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.

What is better to write?

that my results are not reproducible
that my results are unreproducible

How can it be re-written as positive affirmation (preserving the same meaning)?

Edit:
Do not I remember correctly that it is better to write negative sentence than positive but much more lengthy?
This question is about technical copywriting

Update: When I was writing the question, I did not account for the fact that there are 4 "synonyms":

  • non-reproducible,
  • unreproducible,
  • irreproducible,
  • not reproducible

Update:
the post with this phrase that provoked this question

share|improve this question
    
"It won't happen again"? :) –  Benjol Feb 3 '11 at 9:31
4  
What do you mean by positive affirmation? (Somehow, I'm reminded of Dave Barry: 'WRITING TIP FOR PROFESSIONALS: To make your writing more appealing to the reader, avoid “writing negatively.” Use positive expressions instead. WRONG: “Do not use this appliance in the bathtub.” RIGHT: “Go ahead and use this appliance in the bathtub.”') –  ShreevatsaR Feb 3 '11 at 9:32
    
This is strange that I did not read but remember it. That's why I asked how to re-write it in positive –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 4 '11 at 3:12
1  
As I suggested below, "singular" is the most accurate answer given that you want a "positive affirmation". Singular has connotations so you must also elaborate. –  broiyan Feb 4 '11 at 11:59
1  
I read the page you linked. I see no reason to stop using "unreproducible". –  broiyan Feb 6 '11 at 6:18
show 1 more comment

4 Answers 4

I would usually say not reproducible, and if I wanted to use a single word I would always use irreproducible rather than unreproducible.

share|improve this answer
    
Huhhh, I did not even think about irreproducible, updated my post after your answer, thanks –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 5 '11 at 8:49
add comment

First part: “not reproducible” seems to be widely more used than “unreproducible”. I checked this on Google, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, the British National Corpus, and a Google search restricted to a scientific publisher website (American Chemical Society, acs.org).

Second part: it's hard to say something this negative with a very positive tone. One way to make it more positive is to hint at possible reasons why you could not reproduce the results, e.g., “my results could not, under the time available, be reproduced”.

share|improve this answer
2  
Check "irreproducible". :) –  chaos Feb 3 '11 at 15:59
    
@chaos, does not "irreproducible" have the connotation of well-established and commonly accepted inner quality? rather than something probed/questioned? –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 4 '11 at 3:17
    
@vgv8: No. I've never encountered the connotation you speak of with it. It just means not reproducible (the ir- prefix being preferred to un- in the same way that we say impossible rather than unpossible). –  chaos Feb 4 '11 at 3:25
    
@FX_, thanks, I did re-read it few times, yesterday and today. Thanks for your time! It was unexpected that "not reproducible" sounds better, I was inclined to think and use vice versa. I updated my question after studying your answer. –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 5 '11 at 8:53
    
Question: does the asker want a positive tone, or just to eliminate the negative terms (un-, irr-, not-, etc). –  broiyan Feb 6 '11 at 6:11
show 1 more comment

that my results are non-reproducible

Both the prefixes un- and non- have the same meaning, but they are used with different perspectives.

In a note, the NOAD reports that

The prefix un- tends to be stronger and less neutral than non-. Consider, for example, the differences between unacademic and nonacademic, as in his language was refreshingly unacademic, and a nonacademic life suits him.

share|improve this answer
    
This NOAD ? No Advertisement? –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 4 '11 at 11:49
    
It is the New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. –  kiamlaluno Feb 4 '11 at 11:52
    
+1 nice point, I am struggling to memorize it, re-reading it sometimes. –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 5 '11 at 8:47
add comment

It is unclear what context the original poster is considering, but it should be mentioned that both examples given have a strong implication that the results are, in principle, incapable of being reproduced.

A "positive alternative" without this implication would be something like "the results have not yet been reproduced" or "my colleague was not able to reproduce the results"

share|improve this answer
    
Updated my question –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Feb 5 '11 at 8:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

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.