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  • Topic

    Fast and accurately


    I've had this sentence to proofread a couple of times, so evidently the writer thinks my improvement is unnecessary:

    It is possible to adjust the gas flow fast and accurately.

    It's a formal, scientific context. I suggested changing it to:

    It is possible to adjust the gas flow rapidly and accurately.

    I realise that "fast" is also an adverb, but it strikes me as less suitable for a formal context and odd-sounding in combination with "and accurately", or maybe in that position in the sentence: it just sounds weird to me. Rather than just changing it again (and having the customer ignore it) I'd like to explain why I'm changing it, but all I can find online is people saying that "fast" is absolutely fine as an adverb (which is true in many contexts). What do others think?

    Author CM2DD (236324) 07 Jan 22, 11:34

    I wouldn't use "fast" here, either. I'd personally prefer "quickly," but "rapidly" also works.

    #1Author hbberlin (420040) 07 Jan 22, 11:48

    I don't like the original sentence, either.

    Maybe the writer just dislikes "rapidly". You could try making a different change this time ("...quickly and accurately", " make fast and accurate adjustments to the gas flow") and see how that goes down. Or explain why it sounds strange to you and offer various alternatives to choose from.

    #2Author dulcinea (238640) 07 Jan 22, 11:57

    What do you think the problem is - that it sounds better when they both end with -ly? Or that "fast" isn't as formal?

    #3Author CM2DD (236324) 07 Jan 22, 12:07
    Re #3, yes, maybe both, actually.

    I absolutely agree with your choice, but I'm equally at a loss to cite a rule.

    Maybe you could mention something about parallel grammatical constructions?
    #4Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Jan 22, 12:11

    Thanks all, good to know it's not just me. I'll follow both suggestions :)

    #5Author CM2DD (236324) 07 Jan 22, 12:18

    There is the slight danger of ambiguity in fast, which of course can also mean German fest. So in a formal scientific context better avoided.

    #6Author isabelll (918354) 07 Jan 22, 14:14

    What do you think the problem is - ...

    Vielleicht hat die wahrscheinlich deutsche(?) Person, die 'rapidly' nicht mochte, gedacht, es hieße dann 'rapide'? Denn im Deutschen wäre das ein ungewöhnlicheres Wort.

    #7AuthorBraunbärin (757733)  07 Jan 22, 18:23

    I'd probably say "quickly and precisely". "Rapidly" sounds odd to me. I'm assuming what is meant is something like a hand-operated tap that which allows a fairly fine adjustment of the flow rate.

    #8Author RTH01 (932829)  07 Jan 22, 19:21

    I also prefer "quickly" to "fast", as a matter of style (per #4) but if the author insists on "fast", I wouldn't fight -- "fast" will not be misunderstood (despite the concern voiced in #6), and it's their article after all.

    Re #8, "Precisely" is not the same as "accurately". If the original has "accurately", I would leave it.

    #9Author Martin--cal (272273)  08 Jan 22, 05:53

    Frage aus Neugier: Ist es wirklich die Kombination aus "fast" und "accurately" oder ist es das "fast" allein, das Euch stört?. Würde also der Satz

    It is possible to adjust the gas flow fast.

    ebenso stören oder ist der völlig unverdächtig?

    #10Author harambee (91833) 08 Jan 22, 11:41
    Yes, that would bother me just as much. 'Run fast,' 'walk fast,' 'eat fast,' etc., but with a verb like 'adjust' I would expect 'quickly.'

    It's partly the register, with a more formal verb that's used mainly in writing. But I think it's also that 'fast' implies haste, hurrying, which in turn implies not taking time to be careful. That is, I would also expect 'quickly and carefully.'

    #11Author hm -- us (236141) 08 Jan 22, 12:32

    #9 I know "precisely" isn't the same as "accurately". "Accurately" suggests to me that you are trying to set the flow rate to a given value. Maybe that is what is meant, but I suspect it isn't.

    #12Author RTH01 (932829)  08 Jan 22, 16:21

    hm--us (#11) persuaded me that it's not just a matter of style . I agree, " 'fast' implies haste, hurrying, which in turn implies not taking time to be careful". "Quickly" is better for that reason as well.

    #13Author Martin--cal (272273) 08 Jan 22, 18:07
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