Problems of analysis

The correct analysis of text is not always possible for these reasons:

This page tells you about some problems of grammatical and semantic disambiguation. Rule numbers refer to ASD-STE100 issue 8.

Use a word only with the approved part of speech (rule 1.2)

The term checker finds approved nouns and approved verbs that have an incorrect part of speech. For example, the term checker gives a warning for each of these sentences:

If you get a warning for a term that is approved in your organization, add the term to disambiguation-projectterms.xml. For example, possibly stay or side stay is an approved noun. After you add the term, you will not get a warning about the part of speech.

In the examples above, each word has only one part of speech. But, a sentence can contain a word that has an ambiguous part of speech. The table gives some examples:

The words are approved in ASD-STE100, but the parts of speech are ambiguous
WordAmbiguous sentenceCorrect STE part of speechIncorrect STE part of speech
input (n) This is input to show you the problem. Noun: This is input to show you the problem.
(= This input shows you the problem. [Rule GR-4 is about the possible ambiguity of the pronoun this, but it is not applicable to this example.])
Verb, passive voice: This is input to show you the problem.
level (adj, n) Make the aircraft level. Adjective: Make the aircraft level.
(= Make the aircraft become level).
Verb, intransitive: Make the aircraft level.
(= Do the procedure to level the aircraft.)
opening (noun, verb [gerund]) The opening of the container is… Noun: The opening of the container is small.
(= The container has a small opening.)
Verb: The opening of the container is easy.
(= To open the container is easy.)
felt (past participle adj, noun) The felt covers were warm. Adjective: The felt covers were warm.
(= The covers that were felt by a person were warm.)
Noun: The felt covers were warm.
(= The covers that are made from felt are warm.)
filtered (adj, verb) The pump supplies filtered water to the container. Adjective: The pump supplies filtered water to the container.
(= Filtered water is supplied to the container by the pump.)
Verb: The pump supplies filtered water to the container.
(= The pump supplies first filtered the water and then sent the water to the container. [Pump supplies is an item of equipment.])
damper (TN n, implied) Use a damper sample. Noun in a noun cluster: Use a damper sample.
(= Use a damper as a sample.)
Adjective: Use a damper sample.
(= Use a sample that is more damp.)
operating system (TN n, rule 1.5.19) Operating systems that are slow can cause problems. Noun: Operating systems that are slow can cause problems.
(= If an operating system is slow, problems can occur.)
Verb + noun: Operating systems that are slow can cause problems.
(= If you operate systems that are slow, problems can occur.)
fire (n, v) This type of cartridge is resistant to fire. Noun: This type of cartridge is resistant to fire.
Verb: This type of cartridge is easy to fire.
The example in danger (n) shows that fire is approved as an uncountable noun.
No example
lock (v, TN n) 3) The door locks. Noun [in a list of items]: 3) The door locks.
Verb, intransitive [a step in a process]: 3) The door locks.
The example in CANNOT (v) shows that lock is a TN. The examples in LOCK (v) show that lock is approved as a transitive verb and an intransitive verb.
No example
repair (n, v) Repair damaged covers. Verb: Repair damaged covers.
(= Repair the covers that are damaged.)
Although the part of speech is correct, rule 2.3 tells you to use an article if it is applicable. A better sentence is 'Repair the damaged covers.'
Noun, uncountable: Repair damaged covers.
(= A repair caused damage to the covers.) The definition of repair is "The result when something is repaired". The uncountable noun refers to the action of repairing, and is thus not approved.
that (conj, pron) Make sure that dirt cannot go into the container. Conj: Make sure that dirt cannot go into the container.
Pron: Make sure that dirt cannot go into the container. (An unusual meaning in which the pronoun refers to the dirt that was previously mentioned.)
No example
last (adj, adv) Make the cover last. Adv: Make the cover last.
(= Make the cover after you make all the other items.)
Verb: Make the cover last.
(= [Try to] increase the life of the cover.) The intransitive verb last has a meaning 'to continue to be serviceable or satisfactory'.
can (v modal, TN implied) This can hit the cover. Modal verb: This can hit the cover.
(= It is possible for this item to hit the cover.)
Noun: This can hit the cover.
(= This container hit the cover.)

The term checker gives a warning for a word that has an ambiguous part of speech

If a sentence is correct STE, the term checker gives only one part of speech to each word. But, if the grammar is not correct or if the text is not correct STE, the term checker can give 2 different parts of speech to a word.

