The correct analysis of text is not always possible for these reasons:
- The rules for the disambiguation of terms are not sufficiently good to give 100% accuracy.
- The term checker cannot identify different types of text such as procedures and descriptions. (For example, the passive voice must not be in a procedure. But, the passive voice can be in a description.)
- The term checker cannot identify the meaning of a term. For example, you can use enter as a Technical Verb for computer processes and applications, but you must not use enter to mean go into or record.
- Text is grammatically ambiguous.
This page shows some problems of grammatical and semantic disambiguation. Rule numbers refer to ASD-STE100 issue 6.
The term input is approved only as a noun. Input can be analysed in 2 different ways in "This is input to show you the problem":
- Noun (correct STE): This is input to show you the problem. (= This input shows you the problem.)
- Verb, passive voice (not correct STE): This is input to show you the problem.
The term operating system is approved as a Technical Name (Rule 1.5.19). Operating systems can be analysed in 2 different ways in "Operating systems that are slow can cause problems":
- Technical name (correct STE): Operating systems that are slow can cause problems. (= If an operating system is slow, problems can occur.)
- Verb + noun (not correct STE): Operating systems that are slow can cause problems. (= If you operate systems that are slow, problems can occur.)
The term level is approved as an adjective and as a noun. Level can be analysed in 2 different ways in "Make the aircraft level":
- Adjective (correct STE): Make the aircraft become level.
- Verb, intransitive (not correct STE): Make the aircraft level. (= Do the procedure to level the aircraft.)
The term damper is approved as an Technical Name. The adjective damp and its inflections are not approved. Damper can be analysed in 2 different ways in "Use a damper sample":
- Noun in a noun cluster (correct STE): Use a damper sample. (= Use a damper as a sample.)
- Adjective (not correct STE): Use a sample that is more damp.
Each approved word in ASD-STE100 is approved with a specified meaning. For example, the word about means concerned with, not approximately.
The term checker cannot tell you if you use the word correctly. It can only find all instances of the word and tell you to make sure that each word is correct in context.
"Because there are many Technical Names, and because each manufacturer uses different names, there is not a complete list of Technical Names in the Dictionary" (ASD-STE100 issue 6). Thus, you must customize the rules to include the Technical Names and the Technical Verbs that your organization uses.
Some Technical Names are proper nouns:
- Rule 1.5.8. Geographic terms: West, France, Lima.
- Rule 1.5.11. Names of persons, groups, or organizations: European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada Civil Aviation.
- Rule 1.5.15. Names of official documents: Acceptance Test, Structural Repair Manual.
To minimize the initial customization, the term checker does not show an error for these proper nouns:
- A singular proper noun that is in LanguageTool: London, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, September, HTML, John Smith.
- A phrase of 1 or more words that the term checker identifies as a proper noun. A phrase is a proper noun if each word in the phrase has these properties:
- A word starts with an uppercase letter. All the other letters in the word are all lowercase or all uppercase.
- In standard English, the word can be used as a noun or as an adjective (including a past participle adjective).
- The word is not unapproved, unless the phrase is in quote marks.
The screen shot shows an example:
Possible problems are as follows:
- The term checker does not find an incorrect Technical Name. For example, if you write 'Federal Aviation Authority' instead of 'Federal Aviation Administration', the term checker does not show an error. For the best analysis, change Rule 1.1 so that it does not ignore terms that are identified as proper nouns.
- The term checker does not find incorrect text that is in quote marks. Example: You must 'Sample' the oil.
Emphatic do has this structure: do + verb (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/ask_about_english/071112/). Emphatic do is used to emphasize the primary verb.
Emphatic do is not approved. Refer to Rule 3.3 (use the approved forms of the verb to make an approved tense).
Although emphatic do is not a large problem with most technical texts, the term checker has a rule to find emphatic do. Examples of emphatic do:
- Before the accident, the technician did tell the manager that the equipment was defective.
- Before you disassemble the unit, make sure that you do clean the cover.
Sometimes, text can be analysed in 2 different ways. For example, "When you do work on the engine, make sure that…" has 2 grammatical interpretations:
- The text is correct. The word work is a noun.
- The text is not correct. The word work is a verb.
For practical purposes, this ambiguous text is not a problem. The term checker does not find do work.
The sentence, "The wire was disconnected by the technician" is in the passive voice. Sometimes, text can be analysed in 2 different ways. For example, "The wires were disconnected" has 2 grammatical interpretations:
- Possibly, the sentence is in the passive voice. In a procedure, the passive voice is not permitted (Rule 3.7).
- Possibly, disconnected is an adjective that describes the condition of the wires. (Compare with, "The wire was dirty.") The past participle as an adjective that comes after the verb to be is permitted (Rule 3.4).
Sometimes, people can use their knowledge of the world to disambiguate text:
- Passive voice: The water was drunk.
- Active voice, past participle as an adjective: The waiter was drunk.
Typically, a spelling checker can disambiguate these texts, because knowledge is put into the rules. For example, the term waiter can be specified as a human agent.
Knowledge of the world is not in the term checker. Thus, the term checker cannot disambiguate the passive voice and the past participle as an adjective.
The term checker does not have sufficient 'intelligence' to know when a word is used correctly. For example, think about these sentences:
- Not correct: Do the adjustment of the controls carefully.
- Correct: Adjust the controls carefully.
- Correct: The temperature adjustment is automatic.
The message in the term checker tells you that possibly, you can use an approved verb as an alternative to the approved noun. That message does not mean that you must use an approved verb.
The term checker ignores these hyphenated terms:
- Two-word fractions and numbers such as forty-seven, ninety-ninth, and three-sixteenths (Rule 8.3.2). The term checker ignores units of measurement that are adjectives if the first part of the adjective is a cardinal number, for example 5-liter. The term checker does not ignore five-liter.
- Three-word adjectives that have the structure number-to-number, for example, three-to-one and four-to-three (Rule 8.3.3).
To prevent errors, the term checker does not automatically ignore most approved terms that are joined with a hyphen. For example, the words high (adjective) and pressure (Technical Name, noun) are approved. Rule 8.3.1 shows high-pressure as an adjective. This adjective is satisfactory for most organizations. The words large (adjective) and oil (Technical Name, noun) are approved. But, for most organizations, large-oil is not an approved adjective. Thus, you must customize the rules to include all the hyphenated Technical Names and Technical Verbs that your organization uses.