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Re: OT - Does spelling really count?

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Christopher Wright wrote:


On Jan 11, 2005, at 4:59 PM, Dennis S. Wish, PE wrote:

and most codes are written for lawyers rather than practitioners.

I'll presume you've never tried to explain the code to a lawyer. I've had that experience with several codes and standards; they sure weren't written for any lawyer I ran across. Ambiguity only arises when code writers disregard Einstein's Rule: ' Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.'
Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com    | this distance" (last words of Gen.
...................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw/

Chris,
I think you misunderstood my point. I worked on code committees and I remember spending literally hours debating the words should, shall, may, will etc in code language. These are legal terms and the rhetoric of the code is written in legalese - intending to be specific. It rarely is. You are correct that a lawyer does not understand the engineering concepts, but if the code said that the engineer "shall" provide... and then it said that the engineer "will" provide.. there are two different meanings here. These don't require knowledge in engineering, but an understanding of the rhetoric of the law.

Actually, that was the only point I was trying to make that most codes are written with more concern for the legal rhetoric of the law than the accuracy or value of the principles of engineering.

Yeah! I have tried to explain code to a lawyer and no- it never works. Even worse is trying to explain engineering concepts to a jurist whose only idea of a moment is the instant before I explained it meant something else.

Dennis

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