A system is a series of patterns of patterns, and each pattern of patterns is called a systems level (see 1.4). There are many kinds of system, including electrical systems, mechanical systems, political systems, solar systems, living systems, taxonomic systems, traffic systems, and so on. Systems theory studies the properties that these various systems have in common. The most relevant of these properties are described under the various headings below.

When it is applied to a word, the suffix '-ation' often implies a system. Thus, we have 'transport' and 'transportation'. When someone offers a ride and says "May I offer you transportation?" he should really say 'transport'. And the system of public busses and underground trains in London is called "London Transport", when it should really be "London Transportation". Similar comments can be made about ornament and ornamentation (a system of ornaments), classification (a system of classes), experimentation, hyphenation, organisation, plantation, medication, and so on.

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