This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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8
votes
1answer
16k views

When do we use “rarely, hardly, seldom”?

I'd like to know when should we use "rarely" and "hardly" and "seldom". Can we use these adverbs in the same situation? Or do we need to follow some criteria for using those different adverbs?
3
votes
3answers
823 views

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized?

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized? "a wireless g network"? "a wireless-g network"? "a wireless-G network"? "a wireless G network"? none of the above? Does a formal ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

“these days” - what is the correct usage/meaning?

Recently whilst writing a report I typed the following sentence: "Funerals still represent a celebration of the life of the deceased, but these days families and friends often use the time to ...
28
votes
5answers
19k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

Whether we use users or user? [closed]

I am wondering whether we use "user" or "users" in a technical document; specifically a user guide or specification document in those sentences like " with this feature user can issue . ...." or " ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

As a(n) noun vs as only

I wonder about the use of as a and as (only) in writing. Can you explain when it is correct to quantify the noun when presenting oneself? I will paste some examples for clarity. Are there any rules ...
0
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
8k views

Is it necessary to begin a new paragraph after a person speaks?

When I was in school, I was taught to always begin a new paragraph after a quotation or after a speaker concludes a segment of dialogue. However, in recent years, I have seen authors abandon this ...
-1
votes
1answer
116 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How does a signature develop?

In English, unlike in many other languages, signatures are typically very different from ordinary handwriting. A signature will often display all kinds of wild flourishes and elision of forms and what ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is one allowed to use capitalization for emphasis?

In written English, is it okay to emphasize words by capitalizing them? As in: I would NEVER do that! Are there other methods to achieve this? On an aside: Dutch uses acute accents for ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “solidus” and “slash”?

I was reading a text, and I found the word solidus. What is a solidus? Is the word normally used in everyday language, or is there another word that replaces solidus even if it's not the completely ...
0
votes
2answers
119 views

“Reduce to” or “reduce by”?

Can I use the verb reduce in the following way? Also can anyone help me verify the whole sentence? The transmission overhead is reduced to more than 95%.
12
votes
4answers
19k views

What are sentences like “the longer X, the more Y” called and can they be used in formal written English?

What is the type of sentence exemplified below called? Is it appropriate to use it in a scientific paper and formal written English in general? 1. The more pronounced the variation, the more the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to punctuate an answer to a question when the answer is also a question?

The title to this question is sort of long-winded but the example here should clarify it. Which of these is correct? Who should be baby-sitting your children, your neighborhood teenagers or ...
1
vote
1answer
6k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
92 views

how to greet teacher in email [closed]

I am going to write an email to my college instructors, to congratulate their independence day; I don't know how to greet them and how to start. thanks
9
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I refer to a word?

When writing, I sometimes want to refer to a word, as opposed to its meaning. For example: when correcting someone's grammar or semantics (there versus their), or when pointing out exemplary ...
3
votes
4answers
405 views

When to Use Closing Quotes [duplicate]

I have noticed that BBC will frequently not use closing quotes when quoting long paragraphs of text, as an example it occurs twice in this article: ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

How to use an independent structure to modify a sentence within a sentence?

After one year, I quit my job, said goodbye to my friends, went to Beijing to study philosophy, participating in a lot of classes given by professors, but never having been registered as a formal ...
0
votes
2answers
79 views

It is necessary to launch my audit application

I am requesting access to MS-Access. It is necessary to launch my audit application. Background: I received this e-mail from an internal employee. He's requested that MS-Access software be ...
0
votes
2answers
346 views

Location of day of week in non-U.S. long format dates?

In the United States, the long/expanded/full form of a date with day of the week is: Monday, February 24, 2014 I understand in other countries the long date form is often: 24 February 2014 So ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Must “first” be followed by “second”?

Is the use of the introductory word first awkward or confusing in the following paragraph if I don't include another sentence starting with secondly? In the process of learning them, I deeply felt ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
477 views

Expressing sudden interruption in written, narrative speech

The title is self-explanatory, but whatever: What is the lexical technique for expressing sudden interruptions in written, narrative speech? For example: I was walking down the street when— ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the correct name for posts made on twitter?

Well, I honestly tried to search for this but I drowned in twit* and tweet* results. Should I write: "my tweet" or "my twit"? "I am tweetting" or "I am twitting" ("to twit" vs. "to tweet")? ...
0
votes
1answer
240 views

Is it correct to say “Master student in Statistics ”?

Currently I'm a student for Master (M.A) degree in Statistics and I need a title for my resume, does it correct to say "Master student in Statistics "? thnx!
-1
votes
3answers
276 views

What can I use instead of “One Day” [closed]

I am writing a book review and I am unsure on a substitute of the phrase "One Day,..."
1
vote
2answers
792 views

How to abbreviate in an essay the title of a work that consists of a name and a surname?

