This tag is for questions about the usage and meaning of mathematical terminology and the names for mathematical entities in English.

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16
votes
8answers
4k views

Why do we say “lowest common denominator” when we mean “greatest common divisor”?

For example, we could say HTML is the lowest common denominator on the web", because one can be sure all web browsers are able to render HTML (but not Flash or Java). If I want my web page to show ...
13
votes
5answers
8k views

Difference between “computation” and “calculation”

If the words computation and calculation are not perfect synonyms what is the difference between them? Which one describes more accurately what is done by a person computing or calculating something ...
52
votes
8answers
6k views

Is -1 singular or plural?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? Edit: I am interested in both of these cases: "two things minus one thing(s)" and the quantity "minus/negative one thing(s)." Bounty: While there are some good ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Should I use the singular or plural verb in mathematical formulae (“Two and two make/makes four”)?

I remember somebody correcting me once when I said, "Two and two makes four", since the conjunction and would imply the use of a plural verb. They would prefer I said: Two and two make four. ...
3
votes
4answers
284 views

Use of the word “convergent”

This question is for people who know some mathematics. Is it correct to say The sequence is convergent to 0. Normally we say: The sequence converges to 0.
8
votes
3answers
23k views

Are there any differences between “oval” and “ellipse”?

Are there any differences between "oval" and "ellipse"?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a word for a class of circular shapes?

I'm not sure if this belongs here, but I'm wondering if there is a word for a class of circular shapes? Thinking about this hierarchically: * Shape * Polygon * Square * Rectangle * ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I form a word like “quadruple” for any number I want?

I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Transform or transformation?

Is there a difference between the words transform (noun) and transformation? Let me describe my problem. I have a mathematical model which I can transform into a better model with help of a data ...