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English for report witting
7

English for report witting

English for report witting

(OP)
Dear All,
Does anyone knows a good book or site I can use to help in report writing, I do not mean the technical words but choosing the right expression to sound professional.

Thanks

RE: English for report witting

Engineering reports are not prose. Stick to the facts and you'll be fine.

RE: English for report witting

Also, be sure the grammar is right and the spelling is right. A frequent mistake by new engineers these days is not knowing the three 2's and what they stand for. A common one that gets me and turns me off is the phrase "that is to bad". Then I think "what else is questionable about the report?"

RE: English for report witting

if you are using MS Word, it has built in grammar checking. turn that feature on and try using it. Also, for readability - try to keep the Flesch reading ease score above 60. that will make it easily understood by most people. However I find that with engineering documents, I have difficulty exceeding 50 most of the time.

RE: English for report witting

OG: You should take a look at the forensic report for the Algo Centre Mall collapse prepared for the OPP by the NORR partnership... just make you cringe due to the substantial errors contained within...

Dik

RE: English for report witting

(OP)
Thanks all for your help it seems not easy for some non-native English speaker when the assessor is a picky person.

RE: English for report witting

steelnz2003,

All reviewers of engineering documents are "picky". It comes with the job.

Engineering reports are just as important, and some would say, more important than engineering plans. English is a challenge for non-native speakers, but if you are going to study or work in an English speaking country, then you must be able to write clearly in English.

Mike Lambert

RE: English for report witting

(OP)
Mike Lambert
I agree in case your area of practice is the legal document or you are doing contractual documents for me I am a structural designer doing calcs and reports and I never practice outside my area. I would say its level of importance depends on what you are doing. As non-English speaker will never ever be same as a native speaker I feel it falls in racism in such case.

RE: English for report witting

One failing that I see in many geotech reports is "diarrhea of the pen", as my first boss put it. I suspect it was thought that the longer the report, the more it should cost. I admit I fell guilty to that early on when one client called to ask a simple basic question that was answered in the report. It was buried in a lot of language, not clearly standing out.

RE: English for report witting

OG: that only happens with Geotechnical reports...

Dik

RE: English for report witting

Quote (bimr)

for writers "who no longer worry over their spelling and verb forms but are concerned with writing prose that is clear.

A lack of attention to detail is reflected in the quality of your work... any report that has errors in the prose or spelling is subject to this lack of detail; if it is clear, then, this is good. The quality can be diminished by carelessness.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

Quote (steelnz2003)

As non-English speaker will never ever be same as a native speaker I feel it falls in racism in such case.

I could not possibly disagree MORE with this idea.

A productive engineer is useless if their ideas cannot be communicated.

If you cannot communicate clearly in the working language of the environment in which you work- whether that is English or French or Farsi or Algebra, that is YOUR problem to solve. No one else bears any responsibility whatsoever for your level of communication skill. If it is subpar, you are the one who bears the responsibility of fixing it.

I work with vendors and customers in other countries all the time. Daily.

When there is a language barrier, I take responsibility for finding a solution- whether that means hiring a translator to sit in meetings (which we have done and continue to do), translating word problems into math problems so they can cross the language barrier, whatever. What I DO NOT do, is accuse people of racism. That's asinine.

RE: English for report witting

dik: In regard to your last post, I wonder if. we can't blame some of this on high school or even grade school teachers that can't even chew out a student. I hear there is even a shortage of teachers in my area probably due to this sort of thing, at least partially. I remember well in second grade after a fire drill getting my hands slapped with a ruler for running during the fire drill. Luckily I didn't get the behind paddling that the principal did at times.

RE: English for report witting

OG: agreed... there is an elegance in precision... something sorely missing, these days.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

Quote (writers "who no longer worry over their spelling )


As Andrew Jackson said "It's a damn poor mind that can only spell a word one way"or should it be "itz a dam pour mind that kan ownlee spel uh wurd one weigh"?

Anyway, I've always found the St. Martins Handbook to be very useful.

RE: English for report witting

BB: you see some of the early spelling in English prose, and, even American work... as long as it looked like a word and fit the context.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

OG: my problem in Grade School was behaviour... still is to some extent.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

dik - In 7th Grade our school got a new principal; I think she reviewed every test; the punishment for a misspelled word: write it 100 times.

