Problems of analysis

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

This page shows some problems of grammatical and semantic disambiguation. Rule numbers refer to ASD-STE100 issue 7.

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

The term checker finds approved words that have an incorrect part of speech. For example, the term checker gives a warning for oil in "Oil the bearing", because oil is a verb.

In English, a sentence can contain a word that has an ambiguous part of speech. For more information, read Ambiguity or Understanding. 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 (adj, verb) Opening windows Verb [in a title]: Opening windows
(= The task of opening windows. Refer to rule 3.5.)
Adjective [in a list of items]: Opening windows
(= Windows that can open.)
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 the this item to hit the cover.)
Noun: This can hit the cover.
(= This container hit the cover.)

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, 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, this sentence is not correct English: Although three devices during tests samples incorrectly, the supplier did not replace the devices. 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 message for this type of problem. 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.

Many approved words in ASD-STE100 have meanings in standard English that are not approved, but the specification does not tell you about these meanings. 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 ...
conscious (adj) TN rule 1.5.14 implied, no definition If the person is not conscious, get medical aid immediately. If you are conscious of a problem, tell your manager immediately.
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.

For the type of problem that the table shows, the term checker does not usually give a warning. If necessary, 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 7). 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:

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 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 wire was disconnected by the technician" is in the passive voice. Sometimes, text can be analysed in 2 different ways. For example, "The wires are disconnected" has 2 grammatical interpretations:

People can use their knowledge of the world to disambiguate text:

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 always disambiguate the passive voice and the past participle as an adjective.

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 mean that you must use an approved verb.

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