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It's No Wonder!!
8

It's No Wonder!!

It's No Wonder!!

(OP)
We've all seen those posts wherein the OP claims to not be able to find any information. Here's an example (though I've seen worse, I wasn't inclined to search for them...this one was recent):

Quote:

I would like to have some information about "Piping Pot for Level Gauge". it is kind of pressure vessel 24" in diamiter and 2600 mm in hight with sight glass and flanges.in the web I can not find usefull information.

Perhaps there is a phonetic search engine that might help those who cannot spell or cannot create a logical search string. Is this the goal of "Bing"?  

In this example, there are three "sentences", at least three words are not spelled correctly, and there is a mixture of units. Although his primary search string is spelled correctly, it appears to contain a colloquialism (pot), that might not achieve his goal and would necessitate resorting to other search strings.  What would he attempt in his next search?

I realize that language is a barrier, but it seems that more often their lack of search success is related to an inability to spell, or to apply some sense of logic to the search.

Thoughts? Discussion?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Hi,Ron,

Reads like it was written by someone for whom English is not their native language. Some younger Brits write and express themselves just as badly, though.

Oddly, despite spelling, ambiguity, syntax and semantic problems in communicating with the world in general, youngsters seem to make their contemporaries understand what they intend, despite the literal meaning of what's said being different.   

RE: It's No Wonder!!

(OP)
bobble293...you make an excellent point. It seems that the younger groups do tend to communicate without the benefit of organized communication.  Perhaps it has just become somewhat of a "foreign" language to the rest of us!

When I review the reports of my associates, I feel a duty to make sure that the grammar and spelling are correct for several reasons.  First, they need to learn (or at least I think they should) and second, it conveys an image that I want to promote for myself and my business, and last, but certainly not least, I want the information to be universally understood by the "audience".

RE: It's No Wonder!!

When I was in high school, every teacher had the obligation to require proper punctuation and grammar.  If I turned in a Biology paper with poor grammar or any misspelled words, I either flunked the assignment or got it back to fix (longhand) prior to resubmitting it for a poor grade (100% on content = "B", the scale fell quickly from there).

When my boys were in high school, they would get papers back with incompetent spelling, punctuation, and grammar with decent grades and no indication from the teacher that there was a problem.  When my wife would occasionally be asked to review the papers before they were submitted she would mark up the grammar and give it to me to look at the technical stuff.  Those papers always got top marks and usually a comment of appreciation from the teacher.  But the drek we started with would also have gotten a good grade.

I've always felt that you get what you measure, so if the 21st century schools feel that language is only the role of the language teacher, then the students will do just enough to get by and the language skills that my generation valued will become secondary and tertiary.

I finished a job last week where a 1st year Engineer had been working for 6 weeks on a technical analysis of a project.  The deadline was fast approaching and he got called away to a 2 week class at the last minute.  His mentor hired me to finish the analysis.  I spent 40 hours trying to pull his draft together into something that could be presented.  Then found that he had completely missed 1/3 of the project and I had to throw it all away and then spent 46 hours doing the analysis from start to finish and documenting it.  His analytical skills were a touch weak, but that was just the inexperience that we all start with.  The problem was that his communications skills were non existent.  He's a smart guy, but no one ever held him accountable for his communication skills.

David  

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Is spelled actual a word, I have only ever heard or seen spelt used?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

That's a good one.  Man, I couldn't do that if I tried.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: It's No Wonder!!

ajack1,
If you check some dictionaries, you will find spelled is the preferred US spelling, and spelt is preferred in the UK.  When you are contributing to this forum, you might want to check your own posts for spelling and punctuation.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

If grammatical (or grammatic) errors were a real test of someone engineering ability then I have failed in engineering and life. I personally life the way this guy has spelt height (hight), makes sense to me. I think every word in the should be able to be spelt phonetically in the dictionary, no more ie before except after... or too, two, to, all those confusing situations out the door!

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Get out of here, RE!  You can do better.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Farsi?

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: It's No Wonder!!

