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Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors
2

Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
One of our administrative people decided to circulate a couple of reports that were written by coworkers as examples of 'the best of the best' and 'exceptional'.  At the risk of sounding like I'm disappointed that one of them was not my own, I feel the need to point out some rather glaring grammatical gaffs made by someone senior to myself.  The specific grammatical error I find most objectionable is one that he makes in every report he writes or critiques.  It is the misuse of the word 'since' in place of 'because', 'due to', 'as the result of', etc.  He has reviewed my reports and has tried to insert this colloquialism, which I end up having to change back or rephrase in such a way that removes the temptation.

I've gone so far as to point out to the people who make the final editorial decisions that the word since should be used to describe a time relationship; e.g. He has been president since the 2008 elections.  But it seems to have made no impact.

This is one example from this 'exceptional' report.

"They are also subject to significant thermal cyclic movement differentials, since the metal of the frames has a high coefficient of thermal expansion and contraction and is directly exposed to solar heating."

I would have written, "They are also subject to significant thermal cyclic movement differentials as the result of direct exposure to solar heating and high coefficient of expansion of the metal frames."

I know I'm right.  How do I get across that I'm right?  Should I even care?  Pick another battle?  Or go for it and point out the number of sentences in this 'exceptional' report that go one for five lines, or the paragraph that has what must be a record-breaking number of times the word 'sealant' is used, 15, four of them in a single sentence?

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

You are not going to teach your old dog new tricks, since he is unwilling to learn.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
hahahaha  

BTW, I should point out my own error (more of a typo) My title should say 'Critiquing a Superior's Grammatical Errors'

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

You are right, now suck it up since your bonus depends on it.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

My wife worked for the local school district until recently.  She used to love getting memos from their legal department etc. then going through with a red pen making all the necessary corrections and sending them back to her supervisor.

No, it didn't win her any friends.

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: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

His use of "since" does not sound wrong to me so I checked several dictionaries and they all listed one use as a conjunction meaning "because".

One misuse of words that I'm sensitive to noticing is the use of "myself" in place of "me". Only I, and no one else, can do something to myself.  

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Cass...Used to have a Senior Engineer who was one of my reviewers.  He had atrocious grammar.  His most common error was the term "irregardless".  Also, he would commonly mix first and third person in a formal report.  I objected to his grammatical changes...had no argument with his technical changes as he was an outstanding engineer...just couldn't write!

At one point I told him that he could remove my name from a report if he didn't correct the grammar...he did (remove my name..not change the report).  I continued to argue with him and eventually won many of the grammatical arguments.

Bottom line...argue the point.  Be right though!

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
I do not do this in a vacuum.  Our corporate standard for grammar and style is the very purist Strunk and White.  I don't care if people want to use since for because in their speech, emails, Eng-Tips posts, or their field and investigation reports.  Where I have the objection is this particular report being held up as the Exalted Exemplar, the Benchmark, the Best of the Best when it violates the standard by which my own reports are routinely judged.  The anarchist in me wants so badly to redline this thing and ask "what gives?"  But, KENAT has a good point.  It will win me no allies.

Tomorrow I will be completing an investigation where I am tasked with writing the summary report.  Guess who will be reviewing it.  My next challenge will be NOT peppering the thing with the word since used in every conceivable context possible.  I'm not sure I can manage to best the use of the word sealant four times in a single sentence though.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Tell him if he has to use that much sealant, his report is doomed to leak.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

There is nothing grammatically wrong with using 'since' as a conjunction to mean because.  It is grammatically wrong to use 'since' as an adverb to mean because.

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

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Is this a battle worth fighting?
Will there be a value in your desired outcome? other than your personal vindication?
Are there rewards and consequences?

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
Only consequences.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

I'm not sure "They are also subject to significant thermal cyclic movement differentials as the result of direct exposure to solar heating and high coefficient of expansion of the metal frames" is technically accurate.

First of all an inanimate object cannot be "subject" (adjective) or subservient to "thermal cyclic movement differentials ". They can be subjected (verb) to them.

Also, the wording implies that "as the result of direct exposure to solar heating..." and [as the result of] high coefficient of expansion. Whereas the differentials are the result of material with a high coefficient of expansion being exposed to direct solar heating.

I think this is right:
They are also subjected to significant thermal cyclic movement differentials which result from the effects of direct exposure to solar heating on the metal frames, which have high thermal expansion coefficients.