The term checker has a set of rules with the name 'STE term checker: debug'. These rules find a word if it has two different parts of speech. For example, in the sentence that follows, the word 'being' is ambiguous. Possibly, it is a noun. Possibly, it is a verb:
… with the former being made by Cyborg Systems and the latter by Clone Conglomerates.

The term checker gives this warning:

The word 'samples' has 2 different parts of speech (noun and verb)

The term checker gives part-of-speech warnings for some grammar errors

Although the term checker is not a grammar checker, it finds some grammar errors. For example, in standard English, the word problems is a a plural noun. It has no other part of speech.

This sentence is not correct:
The problems is not easy to correct.

Because the grammar is not correct, the term checker does not identify problems as a plural noun, and thus it gives a warning:

A grammar error can cause a part-of-speech warning

Use a word with its approved meaning (rule 1.3)

Each approved word in ASD-STE100 is approved with a specified meaning. For example, the word about means concerned with, not approximately. For other meanings, the specification gives the alternatives approximately (adv) and around. The term checker gives a warning that a term is possibly misused for these conditions:

Usually, the term checker cannot tell you if you use a word correctly. It can only find the word and tell you to make sure that it is correct. (The Boeing Simplified English Checker has the same limit. "For example, although it is very difficult to detect approved and unapproved word senses, the Simplified English Checker does this in limited fashion.")

Many approved words in ASD-STE100 have meanings in standard English that are not approved, Because the specification does not tell you about these meanings, the term checker does not give warnings. The table gives some examples:

The words are approved in ASD-STE100, but the meanings are incorrect
WordApproved meaningCorrect STEIncorrect STE
abrasive (adj) That can remove material by friction. This material is abrasive. The manager is abrasive.
apply (v) To put or spread something on Do not apply too much pressure. These procedures do not apply to the modification.
authority (n) An official organization that gives approval to something Each authority uses a different procedure. Your manager has the authority to stop the test.
break (v) To cause to separate or become separated into parts by force Do not break the glass. Do not break the rules.
capacity (n) The maximum quantity that something can hold or make The capacity of the tank is 50 litres. In your capacity as manager, you must give instructions to the technical writers.
concentration (n) The strength of something contained in a mixture. In a high concentration, this material is poisonous. Be careful. Your concentration is important to prevent accidents.
drain (v) To remove liquid Drain the system before you disconnect the components. Drain the battery before you disconnect the wires.
feel (v) To touch to find Carefully feel the heater to make sure that it operates. If you feel that the indication is incorrect, do the test again.
give (v) To provide This table gives examples of words that are used incorrectly. If the rope gives, stop the test.
go off (v) To become dark when an internal power source is de-energized The light goes off. If the milk goes off, discard it.
hard (adj) Not easy to cut, not easy to go into or through Let the adhesive become hard. This procedure is hard to do.
right (adj) On the east side when you look north The indicator is on the right panel. Make sure that you get the right result.
start (v) 1) To begin a procedure, movement, or operation. 2) To come into being, activity, or operation The engine started because the technician pushed the START button. The technician started because of the sudden noise.

To give warnings to the technical writers in your organization, add the words to grammar-projectterms.xml.

Use technical names (rule 1.5): proper nouns

"The dictionary does not include technical names as approved words, because there are too many, and each manufacturer uses different technical names" (ASD-STE100 issue 8). You must add the technical names to disambiguation-projectterms.xml.

Some technical names are proper nouns:

To minimize the initial customization, the term checker shows an error for these proper nouns:

The screen shot shows an example:

Frequently, capitalized text is a proper noun

Be careful if you deactivate a rule, because possibly, the term checker will not find an incorrect technical name. For example, if you write 'Federal Aviation Authority', the term checker will not show an error, but the correct term is 'Federal Aviation Administration'.

Refer also to

'Recognising entity names' in OWL Simplified English: a finite-state language for ontology editing

Use technical names: noun clusters (rule 1.5 and rule 2.1)

A noun cluster is a a group of nouns or adjectives that are the subject or the object in a sentence (rule 2.1). "A noun cluster can be a technical name" (rule 2.2). But, not all noun clusters are technical names.