The question "How's your Iranian? (or Farsi)" would be totally appropriate on a board in Farsi.  "How's your Spanish?" would be OK in an Engineering board in Spanish (and there are several).  I don't think it holds much weight here since this board is focused on solutions in the English Language that have been posed in the English Language.  If you can't ask a question in coherent English, then are you really going to be able to understand the answers?

Rowingengineer,
Can I pose that question another way?  How much of your job is communicating with draftsmen, with clients, with superiors, with users, with other Engineers, with subordinates?  The better you are at clear, unambiguous communications, the fewer problems there are and the more time you have to do the fun parts of the job.  

I think my communication skills are adequate, and I believe that those skills have played an important role in my limited success in my career.  I've known a number of Engineers that were almost proud of their inability to spell or punctuate, and they have tended to be frustrated with their rate of advancement to more responsible positions (I'm talking leading project teams, not necessarily into management which always seemed to me to be a horrible way to make a living).

David

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I agree with Greg in suggesting that Ron is being too hard on this poster.  He probably speaks Persian, if not one of the other languages of Iran.  I think his question is quite readable and understandable.  He has attached a drawing, probably from another source, for which he can't be blamed.  The mixing of units is probably because the base vessel is from one supplier, and is then modified with the attachments, so really the US's stubborn refusal to adopt the SI system is to blame.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

David,
All of my day is spent communicating with draftsmen, with clients, with Engineers, with subordinates, aka having fun! However this is mostly verbal communication, generally gramma in spoken form is not that closely scrutinised. I a great believer in; if you can write it in an email, you can call someone instead. However sketching to me is the more important skill in my field, a nice sketch will tell a tale worth reading about.
However given my firm handles insurance reports on a regular basis there is a need for the written communication to be both technically and grammatically competent, I hire a secretary for this purpose, and ensure I use spell check for most of my communications.  


Sure I maybe over stating my incompetence, but who can read this?

Olny 85 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

The importance of grammar, is in the communication level, and the people the document is create for; e.g. for a legal doc you need to ensure a great deal of clarity, however for a person on site that only made it to grade 10 and dropped out, the need to be more simplistic and less grammatically correct is also important.  

On a website that has no requirements for English competence to be a member I think we can handle a few communication errors, especially given engineers in general have a stronger right side of the brain (the left is the bit that helps with English and related subjects).
 

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field

RE: It's No Wonder!!

(OP)
Greg and hokie66...my abilities in  Persian/Farsi/Hindi/French and almost all other languages of the world suck (a universally understood slang term, I believe)!  Being from the southern US, I have enough of a problem with english!

My intent was not to be hard on the OP. In fact his question is irrelevant. My point was that if one wants to find information in an english based data structure, one must conform to the data structure, not just summarily dismiss that the information doesn't exist when insufficient or improper search attempts are made.

Secondarily, I see many examples in day-to-day practice of engineers who cannot communicate effectively, or whose credibility suffers because of their lack of written communications skills.  Perhaps I'm just stuck in an "old school" attitude, but I think that writing remains an important tool for the engineer.  David gave several examples, similar to many we've all seen.

As I stated in my post, this was not the best example of this issue that I've seen, but it was a recent one, so I used it.

I suppose there's an irony in my post.  I try to use proper spelling and grammar; however, I did not convey my intent adequately to be understood in general.shadeshappy

RE: It's No Wonder!!

No, Ron, there is no irony.  I do agree with you in general and also consider that written communication skills are very important but sadly lacking in many engineers.  I was merely defending the member from Iran who I think was doing the best he could.  Googling myself, the pot he is talking about may be for a nuclear power plant, so maybe we shouldn't help him.  

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I do not care either, how much command someone has over one language or another, as long as the message is conveyed.

I always say, if you have trouble with my grammar skills or a language, it is your problem not mine.