Other than the subject / subjected thing I think this sentence was correct:
"They are also subject to significant thermal cyclic movement differentials, since the metal of the frames has a high coefficient of thermal expansion and contraction and is directly exposed to solar heating."

I can't wait to see the responses to this.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Definitely see examples of this every day. If the message gets across clear, I usually have no qualms with it and let it slide with a superior or someone with many years of experience. With younger engineers though, there is no mercy.

Designer and compression springs enthusiast
http://www.coilingtech.com/compression-springs.html

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

across clearly?

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

I had to teach my old boss (industry bigwig, PhD, etc) about "it's" versus "its"

- Steve

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Don't do it Cass.
Add up the pros and cons of doing battle over spelling and grammar and you'll find yourself on a path to disaster.

You won't win.
You may do yourself harm.

I think, you have a good approach to give yourself the satisfaction of playing with him; write the first draft full of opportunities for him to demonstrate his superior intellect and then write the final version with no opportunities.
But even this has risks.
Be satisfied with the small wins. In the end, it may even be easier if you go along and write "since" even when you don't want to.
Go on, splurge. Write a report where you use it at every opportunity but only one time.  
But if he ever suspects you are playing with him, be ready for trouble.

When grammar and spelling become the issue, something more serious is possibly being ignored.
"Fiddling while Rome's burning" I think is the expression.

It may mean this guy is struggling to demonstrate any real aptitude for his actual job. Maybe he is insecure in some way?

I had a business manager who came with a great rep (an "other peoples efforts" rep, as it tuned out) and who was persuaded to spend £1/4mill of the directors money on a new project I was responsible for but when we completed and sat down with the clients he blew it big time.
Didn't matter what I said, what explanations I gave in reports, what strategies or proposals, he either was a masochist who enjoyed explaining to the board that he had p**ssed their money away or he was simply incapable of understanding even the simplest things.
So in the end he was reduced to returning my reports covered in corrections written in tiny pencil writing (Freud, where are you?). I guess it was his way of showing he knew something.

(three years later we got a new business manager - the third since spell-checker - who was actually a good manager, a mistake the board later corrected, but in his time immediately understood everything about the project.  We closed the deal and triggered £multimillion annual sales.)
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

and no doubt someone took (or at least was given) the credit.

bosses are like kids ... you have to pick your battles.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Just finished helping the significant other whose first language is Thai with a 100,000 word thesis in English, the document was continually vetted by her supervisor and co-supervisor both with PhD's in English, the final was reviewed by a panel of "English experts" including the head of the English department.

An experience not to be missed - at least what is what I kept telling myself every time it came back with lots of red writing all over it. (don't end a sentence with a preposition)

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia.)  

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
That is definitely a situation up with which I will not put.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

RB1957, it was worse than that.
They'd introduced a new bonus scheme between the original idiot manager and finally getting a good manager.
Now management likes to use bonus schemes to incentivise the workforce into doing far more productive work than usual.
But they are usually careful to set the targets just high enough that no one quite makes it across the winning line, or if they do, they only qualify for a miserly amount of money - usually such that you tip over into a new tax band and suddenly the tax man takes a huge chunk out of your money and you are actually worse off than before.
Well, they realised they had made a big mistake because it looked like I could be creaming the money in. The only way out of this they could see was to make me redundant, so they did.

I guess I should've been ready for that one. I mean, I've seen this sort of management thinking affecting other people, mostly sales, for decades so it had to be my turn to get caught out.

I think the guy who might have claimed the credit from me for this major coup was too busy distancing himself from the payouts they'd have to make to me.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

JMW,

That's why "bone us" is often properly spelled as two words.

I know that there isn't any "I" in team, but there is an M and E, which usually references back to the person writing the checks. Not that they're stingy, they just have deep pockets and short arms.

Many instances exist where conveying one and only one message is not desirable: I've been asked by potential employers for hiring applicants if I would provide any reference for employees that were made "redundant". To avoid lawyers, the line "You would be very lucky to have this person work for you" comes to mind.

I would never correct a sentence for ending in a proposition-I figure that would only result in an expletive being added before the exclamation point, or otherwise go nucular on me.



 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Cass,  Sounds like Yoda.
"That is definitely a situation up with which I will not put. "

mauricestoker, Exactly.
When I was in the Navy, the Senior Chief's wife was an English Teacher. While she was standing there, I had asked someone else "What time is it?". She said it was incorrect to end the sentence with a proposition. So, I restated the question..."What time is it A$$hole?" and asked her "How was that?". The Senior Chief was not happy.

