This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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1answer
1k views

Is there a word that describes the sound you make when you chuckle/breathe/cough in agreement with something?

I am writing a novel and am constantly trying to figure out how to describe the action when someone gives a sort of small cough or a quick "huh" in agreement. I suppose it would be the non-word ...
0
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1answer
97 views

Breeding herd of cattle in the pasture [closed]

It is correct to use: breeding herd of cattle in the pasture.
23
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5answers
23k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
0
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2answers
72 views

Usage of the term 'non-reproducibility'

Studies on genetic factors of schizophrenia are characterized by high heterogeneity and non-reproducibility. Is the usage of term 'non-reproducibility' appropriate in the above sentence? Is ...
0
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3answers
8k views

What words have “‑ei‑” (except in “‑cei‑”) pronounced [i:]?

The rule is that written ei is pronounced [i:] only after the letter c — or that what is pronounced [i:] is written ei after the letter c only. Here are exceptions I’ve found so far: foreign ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

Using “and” twice in a list

About using and, I've learned it is usually used in lists, between the last two items. For example: I like movies, traveling and going out with friends. Please tell me if the use of and ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

Can I write “the model due to X et al”?

Until ten minutes ago I thought sentences like "The model due to X et al. (2016) explains Y and Z" were common in academic writing. Our post-doc raised doubt about the phrase's correctness, and ...
1
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1answer
141 views

usage of terms “as well as ” and “as well” [closed]

Can anyone describe the usage of the terms "as well as" and "as well" in sentences? Are they interchangeable?
2
votes
1answer
67 views

What rhetoric is applied in this sentence?

There is no point in pretending that XXX is what it is not, nor that it is not what it is. I feel that English language has many of these kind of usage that exploits the fact that the logically ...
0
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2answers
141 views

What is the best literary technique to introduce a new word, conceived by yourself, in your story? [closed]

I am an aspiring novelist, and there's this "science fiction & fantasy" story I am working on, wherein I have coined some new words here and there. I am sending this question to the proficient ...
-1
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1answer
55 views

Is there a 35th edition of “On Writing Well”?

My English teacher recommended Zinsser's "On Writing Well" as a supplement to my reading of E.B. White's "The Elements of Style". While I know that Zinsser's 30th edition exists, I have come across an ...
1
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1answer
104 views

I want to use a definition from dictionary.com but I can't find it anywhere else.

My essay is about the Greek Tragedy "Oedipus the king". I want to use the term cosmic irony in a paraphrase but I am unsure whether or not it would weaken my argument. Since I can not find support for ...
0
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1answer
128 views

Which one is acceptable in an academic paper? Fig 4. show or Fig 4. shows? [closed]

Is it right to say: Fig. 4, Show the wireless transmission of data. Shouldn't it be: Fig. 4, Shows the wireless transmission of data. By the way, another question would be, is it right to ...
3
votes
3answers
11k views

Must OK only be written in capital letters? [duplicate]

Whenever I write ok the spell checkers underline it with a red line and suggest that I should OK. Not even Ok works. Why is this so?
7
votes
3answers
63k views

How should I write a whip sound?

Is it crack? Snap? Wh-tch? Whop-eesh? Alternatively, if I don't use the actual noise. Do I write: The whip rang out? Cracked?
7
votes
1answer
594 views

17th Century affectionate term for Mother

I'm writing a ghost story, and (in an admittedly well worn trope) a child ghost is looking for its mother; but how would a 17th century child affectionately refer to its mother? In short, what would ...
1
vote
1answer
244 views

When to use double negatives in written English?

I have always been a little confused as to when to use double negatives when writing (I am unsure if this is what they are termed in English, it is the term used in Mathematics). E.g. when to use: ...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

Formal American English form of 'generalization of the generalized'

I have a question regarding formal American English writing. I constructed a method which is a generalization of the generalized finite element method (GFEM). The fact that it's a generalization is an ...
5
votes
3answers
672 views

Formal alternative for “dos and don'ts”

I want to write "dos and don'ts", or an equivalent expression, in a university essay. I am assuming that it is not very academic to write "dos and don'ts", so does anyone have a better way of putting ...
-1
votes
2answers
253 views

Writing the introduction, I want to know if using phrases like “in my opinion” are stylish or not [closed]

I want to know if using phrases like "personally speaking" or phrases like that contributes to good style. Do good writers use such expressions? Am I better off simply stating my thesis without using ...
3
votes
3answers
22k views

Are both “in regards to” and “regarding to” correct?