Rule 1.5.2 gives overhead panel as a possible a technical name. But, although the term dirty panel is a noun cluster (adjective + noun), it is not a technical name. A technical name is a lexical unit. The words cannot be separated. The table gives some examples:

Not all noun clusters are technical names
Termtechnical name?Alternative/comment
adhesive tape Yes Not correct English: tape of the adhesive
cable tension No tension of the cable
bottom bolt ? the bolt that is at the bottom
oil filter ? filter for the oil

The terms bottom bolt and oil filter are possible technical names. But, possibly, they are only noun clusters. You must decide. If a term refers to an item, then it is usually a technical name. If the first word in a noun cluster is an adjective that describes the condition of an item, then the adjective is not part of the technical name. Thus, in the noun cluster dirty overhead panel, dirty is an adjective, and overhead panel is a technical name.

Refer also to

The disambiguator is different to the LanguageTool disambiguator

Use an unapproved word only if it is a technical name or part of a technical name (rule 1.6)

If a word is not-approved in the dictionary, you can use the word if it is a technical name that has a different meaning to the not-approved word. The specification has examples of not-approved words in the dictionary that are approved as a technical names. The technical name can have the same part of speech as the not-approved word or it can have a different part of speech. The table gives some examples:

The words are not-approved in the ASD-STE100 dictionary, but they can be technical names
Not-approved wordIncorrect STECorrect STECorrect example is in
anchor (v) The straps are anchored to a full-length rail. Make sure that the anchor is down. DOWN (adj)
attention (n) Pay attention to the results. Attention: this procedure is not easy. No example, but the technical name is in rule 1.5.15
base (n) Make sure that the two spigots at the base of the unit engage. The base of the triangle is 5 cm. Rule 1.6
critical (adj) The condition of the radome is critical to its performance. At the critical temperature, stop the test. No example, but the technical name is in rule 1.5.7
film (n) Spread a film of compound on the surface of the disc. For information about thin film deposition, refer to Possible TN, no example in the specification
guide (v) As you lower the pump, guide it on to the mounting bracket. Let the sleeve move up the guide tube. UP (prep)
idle (v) Idle the engine for 20 minutes. Operate the engine at idle for 20 minutes. idle (v)

Use the approved forms of a verb to make approved tenses (rule 3.2)

Be + to + infinitive is approved with only some meanings

The structure be + to + infinitive is approved, as shown in these examples from ASD-STE100:

If be + to + infinitive is used as a command or to refer to some types of future action, then it is not correct STE.

'be + to + infinitive' is used with an incorrect meaning
MeaningIncorrect STECorrect STE
command The indications are to agree with those in Table 2. The indications must agree with those in Table 2.
command You are not to do the procedure without approval. You must not do the procedure without approval.
future action Tell the ground crew that you are to operate the system. Tell the ground crew that you will operate the system.
future action The Accident Report is to include information about the …. The Accident Report will include information about the ….

Emphatic do is not an approved tense

Emphatic do has this structure: do + infinitive ( Emphatic do is used to emphasize the primary verb.

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:

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:

This ambiguous text is not a problem. The term checker does not find do work.

Use only the active voice in procedural writing (rule 3.6)

The sentence, "The wires were disconnected by the technician" is in the passive voice. The passive voice is not permitted in a procedure.

ASD-STE100 rule 3.3 gives this example in which the past participle disconnected is an adjective that shows the condition of the wires: "The wires are disconnected."

But, the sentence has 2 grammatical interpretations. Without context, you cannot know if the sentence is active voice or passive voice:

Persons use their knowledge of the world to disambiguate text:

A typical 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 does not disambiguate the passive voice and the past participle as an adjective after the verb BE. The rule for passive voice always gives a warning.

Refer also to

Participial Adjectives (

Passives (

Morphosyntactic Restriction (

Use an approved verb to describe an action (not a noun or other part of speech) (rule 3.7)

The term checker does not have sufficient 'intelligence' to know when a word is used correctly. For example, think about these sentences:

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 tell you that you must use an approved verb.

Dictionary, forms of approved words, page 2-0-5

The dictionary shows only the singular form of each approved noun. The plural form of a countable noun is permitted unless the dictionary tells you that it is not approved. The dictionary does not tell you if a noun is countable or uncountable.

In standard English, a noun can be countable with one meaning and uncountable with a different meaning. A good example is the noun damage. The noun is approved in the dictionary. It has the meaning, "The result of an occurrence that causes deterioration of the condition of something". For this meaning, the noun is uncountable.

The plural noun damages has the meaning, "compensation in money imposed by law for loss or injury" (

The dictionary does not tell you that the plural noun damages is not an approved noun. The term checker has a rule that finds damages and a small number of other plural nouns. The rule tells you to use the singular form of the noun. If the plural noun is approved for your documentation, add it to disambiguation-projectterms.xml.

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