I am writing an essay on the short story "Harrison Bergeron." How should I abbreviate the title if I don't want to write out the whole name? Would it simply be "Bergeron" or Harrison?"
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Usage of italics in writing

In which cases is a word, or a group of words written in italics? Is italics used in specific contexts, or it is quite normal to write words in italics?
89
votes
3answers
8k views

How did 7 come to be an abbreviation for 'and' in Old English?

According to A History of the English Language: Revised Edition by Elly van Gelderen, p.53, in Old English the numeral 7 was used as an abbreviation for the word and: Abbreviations are frequently ...
0
votes
3answers
92 views

What's the name for this kind of writing? [closed]

I recently 'fell in love' with reading after receiving a book. Now that I've finished reading it, I'm looking for books with that kind of writing. I've Googled for similar books from the same ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

Should I refer to “Section 2.3” or “Subsection 2.3”?

When writing a document that is divided into numbered sections and subsections, sometimes I would like to refer a certain subsection that has been numbered 2.3, for example. Here the 2 represents the ...
7
votes
8answers
4k views

Can the word “that” be used to refer to people?

I came across this SAT Question of the Day: Unbelievable as it may seem, many individuals that fought in the American Revolution were still alive in 1839, the year the world was introduced to ...
3
votes
3answers
285 views

Momentary vs Temporary

Is there any difference? Which would be better to describe a requirement for 1 or 2 days. Suppose I need to inform my Operations team, that I need a particular requirement to be implemented but I want ...
17
votes
1answer
901 views

Did the Tironian “et” (“⁊”) have any impact on the ampersand being shift + 7 on English keyboards? [closed]

How did 7 come to be an abbreviation for 'and' in Old English? is a beautiful question about the Tiroian "et", which is now the "⁊" character 1. My question is what impact did the association of this ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

A possible linking word for the following

I was asked to insert a link word in the following sentence of my report , but I couldn't think of one. The first prototype is the only model available so far, since the micro-controller at the ...
5
votes
1answer
10k views

Is 'at the time of writing' correct?

I am writing a technical document and I need to refer to the current point of time. Should I say 'at the time of writing', 'at the time of this writing', or 'at the time of writing this'? Are all ...
3
votes
3answers
26k views

How should we write the phrase “one of a kind”? [closed]

I have seen two kind of written format of "one of a kind" phrase, one of a kind one-of-a-kind Which is the proper way of writing "one of a kind" phrase?
21
votes
3answers
79k views

Should I write “that being said” (vs. “that's been said” or “Having said that”)?

I often write what "sounds" right (being not a native English speaker/writer), and I believe the expression "that being said" to be fairly common, as opposed to a more complete form like "that's been ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it okay to start a sentence with a Greek letter (variable)?

Is it okay to start a sentence with a variable? Do I need to rewrite a sentence just because the subject is typeset as a Greek letter? For example: Φ is treated in a special way. vs. ...
1
vote
1answer
382 views

The word “was” to not use in writing, dont use the word was [closed]

My english teacher told me to get rid of all "was"s in my essay and to replace them. I did it even though it seemed a bit difficult to re-write all my sentences. When writing essays is the word "was" ...
-1
votes
1answer
40 views

Different number of sub-levels in different chapters

Is it considered bad form to have a different number of sub-levels in different chapters in a technical report? Or would something like the following be admittable? Chapter 1 - Introduction ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Native English speaker looking to enhance writing skills [duplicate]

I'm a native English speaker. I already have relatively good writing skills but I want to refine my skills. When I say skills I'm referring to grammar, business writing and anything else which is ...
19
votes
5answers
59k views

“Versus” versus “vs.” in writing

In writing, when should one use the abbreviation vs. as opposed to the full versus? This abbreviation seems to have special status from common usage. What is the origin of that, and in what writing ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Turn “in to” or “into” a lonely lane?

I have a sentence I'm writing where I describe making a turn, as I run, into an empty alleyway. Here is how I would like to say it: I turn into a lonely lane... The problem I find is that it ...
1
vote
4answers
281 views

What is a word to describe the state of singularity? [closed]

When we have reached as far back into some history as we can theoretically go, like for instance in describing the precise theoretical moment when time began we have reached a singularity. Is there ...
-3
votes
2answers
943 views

Plural of “lemma”? [closed]

Lemma is the singular form. What is the more correct plural form of lemma: lemmata or lemmas? What word should I choose for scientific article?
151
votes
15answers
23k views

Do most languages need more space than English?

I saw the following statement on User Experience: Supporting multiple languages can break the user interface, because most languages need more space than english This seems to be a gross ...