Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I just started reading Terence Tao's second edition analysis textbook, and I came across the following sentence.

1.2 Why do analysis?

It is a fair question to ask, "why bother?", when it comes to analysis.

I am wondering if this is the "correct" way to write this sentence in modern English usage.

share|improve this question
Why wouldn't it be? It's a bit odd to find a question in a textbook, copy it, and ask "is this correct?" without even explaining why you think it might be wrong. We have a user named Nortonn who asks a lot of questions like this, but at least Nortonn explains what he thinks might be wrong. –  J.R. Mar 2 '13 at 4:39
It's not standard American usage for punctuation (I believe the standard is to leave out the comma), but Terry Tao is originally Australian. –  Peter Shor Mar 2 '13 at 4:52
@J.R. I figured that the series of characters ?", was explicitly suspicious enough to not warrant an explanation. Wouldn't you agree? –  Trancot Mar 2 '13 at 5:42
If your question is actually Is the sequence ?" acceptable? it would be polite to indicate it. Otherwise we non-North Americans (for whom this is the only correct punctuation) have no idea what you are asking. –  TimLymington Mar 2 '13 at 13:41
@Trancot: You could have been asking, "Shouldn't the word ‘why’ begin with a capital ‘W’?" You could have been asking, "Shouldn't there be a colon after the word ‘ask’ instead of a comma?" You could have been asking, "Shouldn't there be a question mark after the word ‘analysis’ instead of a period?" You could have been asking, "Would this not be better if it was reworded as ‘Is it fair to ask...’" When all you do is ask, "Is this correct?" that leaves everything rather vague. Wouldn't you agree? –  J.R. Mar 2 '13 at 17:02

1 Answer 1

It is a fair question to ask "Why bother?" when it comes to analysis.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.