Re: feet/ft/ft.

Subject: Re: feet/ft/ft.
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1993 16:29:49 -0500

> Hey everyone.


> I've a question regarding the proper or most clear way of expressing some
> measurements.

> The sentence in question reads like so:

> "Run the product between 50-51 feet per minute (15.24-15.54 meters per
> minute)."

> On later references, can I use "50-51 ft/min"?


> Paula Reynolds

Ordinarily, for abbreviations or shorthand, I write the abbreviation
parenthetically after the first reference, then just use it from then
on. Nothing wrong with that. To do that in your example, you'd need to
rework the sentence some, since you already have a parenthetical
reference about meters vs. feet. Maybe something like:

"Run the product between 50-51 feet per minute (ft/min), or between
15.24-15.54 meters per minute (mt/min)."

Or whatever the right abbreviation for "meters" is, if I screwed it up,
which is likely.

Regarding the question of whether to use "ft./min." versus "ft/min", my
typical view is that shorter is better if clarity is equal. I don't
think clarity suffers without the periods, but this is just my view.
This is a style decision, so you should pick one way and do it that way
from now on.

I usually don't write about physical phenomena, but if you abbreviate
"miles per hour" as "mph", there seems to be a precedent for using "fpm"
for "feet per minute", which is even shorter, and which eliminates the
slash. If you refer to it on first occurrence, it might be ok, but does
clarity suffer? Maybe let your reviewers tell you (ask them
specifically), or maybe some hardware folks in this list can speak to
that issue more authoritatively (and, let's face it, it would be
difficult to address it *less* authoritatively than I just did 8-).

Good luck.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer | "Whatever it is, I'm against it!" |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Groucho Marx |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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