I read the following in a technical manual:
Three consecutive start attempts are permitted without cooldown. After the third start attempt, the starter motor must cool down for at least 60 minutes.
Then this is echoed in a user manual:
After three consecutive start attempts, the crew must wait 60 min before a new start attempt.
A start procedure takes about a minute, and I see two possible interpretations:
- The motor cannot be started 4 times in a short period of time.
- If the motor fails to start 3 times in a row, you need to wait 60 minutes before trying again.
Which interpretation is more correct?
In future or present tenses, "attempt" does not imply success or failure, as an "attempt" could end in success. But in past-tense, I'm not so sure.
Arguments for interpretation 1:
- "successful attempt" is not an oxymoron.
- "Was his skydiving record attempt a success?" is a reasonable question.
Arguments for interpretation 2:
- Interpretation 1 is not well defined. Only the time between the 3rd and 4th start is defined, leaving the time between the 1st and 3rd start unconstrained (if you typically do one start per day, then it doesn't make sense to wait 60min between the 3rd and 4th starts). Therefore interpretation 2 results in a clearer instruction.
- We always refer to a coup-d'etat in past-tense as a "successful coup" or an "attempted coup" (failure implied).