Tag Archives: form

Double negative labeling

I promise this blog is not turning into one that just finds fault with grammar and usage (plenty exist already), but I couldn’t help myself.

Sans Gluten Free glutino

Here we have Glutino brand Sans Gluten Free Wafer Cookies. While they taste really quite good, I was a little nervous because if it’s “without gluten free,” I suppose that would mean the cookies actually did contain gluten, which I’ve been strictly avoiding for nearly 11 months now.

I realize that this instance is almost certainly due to the bilingual nature of this packaging (Glutino is a Canadian brand), but still. On the side of the box, it’s much clearer, where it says: “SANS GLUTEN/BLE • GLUTEN/WHEAT FREE.” See, it’s not actually that difficult to communicate clearly, is it?

(And yes, they were quite tasty. Yum.)

Cuil = source of knowledge?

It turns out: Kind of, but not quite.

Since the launch of the new search engine, Cuil.com, (pronounced Cool), on Sunday, it’s been in the news. Well, the nonmainstream news I heed, anyway. One such story was digging deep to discern the truthfulness (or lack thereof) of the site’s claim that cuil is an Irish word that means knowledge.

The results are in: It kind of means that. The word (coll, with a genitive cuill) actually means hazel; it’s associated with wisdom/knowledge in Celtic mythology. This culled from the comments on the above post; the commenter wrote succinctly about it here. So the search engine creators spelled their site wrong, too, apparently.

This is all a side note to whether the search engine actually leads a user to knowledge. From what I’ve heard so far, it’s not scoring too well in that category. When I tried it, I got both tangential results and entirely unrelated results; some results were not even in English. I did not get any directly related results.

Typography nazi?

I ran across a fun post today, via Language Rules! The post on that rarely used blog linked to Receding Hairline‘s recent post on common typographic errors (rather than grammatical errors) and how to fix them.

I agree with most of his post, with the exception of the part about dashes. Long dashes — as seen here, and otherwise known as em-dashes — are not being replaced with en-dashes (–). And I understand that common usage, for some reason, indicates that dashes should not have spaces around them, but I don’t understand that. The function they serve is separating, rather than connecting, so I intentionally use spaces around em-dashes here. I rarely use en-dashes, reserving them from when a range is needed (such as 1–2), or some similar function.

I also posted a comment objecting to his ellipsis entry. It’s not really that I disagree with what he’s said, but he has committed a usage error. Most of the time, ellipses should be preceded by a space as well as followed by a space, particularly when the three dots are not placed at the end of a complete sentence.

Bad form!

I stopped by the eye doctor’s office yesterday to scout out frames and make an appointment for an exam. As I was making the appointment, the clerk handed me a Medical History Questionnaire.

I hate filling out medical history forms, generally. And I’d rather not think about it over the weekend; can’t this wait until my appointment on Monday?

However, I took the form. I started filling it out later in the day. I haven’t completed the form yet, though, because it’s a very poorly designed form.

Forms may be boring to layout or design, but clarity in communication is essential in a form.

I can’t tell if the line for email is wanting my e-dress, my “parent’s” email, my doctor’s email, my parent’s spouse’s email or my spouse’s email. And why does the form ask for my parent’s “information” (with only one line), anyway? (Name is the next line, I’ll guess that’s asking for my parent’s name; this is followed by birth date and Social Security number. So what’s the “information”? And why are we talking about my parents again? Usually such forms, in my experience, ask for a parent’s name and Social only if the patient is a minor. This form has no such stipulation.

Then we get to the medical history part of the form. “Do you currently, or have you ever had any problems in the following areas:” The list, with accompanying check boxes, includes muscle pain, fever, runny nose, diarrhea and constipation. The better question would be, who hasn’t ever had these symptoms. And what does this tell the eye doctor?

The list also includes “loss of vision” and “blurred vision.” Aren’t these usually the reasons people go to the optometrist? Especially since the person I’ll hand the form to already knows, from page one, that I do indeed wear glasses already.

The worst part about this check list, though, beyond the fact that I’m forced to mark Yes even though it’s medically useless, is that I have to explain every Yes.

I think I may return this form incomplete, and voice my concerns about it in person. This form needs to be redone, if not tossed so the new form’s creation isn’t hampered by this idiocy.