 

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I don't consider the OP that Ron noted to be off the mark.  The diamiter - could be miss typing (we've all done it). Same with the usefull (double l) - how many of us can correctly as the ing to picnic? or traffic?  Still, I have lived with a fantastic Indonesian lady for over 22 years now and she spells the preposition "of" as "off" - and that's only for a start.  Still, we live with it.  Of course, we all know how to compute the deflexion of a loaded plate acting on a subgrade, eh?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Re: the "mixed" units.  Underground pipe in Hong Kong is measured in diameter using inches and lengths by meters.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I agree with Ron.  There are numerous English:Other Language dictionaries out there, I myself own 3.  If I were trying to communicate in a language that was not my primary I would at least get all the words spelled correctly.  My grammar might be off, but with the correct words the intent would get across.
zdas04: I wonder if teachers today are more used to texting language than real English?  Whn u txt u need 2 use fw ltrs as psibl.  L8r, c u 2moro! Can you imagine?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

"as long as the message is conveyed"

Yeah, that's fine as long as you're trying to convey your message to people who are willing to try and puzzle it out.  A search engine, as the OP was trying to point out from the very beginning, will not be so forgiving.  Search Engine 101:  Make sure your search terms are correct.

I've gone poking around in other languages.  If I want to search, I make damn sure I have everything spelled right.  Ideally, I find a reference in that language with the appropriate term in it, and copy from there.  If not, option #2 is Babelfish or similar online translator.  Not great for generating large swaths of native-level idiomatic text, but pretty good for a word or short phrase.

I should not be excused from having to do this kind of research if I want to look something up in a foreign language, and neither should anyone else.

Hg

Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Hgtx;

No one forces anyone here to try and puzzle anything out. You have the option to ignore it. There are times to pick on language skills, this is not one of them. If I were looking for a smart engineer, I could not careless about his/her language skills, as long has he/she gets the job done.

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I would say as much though that for an engineer mixing up units is not good. That is not a language barrier.

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Rafiq, go back and read the original post and then read mine.  The point is that if one doesn't know how to spell one's terms, one is not going to find them on the web.  In other words, one is not going to be able to properly use (*) the tool that is the Internet to solve one's problem.

It's not a value judgement(**) on a poster's worth as a human being.  It's an observation on how tools work.  No, I take that back.  I do judge someone harshly who doesn't bother to do what they need to do to get a tool to work--especially if it doesn't involve really esoteric knowledge about how the tool works.  Someone who doesn't understand that search terms need to match, that computers aren't very good (getting better, but still not very good) at figuring out spelling mistakes, maybe is not ideally placed in a technical field.

Hg

(*) I don't believe in the "no split infinitives" rule.  It did not come from natural use of language but was imposed from outside by those who weren't clever enough to notice that the real reason Latin didn't split infinitives was that it can't--infinitives in Latin are one word, not two.  However, if I'm writing in a particularly formal context, I obey it anyway just in case it happens to be my reader's pet peeve.

(**) Noah Webster made a lot of sensible changes, but I just can't get behind "judgment".

Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: It's No Wonder!!

ajack, it is an Americanism.

I've had spelt corrected to spelled several times.

Unless we're talking about the grainwinky smile.  I always thought 'spelled' was something witches did.

As to the OP, correctly telling the search engine what to search for is half the fun!  That's why I usually try searches several ways with several phrases.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

==> I always say, if you have trouble with my grammar skills or a language, it is your problem not mine.
When you send out garbage, expect garbage to be heard.

Good Luck
--------------
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: It's No Wonder!!

If anyone wants an example of an ingrained mixed-unit, just take a look at the tyre size(s) on your car.

- Steve

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Tire sizes are a good example of mixed units, but there are 20/day on eng-tips.com that are just as fouled up.  People want to know the thermodynamics of a gas at 150 psi and 150C (and I usually just fuss at them for saying "psi" instead of "psig" or "psia", the mixed units have become normal).  They want to know how long it takes to go 300 miles at 80 km/hr.  The mixed units seem to be more prevalent on ET than SI.

Earlier this year I was teaching a class in London to folks from all over Europe with a sprinkling from Australia and a few places in Africa.  I started off by asking what units people used for reporting well volume-flow rates.  I got SCF, m^3, E3m^3, Joules, and BTU.  For the ones that used a version of m^3 no one could tell me if it was "normal" m^3 or "actual" m^3, and if it was normal, what was the pressure and temperature base.  The ones that used energy couldn't tell me the energy/volume conversion.  About half used SCF.  I was going to teach the course in SCF anyway, but I got a lot less grief than I would have gotten if I hadn't polled the room.