RE: English for report witting

Quote (jgKRI)

A productive engineer is useless if their ideas cannot be communicated.

Reminds me of the old saying, "I can explain it to you, but, I cannot understand it for you"

Dik

RE: English for report witting

Have you reviewed other reports from your company? A good approach would be to pattern your report after other approved reports from your company on similar topics.

RE: English for report witting

Some rules that have helped me:
Language should be clear, concise and active.

Don't go over 30 words in a sentence- break it up when it gets too big. If you can, keep sentences under 20 words.

RE: English for report witting

Quote (bridgebuster)

the punishment for a misspelled word: write it 100 times.

That was the beginning of the downfall...

Dik

RE: English for report witting

Quote (gbam)

A good approach would be to pattern your report after other approved reports from your company on similar topics

Not from one of the companies I work for... that's why I do my own reports.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

2
The topic reminded me of a powerpoint presentation I made for the office's engineers. It was an introduction I made prior to doing a critique on the Algo Centre Mall collapse.

https://files.engineering.com/getfile.aspx?folder=...

RE: English for report witting

Dik - I started reading the Wikipedia page for the Algo Centre Mall collapse and it passed through my mind that it sounded like a Harry S. Peterson job, low & behold. I sat through a Harry S. Peterson Company presentation years ago where they went on at length about their warranty work. I came to realize their offerings were not particularly durable but since they were habitually repairing their work; the design community came to believe the warranty response equated to quality. I have never seen a HSP Iso-Flex Cold-formed Polyurethane Expansion Joint that ever performed as intended in a traffic lane. All that needs occur is for a vehicle to stop on top of the joint & turn the wheel, to tear the thing apart.

RE: English for report witting

Epoxybot: Harry S. Peterson fell out of favour with me about 30 years ago or so. I'd talked about them about a parkade I did in Kensington Market in Toronto. I came away from that meeting thinking their expertise wasn't up to 'snuff'... For jointing over beams, we used a tooled joint, filled with a firm well bonded polyurethane... and periodically had 'real' expansion joints; they were expensive... about $50 per foot, back then. We had the impression that you could either have a cheap joint, or one that worked and had some durability. I was with RJC at the time who were one of the best concrete engineering consultants in Canada.

I should take a gander at Wiki to see if they got it right...

Dik

RE: English for report witting

dik,

I enjoyed your PowerPoint presentation. However, one of my English teachers in high school would have reprimanded you for writing

Quote ("...my own personal time...")

lol

Of course, in junior year of HS I was reprimanded by an English teacher for writing "...his own father..." cheers

RE: English for report witting

I would remind the original poster that CORRECT ENGINEERING DESIGN and CORRECT ENGINEERING REPORTS are NOT "racist" in any form nor intent.

Note that the "race" of the individual does not matter, if the designer's math, the design logic, the design intent, and the design quality are CORRECT. However, since the writer seems to "feel" that bad writing and grammatical errors and spelling errors (such as in the title of this post) can be excused - should be excused ? - if the writer is not an original English speaker, I wonder if the original writer also feels that math errors and lookup table errors and material selection errors also need to be excused so nobody gets upset by politically corrupt (er, politically correct) thoughts?

RE: English for report witting

agreed... redundant, will modify it. It was well received by the office engineers, albeit, a bit too long.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

BB: corrected... any other exceptions?

Dik

RE: English for report witting

dik - you didn't have to correct the text on my account. It brought back a high school memory from 40+ years ago. I couldn't resist some good natured ribbing.cheers

RE: English for report witting

No offense taken... needed correcting.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

(OP)
I have done many engineering reviews for non-English speakers and spotted with simple spelling and grammar mistakes but still, I understand the content and never commented on it unless it is noted in the drawings.

If as peer review my comments will be grammar and spelling it won't benefit to the engineering outcome of the project.

RE: English for report witting

Even for reports by people where English is the first language, my writing style and approach are often different from the report I'm reviewing. Obvious errors I correct, but, not the style or form... I do not want to re-write the report.

Dik

RE: English for report witting

"The Elements of Style"

RE: English for report witting

I am sure that I passed the deadline but here is a thought. A course in technical writing is always advisable.

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