Look That Up in your Funk and Wagnall's

Is "templating" a word? It is now. March 12, 2009

In business correspondence, I often need to use the word "template." It rolls off the tongue as "templating," but the automatic spell check in most writing applications flags it. "Templateing" also gets flagged. Does this word just not have an "ing" option?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor A:
I use "provide templates."

From contributor J:
Templating is not a word. Template is a noun which can not be made into an adverb.

From contributor W:
If no one ever made up new words, the dictionary would look pretty skimpy. The questioner is just filling a need. You tell us how to spell it! I try to stick to the rules, but sometimes you got to bust out on your own...

From the original questioner:
There is a compilation of articles written for American Machinist Magazine by a fellow named James W. See. It was published in 1880 under the title "Chordal's Letters." This book discussed the burning issue of the day for manufacturers in America. There is one chapter called "Outwitting the Almanac" that spoke of the benefits of taking advantage of daylight when distributing a workload throughout the year. The state of steam machinery (CNC for 1880) was pretty sophisticated, but they had not yet figured out how to light the factory.

One chapter is about the need for consistent, clear and useful nomenclature...

"If a German in an American shop asks in German for an oil-can he won't be apt to get it, and we can understand why; but if an Englishman asks in English shop-lingo for a monkey-wrench, two things bother us, first, what he wants, and second, why he don't ask for what he wants, instead of talking about slide-spanners and screw-keys."

From contributor G:
"Templating" is not an adverb, it is a verb made from a noun, the same way Google became googling.

Then the verb form became a noun again, as in:
Have you made the template yet?
No, I am templating it now.
Good, I'll tell them the templating is almost ready.

There are hundreds of neo-logisms coined every year and many make it into the dictionaries.

From contributor H:
Words become words when people start using them and that's the truthiness!

From contributor J:
It is an adverb due to the fact that that it is describing the act of making a template. You can't just make verbs from nouns because you are too lazy to say "making a template." It's called improper speech.

From contributor L:
nosotros templetamos

From contributor V:
Just type it the way you want it to look and you can usually choose an option somewhere in your toolbar to add it to your dictionary in your word processing program, so it won't be flagged anymore.

From contributor W:
The correct spelling would be "templating," if we are following standard spelling practices.

From contributor A:
The problem with creating your own variation of the language is after time, it gets used locally and then becomes a local definition that may not be widely understood. In our area a finisher is a cabinetmaker who puts drawers in a cabinet and hangs the doors - he finishes the assembly process. Needless to say, when we want to advertise for someone who applies architectural coatings and is familiar with applying and mixing stains, we no longer advertise for a finisher.

About 20 years ago we used to call exposed ends finished ends. We did a restaurant that was specified maple laminate with a Wilsonart number. Our shop drawings called out finished ends on a salad bar. We went to arbitration and the customer's argument was why did we call it a finished end if weren't applying finish (they were expecting wood, not laminate). After two hours of explaining to an arbitrator how we came to use laminate and why an exposed end was commonly called a finished end, I was allowed to leave and we eventually got paid.

In December I bought a car and during negotiations with a dealer 300 miles away, I said well, this is your invoice amount and you have x hold back and y advertising expense, so I am looking to pay close to invoice. He said he would sell it for a nickel over invoice, I said fax the offer sheet up. When it came, it was $500 over invoice. That's not what I think of when someone says a nickel.

So you can use the language however you want, but it may not be understood and creating new definitions may confuse others.

From contributor W:
The first time I ever used a computer was in a college classroom, business communication. The professes (feminine of professor) gave very clear instructions: "Now let's all boot up our computers!" Mine made it up to the second row, but my ankle was sore for a week.

From contributor O:
Consider the past tense too; as in I have templated!

From contributor C:
Spelling Reform
A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
For example, in Year 1 that useless letter c would be dropped to be replased either by k or s, and likewise x would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish y replasing it with i and Iear 4 might fiks the g/j anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez c, y and x -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais ch, sh, and th rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.