Re: feet/ft/ft.

Subject: Re: feet/ft/ft.
From: Ken d'Albenas <kendal -at- AUTOTROL -dot- CUC -dot- AB -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1993 20:17:25 MDT

Paula Reynolds <PAULAR -at- HISPEED -dot- MHS -dot- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM> asks:

> 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"? Or should it be "50-51
> ft./min."? I've seen it different ways in different style books, and I'm
> more concerned with what will be clearest for the reader. (There are a
> kizillion directions like this on a single page.)

> Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I agree that the abbreviations should have periods if writing a
words-only sentence with no special symbols; but if using the slash to
symbolize a division operation ("per"), the periods are just visual

HOWEVER, I've had a few lab instructors who were viciously dogmatic
about those periods, and would dock marks from a physics lab report
if a unit abbreviation was missing the period. If your intended
audience includes such people, don't drop the periods; the omission
will be as bad as (or worse than) sloppy grammar to them.

And speaking of grammar...

Um, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "between" supposed to
be followed by "and", not "to"? ("From" goes with "to", and "between"
goes with "and"?) If so, then "between 50-51" is a minor boo-boo
in any unit of measurement; you would definitely want to spell out
the conjunction in the same vein the Halliburton style that LaVonna

"Run the product between 50 _and_ 51 feet per minute..."
"Run the product at between 50 _and_ 51 feet per minute..."
(some other construction).

Otherwise, if you use "from" instead of "between", it gets a little
ambiguous: "Run the product from 50-51 feet per minute..." sounds
like maybe you're supposed to start at 50 and work up to 51.

Btw, for metric units like litres and metres, there is a standard known
as SI (Systeme International). Last time I looked at one of their charts,
none of the unit abbreviations had periods - and there was an explicit
footnote pointing out that this, too, was part of the SI standard.

From the land of the reluctantly metricated,

Ken d'Albenas
STC Alberta Chapter
Replies to: kendal -at- autotrol -dot- cuc -dot- ab -dot- ca
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