Units just keep amazing me.

David

RE: It's No Wonder!!

3
Here's a real life example of the importance of grammar.  I called my wife the other day at her work, and left a message for her with her secretary.  The note she got said:

'No soccer
fields closed'

So my wife called me to confirm that she still had to pick up my daughter for soccer, since none of the fields were closed.

I explained that soccer was cancelled, and the message was supposed to be:

'No soccer.
Fields closed."

Don't tell me that grammar isn't important.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Here's a real life example of the importance of grammar.  I called my wife the other day at her work, and left a message for her with her secretary.  The note she got said:

'No soccer
fields closed'

So my wife called me to confirm that she still had to pick up my daughter for soccer, since none of the fields were closed.

I explained that soccer was cancelled, and the message was supposed to be:

'No soccer.
Fields closed.'

Don't tell me that grammar isn't important.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

That is an example of a terrible communication skills, despite knowing the language and grammar.

The kid could still be waiting at the field because there was no soccer as fields were closed!

A bad grammar such as " No pick up (name of the kid). No soccer" would have sent much clearer message.

 

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

No pick-up, know soccer.
Know pick-up, no soccer.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Sounds like a cartoon lawyer.

Initial consulatation. free. no. charge.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

cmmon u old schoolie's.....gimme a break.............the whole idea of googling a misppelled word not giving you the results is not........right........try the 2nd string for search "pressure vessel 24" in diamiter and 2600 mm in hight" & you get 80% same results

and above all google gives you the correct spellings in link which can be search with another click.....So what have I wasted 1 Second..........much better than spending 5 minutes to look for spellings.............

The whole game has changed since you guys left school.......it is about finding info.......not memorising info...you cannot memorise everything but you can find a lot of it........

Anyhow search is not all about getting you spellings right.......It is to find the most appropriate search string which gives you what you want & that involves multiple searches(most of the time....)

If you wanna talk constructive lets talk how to search something easily or effectively......share your experiences & techniques...........after all these forums are about finding solutions not criticizing someone on his language skills(or in some cases on how much they care about spellings & grammer)

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I don't think this thread is about criticizing anyone on their language skills. It is a discussion with an example. The example is only to help provoke thought and reflection.
 

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field

RE: It's No Wonder!!

(OP)
Eggs act lee, RE!

RE: It's No Wonder!!

You know, I wonder why anyone bothers going to university anymore when they have the internet.

Like Gurjjeet  says "The whole game has changed since you guys left school.......it is about finding info.......not memorising info"

No need to learn what to do with that info once you find it or the like.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

And the information that is found on internet is generated and posted by whom? The New School who find the info on other web pages?

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

==> And the information that is found on internet is generated and posted by whom?
Who cares?  Since it's on the Internet, it must be true.

Good Luck
--------------
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: It's No Wonder!!

When I used to write computer programs we had a saying "if it's on green and white, it's right" refering to the green and white tracter-feed paper that was in everyone's printer.  That was 30 years ago.  Today the misinformation on the WWW is so pervasive that people don't think about it enough to make a joke.

David

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Okay seems like some of us can get good carreers in Journalism.......Ask a question then get the answer.....then cut the answer into pieces......turn it tumble it twist it & present in whatever way you want.

Anyways getting back to the question & my post.....anybody tried the original search & saw if they got the exact stuff on putting the correct spelling search string?????? If you havent then all you are doing is beating the bush........

What he needs to find is the pot he is after not the dimensions. Still, that is not enough he needs to come up with alternate words to search.....

The whole post I wrote was about the use of correct spellings in a search string......& No wonder most of guys cannot find on internet what they want........They stress too much on spellings but not on the actual art of Searching on net.........This is relatively new skill set which is not much dependent on spellings & grammer.

@Kenat...Mate, I do not see your comment related to the topic.......It seems you wanna stress that a person who does not care about the grammer does not know what to do in his proffesion....Sounds bit stereotypic isn't it??

