Words matters. Powerful language used precisely conveys a message that is understandable and, sometimes, motivating. We in the concrete construction business need to do our best to clean up our own language and then possibly others, not directly in our industry, will follow. For example, I was reading the home section in the Denver paper over the weekend and came across the page editor’s description of a new home with a cement sidewalk. That’s one that we need to correct whenever possible—I sent him a letter.
I also recently read John Hansen’s editorial in NRMCA’s Concrete inFocus wherein he bemoans the use of pouring concrete instead of placing concrete. That might be a tough habit for contractors to break. But getting rid of the old designation of a concrete mix by sacks—that’s one that should go away today! Describing concrete by pounds of cement per cubic yard or compressive strength makes much more sense given the complex nature of today’s mixes.
When I first started as editor of Concrete Construction in 2000 Bryant Mather would routinely send me handwritten notes pointing out errors in language he identified in the magazine. One of his pet peeves, and one Hansen also points out, is the use of the term self-compacting concrete. Bryant pointed out that compaction implies compressing something, like soil. Concrete, however, is consolidated, meaning to get the air out, so self-consolidating is the correct term.
What other terms do you hear or read in our industry that make you wince?