My translation from Russian:

Fill the vial with nitrogen, then immediately close it with a stopper and crimp an aluminium cap on.

The Russian original uses the word "завальцевать", which is basically "to crimp" here, and I want to retain it in the sentence and not just write "cap with an aluminium cap" or something like that.

Maybe it's not very natural-sounding and one should write something like

... and attach an aluminium cap using a crimping instrument.

A well-crimped vial looks like this:

enter image description here

  • The word you're looking for is probably, "snap on an aluminum cap," but honestly, you could probably just say, "put an aluminum cap on it, too." – Teacher KSHuang Apr 14 '17 at 11:34
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    crimp an aluminum cap on is perfectly idiomatic and natural, but it sounds a little too casual; an alternative, but minus aluminum, would be "...and then cap it using a crimping tool". If aluminum is important: "...and then affix an aluminum cap using a proper crimping tool". The choice depends on the register you're aiming for, e.g. handy notes or formal protocol. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 14 '17 at 12:03
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    I would also suggest seal it with a stopper instead of close it with a stopper. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 14 '17 at 12:04
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    @TeacherKS If you're going to attempt to answer the question. please write an answer and not multiple comments. Answers can be voted on, improved, and have enough room to explain in detail. Also, snap is not a good replacement for crimp. Crimping is used when the seal is only intended to be broken once (or not at all... see comments stink for explaining in detail). Snapping on a cap is less specific. – ColleenV Apr 14 '17 at 14:12

"Crimp" has a specific meaning. It is not equivalent to "capping", "snapping", or "putting".

The stopper is what closes the top. The aluminum cap has a different purpose. It keeps the stopper from being removed or tampered with. So the relevant action is not simply putting the cap in place, it is securing it.

Crimping involves bending the metal to secure it in place. So replacing "crimp" with a generic term for attachment leaves out important information if your intent is to accurately translate the instruction.

Rather than end with a preposition, you could write "crimp on an aluminum cap".

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  • Upvote for specificity. "Crimping" has to permanently deform the material of the thing being crimped, else it ain't crimping. – Malvolio Apr 15 '17 at 14:54

I think crimp is natural sounding enough. If I were to read that I would understand the meaning. Largely, this will depend on your audience. If this is a user's manual, you may consider using the verb "fit" or "affix". If this is meant for people who work in manufacturing, I suspect they will understand "crimp".

*Note on style: Fill the vial with nitrogen, then immediately close it with a stopper and crimp an aluminium cap on (it).
It sounds better to not end a sentence with a preposition.

I hope this helps,


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    "don't end a sentence with a preposition" is a made-up rule up with which I will not put. – Kevin Apr 14 '17 at 14:00
  • Your sentence didn't make sense. "...is a made-up rule with which I will not put up". – joseph.glover Apr 14 '17 at 19:41
  • I'm also not stating that it's a rule. It's better for style. There are many things you can say in English which are grammatically correct but which are stylistically unpleasant. The original question regarded what sounds natural. It is a stylistic question in the first place. – joseph.glover Apr 14 '17 at 19:43
  • "Your sentence didn't make sense." It's perfectly grammatical and follows the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" guideline. I intentionally wrote it that way to show how silly a sentence can be when you force yourself to follow it – Kevin Apr 15 '17 at 14:29
  • @joseph.glover -- Kevin is paraphrasing a line attributed to Churchill, probably falsely. A 1942 Strand Magazine column quoted an unnamed writer who called your exact criticism "offensive impertinence, up with which I will not put." – Malvolio Apr 15 '17 at 14:51

They way you have it is absolutely fine. You're alternative is equally acceptable and sounds slightly more like something you'd see in an instruction manual.

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