@Rbulsara.....Mate, where did this old school got the information from when they were born.....I guess they didn't reinvent the wheel when they were young???

I was not here to have a argument but only to stress that the knowledge of spellings is no longer a merit/desirable quality(with microsoft word & E-mail clients...it is bit easy these days)

On the grammer side apart from patent applications & legal documentation, I do see a trend towards more casual approach in written communication in general.

I am not against a person with good grammer but it is not highest in my priority.

I once had a boss who will not tolerate a minor spelling mistake in a document but needs to be told about the difference between nitriding & thru hardening. He was a Mechanical Engineer.

 

RE: It's No Wonder!!

You misunderstand me Gurjjeet, my last post was a response to your epiphany about "The whole game has changed since you guys left school.......it is about finding info.......not memorising info" I was wholeheartedly agreeing and taking that concept to it's logical conclusion.  I do not have excellent English skills, however I do my best to apply what I do have when it matters.

A word to the wise, you're posting in a "Engineering Language/Grammar Skills Forum" forum, it's generally considered good form try to be reasonably correct with your use of language here.

Oh, and I ain't your m8 me ol' cock sparrow.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: It's No Wonder!!

(OP)
Uh gerjjeet...that would be "grammar", "profession", and "stereotypical"....lol

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Uh gerjjeet...that would be "grammar", "profession", and "stereotypical"....


Uh Ron......u shd nt use a Comma(,) before and......

nd You got my name wrong in your post......I would worry more about the recipient name spellings than the......

Perhaps Copy & paste......

And my English is reasonably correct.....perhaps my definition of reasonable is not very reasonable for you.

Hahaha.....have fun guys......Don't stress too much....

RE: It's No Wonder!!

Isn't this just another case where we all believe we are right and anyone who takes less care or has lower skills are just lazy and stupid whilst anyone who takes more care and has better skills are just pedantic and overly fussy?

This of course does not apply to that idiot ajack1 whose faux pas on his previous post just goes to prove what a buffoon he really is.

It must be incredibly difficult for someone whose first language is not English when the English use spelt and the Americans use spelled not to think that spelted is acceptable.
 

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I think all most of us expect is for people to do their best.  If an engineer working for me refuses to try to improve his/her communication skills because it is "not necessary", we will soon part.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

What about clients with poor communication skills.....oh that is a different story!

Rafiq Bulsara
http://www.srengineersct.com

RE: It's No Wonder!!

As long as a client has the language skills required to complete a check then the rest of his communications skills are irrelevant and it is our job to take his incompetent description of the problem and turn it into what he really wanted but didn't know he wanted.

David

RE: It's No Wonder!!

That's taking things a bit far.  There is a difference between bad command of a foreign language and the inability to understand and explain a problem.  We get both of these all the time.  As often as not, a problem is misunderstood by a native English speaker as by a non-native English speaker.

- Steve

RE: It's No Wonder!!

The thing about grammar is that bad grammar can change the meaning of what you've written.  The point of written information is to communicate with your audience.  If what you write is unclear, or the meaning of what you've written is not what you intended, then you are failing at your mission.

Frankly, who cares what you type into a search engine, it doesn't matter, because you are the one who will determine if the answers it produces are what you want.  However, on a forum such as this, you are asking living (mostly) people to give you assistance, voluntarily.  It is extremely rude to throw out a badly worded, ambiguous, sloppy request, and then expect people to voluntarily waste their time trying to interpret your question.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

TenPenny,
Star for you.  Your last sentence hit the essence of the thread.

David

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I'll give a star for that too.  I have a mental process I go through when I encounter a post that is either so poorly worded that it is incomprehensible or so poorly presented technically that it is completely unable to be understood.  I think to myself "click-in-click-out".  I am tempted often type that in as a response.  If you ever see it you will know what it means.

rmw

PS: and I did use the Google spell checker on this, although I don't always agree with its recommendations.

RE: It's No Wonder!!

I like the approach of www.goofbay.com.
They must have seen the plethora of eBay typographical errors and decided to start a website to capitalise on these.
Maybe there's a market for an engineering equivalent ???

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