Questions relating to proper style or a specific instance of style in English.

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13
votes
4answers
1k views

Avoiding stuffy language: “Therefore”, “Thus”

In my thesis, I'm using "thus" and "therefore" a lot. This is repetitive and it sounds stuffy. Is there any alternative which sounds a bit more relaxed but is acceptable in scientific writing? "So" ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Question on “the fabric of X” in sentences

I see a lot of sentences with "the fabric of X" in them. For example, "The veteran feels trusted, respected and understood -- re-integrated into the fabric of his or her homeland." "Half a century ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Too or Also: which one puts more emphasis on the second sentence? [closed]

Which adverb is preferred to emphasize more the second sentence? I.e. She contacted him in the office but he didn’t answer the phone. Also, his mobile phone was silent. or His mobile phone was ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Use of “end of …” or “the end of …” at the end of a book [closed]

I am writing a small book and I am faced with a dilema on how to finish. I plan to leave an empty page at the end with just the text indicating that this is the end of the book. What would be most ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

“Fig. x depicts” vs. “As depicted in Fig. x” in scientific publications

My boss doesn't like it, if I use phrases like "Fig. x depicts" or "Fig. x shows" in scientific publications and wants me to use passive form instead. However, I didn't find any reference that the use ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Pronoun usage: that vs one

I've encountered a sentence on English Wiktionary: The company's 2005 revenue exceeds that of 2004 Can I use one instead of that in the sentence? And that one? And, basically, what is the ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

How do you suggest I write in an archaic style? [closed]

I'd been exploring different styles of language when I decided I'd like to write in an archaic style as was common in the 18/19th century. How do you suggest I write in such style? Please do suggest ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

How to style the names of code libraries

How do you style the names of code libraries like jQuery or Django in a formal essay? Are they italicized like book titles?
1
vote
2answers
32 views

“…, that is:” vs. “…,i.e.,”

I know i.e. and that is are equivalent, but I have seen a ...that is: also. Does this construction differ in meaning? See: It does not regard politics as a separate or primary goal, that is: as ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

“Rights are X— X is Y — X is Z—Z is V". Instead of Rights are X; X is Y; X is Z;Z is V

I understand the em dash to be more dramatic and intense than a semi-colon. I'm checking on whether the decision to use the em dash here is also purely stylistic. “Rights” are a moral concept—the ...
2
votes
1answer
12 views

“It is the god-given given that must be accepted because it cannot be changed.” vs a colon

Is the difference purely stylistic, or is there a slight change of meaning in using one form of over the other? "It is the god-given given that must be accepted because it cannot be changed," as ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

Parenthetical statements and pronouns

What's correct/more common way of including them? Like this: This reminded me of the Genesis, the part where God, after finding out Eve gave the apple to Adam, He says to the her: "... with ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

“You're” or “you are”? [duplicate]

My colleague and I are working on our style used in communications, and we have a question around whether it's acceptable to use "you're" or if we should always write "you are". Our style guide says: ...
0
votes
3answers
116 views

A case study of colon punctuation usage [closed]

I wonder if the three colon punctuation usage in the case bellow. Also, is the indent proper? Finally, are they formal usage, which can be used in formal writings? I have two questions: 1: Who ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Where can I find examples of really bad writing? [closed]

Do you know where I can find examples of really bad writing? I'm looking for garbled sentence structure, errors in spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, redundancy, tautology, internal contradictions, ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Referring to something: choosing between “this + {noun}” versus “such + {noun}” [closed]

Recently, I've had a discussion with someone regarding how to know how to choose among the words "this" and "such" in written text, but could not find any usage style guidelines on this topic. ...
1
vote
1answer
169 views

How to respond politely and professionally to an email requesting information? [closed]

I have received the following email Hello, Thank you for applying to UCB. We would like to call you briefly between the hours of 10:50 A.M. EST and noon on January 31. Please provide ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Is there a better way to write multiple Nota Bene? i.e “n.b., n.b.b.” e.t.c

What is the preferred way to write: n.b. Thing. n.b. Related thing #2. Can you use an approach similar to P.S.?: p.s (post-scriptum) p.p.s (postquam-post-scriptum) Or, should it be ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

When using the French word “sans” in an English sentence, should I use italics?

In the sentence, below, I am using the French word sans to mean without. Should sans be italicized? Or, should all of "sans human civilization" be italicized? Planet Earth sans human civilization ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 views

Correct use of Though

Is it correct or acceptable to begin a sentence with "though" followed by a comma? By that, I mean something like "Though, I like red." Is that usage acceptable, and is "though" always preferred to be ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Writing in King James archaic language [closed]

I'm currently working on an English project and I have chosen to rewrite a story (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad) in a biblical, King James style. I have done a large amount of reading but I do ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

When to use named and called? [duplicate]

I am writing my Statement of Purpose. I am writing a sentence such as I moved to a small town called Falmouth where I .... Should I use named or called? I moved to a small town named ...
1
vote
2answers
87 views

“built-in to the library”: hyphen or no hyphen

http://web.mit.edu/galib/www/FeatureList.html says, "You can use the types built-in to the library (bit-string, array, list, tree) or derive a chromosome based on your own objects." I've sometimes ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

How do I refer to an idiom in text?

