0

I am wondering if I can use the word "compensate" to mean "adjust to correct" something in a document for a programming/mechanic related subject?

E.g. Can "position compensation of target objects" mean "position correction of target objects"?

Thank you in advance.

3
  • More context, please.
    – Erik Kowal
    Nov 6, 2014 at 6:04
  • 1
    The dictionary definition should suffice here. They are not synonymous, even though in some contexts they are comparable. While the verbal forms seem to mean the same and have the same form, it is easier to see the difference in the verbal form: "to compensate for the objects' jitter" vs "to correct the objects' position". To correct a property, you adjust a property towards the expected state, and compensate for an unwanted state or tendency towards such a state.
    – Amadan
    Nov 6, 2014 at 7:12
  • they are not even synonymous, really. (in some ways, you could say they are opposites! "Are we going to actually correct the problem in the camshaft, or are we just going to compensate for the problem by adding a balancer on the thrust plate?")
    – Fattie
    Nov 6, 2014 at 8:54

2 Answers 2

2

Can "position compensation of target objects" mean "position correction of target objects".

Quite simply: absolutely, definitely no.

In your setting:

A correction is a correction: changing value X to the correct value of X.

"compensate" is an adjustment made to help ameliorate a problem.

You need only glance in the dictionary: "(compensate for): reduce or counteract (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect:"

As I explained above, in some ways, you could say "correction" and "compensate" are opposites! Example:

"Are we going to actually correct the problem in the camshaft, or are we just going to compensate for the problem by adding a balancer on the thrust plate?"

0

"Compensation" ought to be used when a thing is the changer, i.e. I compensate for my own faults, you correct me for my faults.

If the targets are correcting themselves, they are compensating. If an outside force is correcting them, they are being corrected.

9
  • How do you explain the fact that consultants are often compensated for their mistakes? Nov 6, 2014 at 6:14
  • I disagree with that assertion. As a consultant, I am often compensated for my time, but my mistakes often cost me, either in that the client doesn't ask me for further consultation, or that I spend time correcting said mistakes off the clock in order to retain the client.
    – Hack Saw
    Nov 6, 2014 at 6:22
  • I see you've subtly sidestepped the question I posed. Here's a different question, perhaps less easy to sidestep: How do you explain the fact that consultants are often compensated for their clients' mistakes? Nov 6, 2014 at 6:33
  • unless you were just joking, "compensation" ("payment") has no connection at all to "compensation" (adjustment of System A to moderate a problem caused by System B).
    – Fattie
    Nov 6, 2014 at 8:51
  • I feel this is completely wrong, HackSaw. it makes no difference at all who or what compensates. (Many systems are "self-compensating". indeed many other systems are "self-correcting".) It doesn't matter who the agent of change is. "correction" simply means "setting to the correct value". "compensating" means "putting in a fix, for a problem".
    – Fattie
    Nov 6, 2014 at 8:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.