Dot Your I's And Cross Your T's

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Dot Your I's And Cross Your T's : Phrases


Complete the job paying attention to the details.


Your instructor is a tough grader, be sure to
dot your 'i's and cross your 't's on your research.


When writing, many people complete a word before returning to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's. Someone in a rush might neglect to complete the task. The phrase has been extended to any job, not just writing.

Crossing the T has also become a naval term. A naval engagement fought in the Surigao Straight during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is in the Philippines, illustrates crossing the T. That battle (Leyte Gulf) marked the end of the Japanese navy.

It was also the strangest naval battle in the war. Both sides were totally confused as to the disposition of enemy forces and both commanders made mistakes that seriously jeopardized their objectives. Admirals Kincaid and Halsey had the advantage of numbers and luck and won out.

Warships of the era had guns mounted in turrets distributed over the ship. Their ability to fire in the direction the ship is pointed is limited to the front most turrets, rendering the remaining guns useless for firing forward. However when firing perpendicular to the ship, all turrets can be rotated and used.

The Japanese ships were caught in a single file line. The United States ships were positioned at the head of the line in a T fashion. This formation is known as crossing the T in military circles.

Having crossed the T, the U.S. ships could point all the ship's guns towards the Japanese ships making it easy to fire on them. The Japanese ships had the considerable disadvantage of having to fire straight ahead.

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