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My sentence:

"It is quite a remarkable piece of prose because intuitive, humanities related metaphors are often used to explain difficult mathematical ideas (à la Blueman), not the other way around."

My intended meaning:

Not the other way around meaning mathematical metaphors are not used to explain intuitive humanities related ideas

p.s. how is my use of prose and a la?

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2  
Just a minor note: humanities related should be humanities-related (hyphenated), because it's a single term describing metaphors. –  Jon Purdy Jul 8 '11 at 1:54
    
From the given context, it is not clear to me whether the remarkable prose is written using difficult mathematical ideas to explain humanities-related metaphors, or the other way around. However, the larger context would presumably make that clear. If it is to be taken in isolation, I would remove the ambiguity: "It is quite a remarkable piece of prose because it uses intuitive, humanities-related metaphors to explain difficult mathematical ideas rather than, as so often, the other way round.", or the converse organization. –  Jonathan Leffler Jul 8 '11 at 4:38
    
@Jon I'm with you that there should be a hyphen there & probably modify that part of the sentence to have an "and" between the words "intuitive" and "humanities-related" –  Paul Amerigo Pajo Jul 8 '11 at 13:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Yes, it does convey the intended effect and meaning. Some people might not understand a la, so I might change it to "in the style of".

There is the alternative of :

...to explain difficult mathematical ideas (in the style of Blueman), but not vice-versa

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Would a college mathematics professor understand a la? –  mwmnj Jul 8 '11 at 1:16
    
Depends. I don't think so. Possible, but not probable –  Thursagen Jul 8 '11 at 2:05
1  
I'd say "a la" is correct here and the right phrasing. –  The Raven Jul 8 '11 at 2:17
    
It is correct, just that some people might not understand it. Otherwise it's perfectly fine –  Thursagen Jul 8 '11 at 2:20
3  
@Matt: yes, a college math prof would totally understand 'a la'. Who this Blueman character is is another story. –  Mitch Jul 8 '11 at 2:21

Your meaning is not clear and your prose could be pared down.

The prose is remarkable in that it uses intuitive metaphors to explain difficult mathematical ideas...

I take it that by calling the prose "remarkable" you are taking a swipe at some, or most, other texts which explain everyday things by using difficult mathematical ideas. If so, you might as well punch them right in the nose and say so:

... to explain difficult mathematical ideas; most books on mathematical subjects do just the opposite, and use difficult mathematical ideas to explain simple everyday things.

Is that your meaning? Or do you mean that they do not explain things that don't need explaining by not using difficult mathematical ideas to not explain them. I could not follow your explanation of what these other unnamed texts do or don't do.

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