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Re: Concrete Text Books

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In a message dated 10/22/2003 10:21:37 AM Eastern Standard Time, njineer(--nospam--at) writes:  "
My writing would be pretty bad too, "


I don't understand the logic that "It's okay someone else is not a good writer, I'm not either".  If you saw plans with badly designed details would you say "Its okay that this structure is going to be hard to build, I'm not very good at wood design either."

Neither do I understand the previously voiced opinion that stated something to the effect that engineers did have to write well because lawyers and doctors made up words.  Is that somehow significant?

My personal opinion is that engineers are (should be) accountable for what they write, just as they are accountable for what they design.   

The rules of English grammar (or any other grammar) are to ensure that what is communicated is understood by all those who read it.  It is no different than weld symbols or reinforcing bar call-outs.  Similarly,  words are defined in dictionaries so that everyone uses the same definition or at least has a limited number of options to chose from.   This is so the reader understands what the author means.

Alot of engineering literature does not seem to follow the rules of English (or any other) grammar;  nor do authors seem to be using words according to their dictionary definitions.  As a result, readers guess at what the author meant.    If you are reading a textbook and you don't know anything about the subject, how are you supposed to know whether you are correctly guessing at what the author meant?  Sometimes people guess right; from what I have seen, very often they don't.

It's a little like the game of telephone where you go around a circle and repeat what you think the previous person said.  What comes out at the end is usually very different from what went in.  

Gail Kelley