aspired to the position".
> Unfortunately,  engineering schools put a very low premium on
> teaching engineers to speak and write correctly.  Which is one
> reason engineers get very little respect.
> Gail Kelley
> -----------
> On 2 Sep 2003, Scott Maxwell wrote:
> From: Scott Maxwell smaxwell(--nospam--at)
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: English is tough
> So, let me get this straight...
> After we went through this whole bit (by some) that too much
> time in undergraduate engineering education is wasted on
> non-engineering things like humanities (which includes English
> to my knowledge), we have decide that colleges don't do enough
> to "teach engineers to speak and write correctly," eh?  (And
> it still bothers me to no end that to my knowledge the comma
> is supposed to be inside the quotation marks for "proper"
> just ain't be lookin' write...pun and mistake
> intented)  No wonder schools can't get it right...we don't
> even seem to really know what we want (other than to make
> future engineering students attend college for about 25 years
> to the cost of $1.5 million so that they can become experts
> at EVERYTHING meaning that we [the engineering profession]
> don't have to expend any effort to mentor, train, or educate
> our young engineers).
> Now, this is were I will point out that in my mind (in
> otherwords, to my understanding) things like being able to
> read and write correctly are supposed to be taught to kid
> PRIOR to entering college.  Thus, for all intents and
> purposes, engineers should be just as well spoken (and
> written) as any other profession, with the exception of those
> that major in English.  The primary difference MIGHT be that
> engineering schools don't REINFORCE what was taught in K-12 as
> well as some other majors do. After all, we tend to spend most
> of our class time dealing with numbers rather than words.
> Thus, since engineers tend to get a nice 4 year period
> of little writing, we are allowed to get sloppy with our use
> of the English language.
> And, FWIW, I personally don't buy the notion that engineers
> don't get respect because we don't speak or write correctly.
> I personally maintain that the biggest reasons that we don't
> get respect is that 1) not too many people really understand
> what engineers do and 2) we don't really do it for the
> respect, unlike some architectural designers that do elaborate
> designs that end up being momuments to their egos (not all do
> this but many do...I have dealt with quite a few even in my
> young career).
> Regards,
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
> ---------------
> On 2 Sep 2003, Alden Manipula wrote:
> From: "Alden Manipula" amanipula(--nospam--at)
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: English is tough
> Technical writing was a required class when I went school,
> which wasn't =
> too long ago.  It was only a semester and was, IMHO, a very
> good class.  We
> worked on writing engineering reports, manuals, letters to
> clients, etc. =
> We basically practiced to write short, concise, to the point
> documents.  =
> But what railroaded me was when I started working.
> I would write my letters and reports that explained things
> simply.  =
> Doing my best to do what I was taught in school.  When my boss
> would proof read =
> them they always came back with a lot of red marks that
> resulted in my report
> being substantially longer and not concise at all. =20
> For example, the following sentace:  The beam is exhibiting a
> deflection
> greater then one inch at midspan.
> Why do I have to write a run on sentence to explain all that
> when all =
> the
> supporting information is already in the paragraph?
> Basically, I was =
> told I
> had write like this because of lawyers who nit pick sentances
> in a court
> room.  Now, I've never been in court to defend a sentence
> before, but =
> this seems ridiculouos. =20
> I think part of the problem is most engineers think they have
> to write =
> in legelese to cover their butts.
> Go Blue.
> Alden Manipula
> -------------
> On 2 Sep 2003, Scott Maxwell wrote:
> From: Scott Maxwell smaxwell(--nospam--at)
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: English is tough
> Alden,
> Technical writing was also a required course while I was at
> Michigan as an undergrad.  I also had to take a freshman
> English class.  But, then the freshman English class was much
> more of a composition/creative writing/writing class that
> something more "technical" like grammer.  The grade in that
> class was more a function of pleasing the instructor by
> writing in a style that they liked rather then "writing
> correctly".
> I also had to write techinical reports for my basic
> geotect/soils class and for my hydraulics class.  Again, the
> format and techinical content of the reports was much more
> important than the least in the scores/grades.  I
> also had a variety of other classes here and there that
> had some sort of written report (did a paper on the Cypress
> Viaduct collapse during the Loma Prieta earthquake in course
> covering design for dynamic forces).
> The last class that I had that really covered the "technical"
> aspect of the English language was my freshman English class
> in high school.  I did not make the honors English class that
> year, which like the honors English classes I had as sophmore
> and junior was more of a composition/writing and literature
> course rather than things like grammer.  To be honest, I
> consider my freshman high school English course better and
> much more useful than anything that I had in any of the honors
> English course that I took.
> As to writing on the job, I understand and sypathize.  But, in
> reality, that is nothing.  I am helping someone out doing a
> little research on car emission issues.  As a result, I had to
> read parts of the 1977 Clean Air
> Act.  Let's just say that reading the law out of Congress
> (full of lawyers and "legal speak") made reading _ANY_ model
> building code provision seem crystal clear.  It was only about
> 6 pages of stuff to read, but there were so many run on
> sentances and other "legal speak" that my head was literally
> hurting.  No wonder lawyers make so much money...any one that
> can sit there and read (or write) that blather deserves to be
> paid large sums of money.  Just six pages of it and I was
> looking for the nearest cliff to jump off managed to
> be mind numbing and painful at the same time!!
> Regards,
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
> vXPj0j)X@Cӆ+,z{m*.&ڔIwbzJ	b~牯:r{}'Jr{eyh0j)ǚ+-й-춋j)梞zgmj|ʋݶazX+)bq&j)ڝٚɷ{hםʋ"jG+ho"m梞

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
*   site at:
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********