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

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9 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 ...
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2answers
53 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.
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3answers
89 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
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3answers
65 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 ...
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2answers
51 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 ...
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2answers
51 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 ...
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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, ...
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3answers
54 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 ...
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1answer
60 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 ...
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2answers
65 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 ...
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2answers
49 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 ...
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0answers
41 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 ...
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2answers
49 views

Person versus People

When is the proper time to use the word "persons" in a sentence instead of using "people"?
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1answer
40 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 ...
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1answer
32 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
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1answer
74 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.
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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 ...
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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
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0answers
40 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
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3answers
67 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 ...
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1answer
89 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 ...
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0answers
51 views

Recommendations for books on English style (not grammar/proofreading)? [closed]

I'm looking for a good handbook for native English speakers on English style, with more of an emphasis on improving style, and less on punctuation, grammar, etc. It might contain examples of poor ...
1
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1answer
51 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, ...
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1answer
50 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 ...
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1answer
65 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 ...
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2answers
61 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
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1answer
119 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?
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2answers
53 views

Capitalization: 'rivers'

In the following sentence, is rivers capitalized or not? The Delaware and Potomac rivers are beautiful.
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5answers
367 views

How to write Vietnamese names in English correctly? (“Việt Nam” to “Vietnam” or “Viet Nam”?)

Commonly, in writing, the country name in Vietnamese is Việt Nam, in English is Vietnam; its capital city name in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, in English is Hanoi; its largest city name in Vietnamese is ...
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0answers
22 views

Is repeating the word “that” ok, if it is technically, grammatically correct? [duplicate]

E.g.: "... with all the sustainability considerations that that entails." If I'm correct, the above example is relative pronoun followed by pronoun - it just happens to be the same word for both ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Is “this object remains a valid inclusion in a discussion of similar objects” grammatically correct?

The wider context within which I am writing this phrase is: "What is certain, however, is that early twentieth-century piano rolls, while not themselves audio recordings, remain a valid inclusion in ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Should I write Orwell's '1984' in full? [closed]

Should I write 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', when discussing George Orwell's novel in an essay, or '1984'? Is it considered unconventional, or overly colloquial to use the latter form? This question ...
2
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2answers
137 views

Is it “2-8 days” or “two to eight days”?

When I am writing a book and referring to something that lasts 2-8 days, do I say "2-8 days" or "two to eight days"? Also, when referring to how much of something I would use, would I say "2-4 ...
3
votes
3answers
190 views

Difference between “bunch of” and “group of” with regard to people

What are the contexts for using a bunch and a group when describing a handful of people? Please take both spoken and written English into account. For example, when is it more appropriate to use "a ...
2
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1answer
114 views

Redundancy: If they should

Today’s horoscope on New York Daily News says (the link may be broken after tomorrow): If they should find out something before you had a chance to tell them, it could cause real friction. How ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Is the describer needed in 'not…but…" type constructions?

Consider these two sentences: "His actions reveal him to be a husband who is not jealous but is zealous." "Those words demonstrate not his jealousness but his zealousness." Are the words ...
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12answers
665 views
+200

“Gassy emissions from these giant dinosaurs” vs. “… by these giant dinosaurs”

Reading a science article on Huffington Post, titled "Dinosaur Farts, Prehistoric Climate Change Linked In New Methane Gas Study", I came across the following sentence: The gassy emissions from ...
0
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1answer
85 views

Can “e.g.” be used to indicate that the preceding clause is an example?

I was advised not to use "for example" in academic work. If I have the following sentence: "The state of New York, for example, uses Auctions to assign...", is it possible to substitute the "for ...
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1answer
61 views

Quoting lyrics or lines of poetry [duplicate]

When quoting a lyric or line of poetry in running prose, should the original capitalisation be preserved?
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1answer
98 views

How is title case applied to idioms containing prepositions?

For title case that does not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and small prepositions, how should one capitalize compound verbs and idiomatic phrases containing one of these elements? For example, ...
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1answer
122 views

Using English naming customs for foreign names

In the English-speaking world, many Russians are known primarily by their first and last name: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy. However, from what I've read, the usual practice in Russian is to ...
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votes
1answer
276 views

Can we use the abbreviation “etc” without a period/full stop?

Throughout Practical English Usage 3rd Edition (Swan, 2005), the author writes etc in a manner I can't help but wonder if it's a typo. Much/far/a lot etc more money Many/far/a lot etc ...
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2answers
86 views

Capitalization of the word “municipality”

When I am referring specifically to the Municipality of Durham, for example, and I write the following sentence: The Municipality has approved Article 5.3 of the meeting agenda. Is the word ...
0
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2answers
337 views

Can I use “and” many times in one sentence?

I was always under the impression I should not use and more than once. I have this text: I appreciate that all my previous work experience is within office based industries however I am a quick ...
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2answers
56 views

Usage of quotes in the letter writing

I have included this quote with single apostrophe within a sentence amidst letter writing. Is this allowed? Amidst his speech, I still remember his famous quote (saying): ‘Customer experience is ...
-1
votes
1answer
76 views

A way to describe/categorize music that would rhyme/alliterate with each day of the week [closed]

Good day, apologies for the rather confusing title. My friends and I came up with an idea and started a music appreciation day for each day of the week. The idea is that each day has an assigned genre ...
0
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1answer
38 views

Punctuation between clauses when the first clause is a series

I have this sentence: Even if I seem too busy, or you made a mistake, or someone we care about will be upset, or you feel embarrassed, if anything bothers you, I want to know. I believe that ...
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1answer
47 views

When to repeat a paragraph?

I was reading through this article recently, and I noticed that the first and seventh paragraphs are identical. Stylistically speaking, is it common to repeat entire strings of text as shown here? ...
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0answers
216 views

punctuating So and Then at the beginning of a sentence

I am confused when to put a comma after "so" and after "then" at the start of a sentence. i.e., And then that's when you went to the store? i.e., Then at McDonald's you were only there for a year, ...
1
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1answer
63 views

Correct spelling for BOD and DO

What is the correct way to spell "biochemical oxygen demand" and "dissolved oxygen" in the middle of a sentence? Should the initial letters be capitalized?