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It is worth noting that the section of the wire coming from the positive terminal of the battery to the first fuse is effectively unprotected. If this was ever too short, it could cause an electrical fire. For this reason, you should fit the first fuse for each electric circuit as close to the battery/power source as possible.

How I understand the second phase: if wire is too short, it could cause a fire.

How I understood the third phrase: we must make this wire as short as possible for safety reasons.

Either there is a mistake in the text, or I don't get the meaning of the expression.

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  • It's the same as "Have you ever (at any time in your life) been to France?" If that section of wire was ever (in any circuit of this type) too short... – Kate Bunting Aug 22 '20 at 14:34
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    @KateBunting: Nah - it's just a typo (should be infinitive marker to, not too = excessive). But thinking about it, I'd guess one likely reason a wire might short [out] could be because it's too long. – FumbleFingers Aug 22 '20 at 15:52
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Of course - I hadn't thought of short being a verb. – Kate Bunting Aug 22 '20 at 16:31
  • If the section of wire were ever to short circuit. To short= to short circuit. – Lambie Aug 22 '20 at 18:47
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Nothing to do with length. The quoted text is from an article on a camper van website. It contains an error. The correct text would be:

However, it is worth noting that the section of the wire coming from the positive terminal of the battery to the first fuse (or fuse box) is effectively unprotected. If this was ever to short, it could cause an electrical fire.

If a wire 'shorts' it touches another wire or conductor causing a short circuit.

Really, I would write "If this were ever to short", using the subjunctive, but many people nowadays don't bother. Don't expect good English on camper van sites.

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    I'd expand that last point: "Don't expect good English anywhere" When I read my town newspaper I notice typos and grammatical mistakes almost every week. – Barmar Aug 22 '20 at 23:13
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    I hardly expected that the text might have such a funny typo. Thank you a lot! Hahaha – soshial Aug 23 '20 at 6:38
  • Good answer. I’d also note that in this usage, “short” is an abbreviation of “short OUT’, which is the specific wording for an accidental completion of an electrical circuit without resistance, causing failure. – Chris Melville Aug 23 '20 at 7:20
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    @ChrisMelville - or an abbreviation of "short-circuit", if you like but it doesn't have to be an abbreviation of anything. – Michael Harvey Aug 23 '20 at 7:35
  • @MichaelHarvey - “Short circuit” is the noun phrase. ‘Short out” is the verb phrase; and here it’s being used as a verb :) – Chris Melville Aug 23 '20 at 7:52
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Ever so can be used in place of *very". A princess might say "this cake is ever so delicious" or "thank you ever so much". Ever too isn't quite right, but sounds enough like ever so to be acceptable. "Your hair is ever too short, how will I braid it?" is clearly using "ever too" as as awkward very. It can be tricky (for a non-native speaker) to tell them apart. "If you're ever so rude to me again" (speaking of the future) vs. "Lord Paisley, you're ever so rude to me" (means very, speaking of the present and past). Sometimes the very meaning gets dashes: ever-so-rude.

So typo or not, the editor probably saw it as ever-too-short, which is a strange way of writing very short. They thought the sentence was "if this was very short it could cause an electrical fire". That's what I thought (I had to read it twice) -- maybe these special fuses can't be near batteries, so you need a long wire? It's a rare error due to the 2 meanings of short. For example, if it said "were ever too short out" or "were ever too have a short" the to/too typo would be obvious.

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  • Such an invaluable example, that explains the difference between two different meanings! Thank you so much for your time. – soshial Aug 24 '20 at 11:24

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