html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I can be easy-to-understand too!

Monday, March 20, 2006

I can be easy-to-understand too!

Our engineering group sits right next to the publications group. They help us put reports together and lecture us from time to time on using plain, easy-to-understand language*. They even have a whiteboard up to help with the idea. Every week they post a wordy or obscure phrase (No!) and suggest a replacement (Yes!).

I noticed today that they haven't posted a new phrase for the week. You guys know how I love to help; I was thinking of phrases my whole walk home. I went back and forth between:

I concur.

Oh hell yes.


I concur.

You bet your sweet ass.

'Oh hell yes' is probably a bad idea. Our really cool great-grandboss is planning a second career as a minister when he retires. So maybe not that one. If I had any sense, I would stay stay away from 'You bet your sweet ass.' too. Tracy and Margie can't get enough of me talking about their sweet asses, but perhaps my other co-workers would prefer to be valued for their knowledge and skills. I don't think it will take people very long to guess who changed the board either. Still, there's about a thirty percent chance that Margie will get blamed too, and those odds are good enough for me.

*I am mostly down with that, since I've written the report in every engineering team I have ever been on. I know that engineers aren't always eloquent**. I do sometimes bristle at lectures from the publications department, because in the first place, I would be very surprised if any of them can write better than I do, and in the second place, how come no one ever suggests that they take a hydraulics class so they learn that they can't just substitute "current" for "velocity" whenever they feel like it.

**Although, one of the most moving declarations of love I ever received was from a mechanical engineer who told me I was the leading coefficient in his life's equations, and no one would ever cancel me out, baby. That's pure poetry.


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