What is the best way to refer to the idiom "Keeping up with the Joneses"? I'm referencing the idiom in a paper, but not sure if I should include it in quotes or not in quotes, but italics.
2
votes
3answers
148 views

How to avoid excessive usage of personal pronoun? [duplicate]

English is not my first language and often I (as a Portuguese speaker) find that my sentences get too awkward with the number of personal pronouns that I usually use. Here is a generic example: ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

“Day X” vs. “Xth day”

There are two possibilities to say that something happens on a particular day: The course of psychological support consisted of four 30-minute sessions led by a psychotherapist before and ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

Use of “respectively” twice

Is it correct to use respectively in this way in a written text? The first month of Spring (respectively Summer) is March (respectively June). Could you please point to some examples where it is ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

“Mr. John s/o Mr. Wagner” vs “Mr. John s/o Mr. & Mrs. Wagner”

Which one below is correct? Mr. John s/o Mr. Wagner OR Mr. John s/o Mr. & Mrs. Wagner Is it necessary to affix Mr. & Mrs. in this case? It seems superfluous to add Mrs. because a ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

The Plural of Email - Emails? [duplicate]

I debated with my peers that we can use the word emails when referring to more than one and it would be grammatically right. But most of them said since we don't say we received mails today, ...
0
votes
3answers
74 views

Is there a noun(phrase) meaning 'the state' of being a masterpiece?

'Masterpiece' is a noun. I would like, however, to use a noun or a concise noun phrase which refers not to a masterpiece, but its state of being a masterpiece. I thought of using 'masterpieciness' as ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

Into vs In to, which do I use in this sentence?

I'm writing an op-ed with this sentence: "It was initially – in my mind – a list of people you could ask about whoever it is you’re looking into." According to my understanding of this link ...
1
vote
2answers
198 views

Do military titles get capitalized?

I'm pretty sure "Commander Shepard" is preferable to "commander Shepard," but I'm less sure about "the Commander" vs "the commander." On one hand, I'm pretty sure "commander" is a common noun in this ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

Multiple instances of the same (foreign) word

Consider the following snippet: The Spanish word lágrima comes from Latin lacrima which also has a descendant in English. When you cry, your eyes get their tears from special glands known as ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Delayed relative clause

Consider the following phrase taken from a draft of my master's thesis: In this chapter, the fundamental physiological principles will be presented that underlie the mathematical models and ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Person versus People

When is the proper time to use the word "persons" in a sentence instead of using "people"?
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Capitalization of a two-line explanation after a colon [closed]

I came across the following capitalization in a documentation. In the actual documentation, the line is changed where I inserted brackets, and "T" in "Tilt" is aligned to "P" in "Pitch". Installation ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Does the following need a comma? “You must post 'precautions for usage, etc.' where applicable.”

This is for a poster regarding the treatment of dangerous chemicals in a lab. I have the generally feeling that after the "etc." there should be a comma, and I'm not sure if 1) it is necessary and 2) ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Is this construction common in formal English? [closed]

Are any and very commonly used together in formal English, as in the sentence below, and does them coming together denote poor style? There aren't any very old buildings in this city.
1
vote
0answers
25 views

“Which foods do you…” vs. “What foods do you…” [duplicate]

The word "which", by its definition, is "asking for information specifying one or more people or things from a definite set." So, naturally, "which foods do you..." is the correct way of phrasing this ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

Is “to boil down” formal enough to be used in scientific writing? [closed]

The phrase to boil down to something can be found in most dictionaries. However, to me, it sounds colloquial to write Finding an exact solution to Eq. 1 boils down to ... A real-life ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Are we taught to use parentheses in the wrong way and too often? [closed]

I'm finding a lot of questions and answers in general on SE are very liberal in using parenthesis to wrap secondary information within sentences which leads to broken flow and reduced readability. ...
2
votes
3answers
90 views

Replace “future work” with a phrase in three words?

Since I don't intend to continue work on my paper, I don't want to use the phrase "future work". After reading two similar questions (1 and 2), my first thinking is that most of the suggested ...
0
votes
1answer
128 views

Changing tense with brackets: “Bully[ing]” or “Bull[ying]”?

I've noticed that it seems to be common to bracket letters when partially quoting someone in order to make it grammatical. If Bob said "I'll retire when I turn sixty," one might write, "Bob told ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Should add a comma before 'though' in the following case?

The dog was lying on his side. He wasn’t resting though, of that I was sure. He was dead. Should I add a comma in the bolded sentence? The dog was lying on his side. He wasn’t resting, ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Do the commas in these aid readability? [closed]

If a unit of measurement represents a singular entity, is it permissible to use commas (as exampled in [1] in every pair below) to aid readability? Do you agree that the first example below in each ...
1
vote
4answers
263 views

Recordkeeping, record keeping, or record-keeping

In the following sentence, a reviewer claimed that record keeping is a spelling error that should be corrected to recordkeeping. Service providers shall manage information using agreed upon ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Compound words limitation

To what extent compound words are appropriate in English? Are the "onthedownburninghouseresting", "firesurrounded" valid words in English? Somehow I feel that the first one is not, while the second ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

Is this a parenthetical phrase or an apposition?

Consider the following What are you laughing at, my silly hat? and What are you laughing at? My silly hat? Which of these is correctly punctuated, and if the first example is correct, what ...
3
votes
1answer
126 views

Why do we write “Fourier's law” but “Soret effect”?

Can you explain why do we write e.g. Fourier's law, Ohm's law, Newton's law of cooling, etc. but Soret effect, Dufour effect instead of Soret's effect, Dufour's effect? What is the principle?
0
votes
2answers
129 views

Capitalization: 'rivers'

In the following sentence, is rivers capitalized or not? The Delaware and Potomac rivers are beautiful.