Rerig

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

I guess Winston Churchill did look a little like Yoda.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

(OP)
Yes, compositepro, that is a witticism attributed to Winston Churchill, but apparently the exact wording, and to whom, and under whatever circumstances, remains in dispute.  And my dance card is full of various disputes right now.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Actually there are two schools of thought on ending a sentence with a preposition, one is a definite no the second accept it.thumbsup2  

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia.)  

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

"such that you tip over into a new tax band and suddenly the tax man takes a huge chunk out of your money and you are actually worse off than before"  

OK JMW, explain that one to me 'cause the few times I got bonuses etc both in UK and US this never happened - and some of them were pretty big.  

Yes the taxman took a bigger proportion of the extra money but I always ended up with a bunch more afterward.

Most tax bands I've seen go something like 0% on the first $20k, 10% on the next $10k and 25% on everything over that or similar.

I'm clearly missing the math where by you end up getting less overall by earning more.

Sounds like Palin/tea party math to me but maybe I'm missing something.

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: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Then it may have been a nasty rumour spread by management since the actuality of a paid bonus never materialised.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Oops, Freudian slip, I would probably have a goatish respsonse to a sentence that ended in a proposition.

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Kenat, you are right. Only the amount that is above the bracket limit will be taxed at higher percentage, the rest will be taxed the same as before accepting that minimal bonus.
gr2vessels

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Our bean counters found a loop-hole in the UK income tax law several years ago that allowed us to receive our bonus (1/8 of pre-tax profit, divided pro-rata based on salary) tax-free.  It didn't last long.

Then of course the subject of bonuses became a problem for management, who decided to scrap them to "improve morale".  I never quite understood that reasoning, very Dilbert.

- Steve

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

It upsets management morale to pay out more money than they'd like to. Bonus payments are thus considered a frivolous way to reward employees for work they think they should do anyway.

It reaches supercritical level when they see an employee potentially able to earn more than they do.

A chap who joined our sales team did so from such a company. As a field salesman he had a territory to look after and a target to meet which, once met,  meant he earned bonus on anything above the target. He would blow through his target with ease, which was not about poor target setting since he was one of several engineers, but about ability.
None the less, it was a cause of concern to the other engineers who were then measured against him and they lusted after his "easy clients" and the target rich areas of his territory.
So next years his target increased and his territory reduced.
He blew through the targets again. He also was at risk of earning more than his sales manager even though his work contributed to the sales managers own potential bonus, the other salesmen didn't do enough and he thus missed earning his bonus.
This routine repeated each year for a few years till he had enough of it and jumped ship.
He stayed with the new company for a few years before starting his own company and doing very well at it.
But, had they paid his bonus each year without question and concentrated on bring the others up to speed, his original company would have done very well. As it was they demotivated and drove away their best earner.

This same mental attitude of management seems to  apply to everything from incentive schemes, suggestion schemes and so on. To everything, in fact, except their own salaries and the shareholder's dividends.

It always amazes me that management can put up posters reminding the workforce that "The customer pays the bills" and forget that this also applies to bonuses.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

1) be careful with that. Sometimes superiors take umbrage at being called out for errors. What's to gain? Does it really matter to you? Don't you have more crucial tasks? Is it your job to correct everyone? At the very least, before offering your idea of what's correct... ask permission. If you ask "do you mind if I offer a pointer on a matter of grammar" and they grant you permission to set forth your position... then at least they can't get upset about you providing advice. Me, I'd love to have constructive criticism- I hate to write poorly [unless I intend to]. Some folks get downright pissy about it. Learn from my fail. Perhaps an anonymous untraceable note.

2) Pot calls kettle black: "Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors"? How about "...a Superior's..."

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

Quote (casseopeia):

casseopeia (Structural)    4 May 11 18:20
hahahaha  

BTW, I should point out my own error (more of a typo) My title should say 'Critiquing a Superior's Grammatical Errors'



Would this be a double or reverse "touche?"

 

RE: Critiquing a Superior Grammatical Errors

If, and only if, I am asked for feedback, I typically send an email back with my comments in red - only to the originator of the correspondence - with a statement, "Thank you for this.  My comments in red are attached if you wish to take them under advisement."

If I am not asked for feedback, I don't volunteer any.  The only thing *that* gets is, sooner or later, I will make a mistake and people will be all over my case for it.

It's just not worth borrowing trouble.

I have also gotten out of the habit of referring to anyone as my "superior".  That's a title that has to be earned.  Until that happens, they are simply "the guy above me in the org chart".

Regards,

SNORGY.

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