Do in regards to and regarding to imply different meanings or is it okay to use them interchangeably? Example: This mail is in regards to your inquiry. This mail is regarding to your inquiry.
1
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4answers
2k views

Should I place a question mark after “Can you (just) imagine”?

I mean should I always split the sentence into two ("And can you imagine? He escaped through the window!") or I can just get away with one long sentence without a question mark at all (something like ...
1
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3answers
618 views

When is writing eloquently considered “wordy”? [closed]

When I write, I prefer to do so as eloquently as possible: why should writing be only functional? Although, my English teacher considers this poor style--her belief reflected in some of my essay ...
16
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4answers
3k views

What did Old English writing (letters and formatting) typically look like?

I am wondering if there is a specific kind of writing that people would typically associate with Old English language. Are there well-known manuscripts that typically represent the kind of writing ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Capitalization of “the Company”

I am writing a business plan. It is lengthy, so instead of always mentioning the company by its full name, I will write, "the company provides...". Another writer wants me to capitalize "The ...
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votes
1answer
86 views

Usage of “Trainers having experienced working with XYZ organisation”

I am preparing a creative brochure for a workshop, where I need to mention our trainer's experience as "Our trainers have experience working with XYZ(elite organisation)". Could any one help me to get ...
49
votes
14answers
3k views

If an insertion in parentheses ends with a smiley, how do I distinguish between the two?

I know smileys are not part of written language (yet), and any questions about them are irrelevant to linguistics and are kind of not serious. So take my question with a smiley then. It bugs me ...
0
votes
1answer
196 views

When refering to a claim written in a book, how do you refer to it if there are two authors?

When analyzing a piece of writing, I was taught to refer to claims made by using the author's last name. For example if Donald Duck wrote the book "How to Build Boats" and I was analyzing it, I would ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Should “and” be on the following line? [closed]

If a sentence contains the word "and" at a place where it needs to continue on the next line, should the "and" be put at the end of that line or at the beginning of the next line? Capturing a ...
0
votes
3answers
106 views

Word or phrase for that part of writing that ensures clarity of speaker and place

I was reading a book the other day and, at several points in the story, became very confused as to which character was talking. It would also happen that the characters would suddenly be at new ...
6
votes
5answers
32k views

How to add contextualizing text to a quotation?

How do you add text which provides context to a quote? For example, consider if I were to quote someone as having said: This is unacceptable! Were that the whole quote, can I add any text to ...
0
votes
2answers
224 views

Style Guide: Bold, Italic, or Quotes When I Want to Emphasize Something

Let’s say I have many lists of this kind on a page: Click on the Foo button. Tick the Bar box. Click on the Save button. How should I emphasize Foo, Bar, and Save? Bold? Click on the Foo ...
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4answers
4k views

“Talking to someone is nice.” or “It is nice to talk to someone.” but “It was nice, talking to you.” Why?

General statement: a. Talking to someone is nice. (verb as subject in front position = gerund) or b. It is nice to talk to someone. (verb as subject after dummy subject 'it' = full infinitive) ...
0
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1answer
275 views

Academic writing: “one's”

Is it allowed to use the word "one's" in academic writing? For example: It can help improve one's vocabulary.
2
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2answers
795 views

Differences between “very” and “very much” as adjective modifiers

The following examples are clearly wrong: × I am very much tired × She is very much clever But the following sounds fine (at least according to OALD): I am very much afraid that ... I am ...
0
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1answer
79 views

How to represent a link in an APA style? [closed]

I was reading more on the APA style but somehow I got stuck that how can I represent a link in an APA style. Below are the links I have - ...
1
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3answers
617 views

“indulger of” vs. “indulger in”

A person can indulge in something. Is he therefore an indulger of something or an indulger in something? Are both okay? If both are okay, is there any difference between these two phrases or are ...
4
votes
2answers
22k views

Is “could've” or “should've” standard English?

As the title says — is "could've" or "should've" standard English or is it slang and should correctly be spelled "could have" and "should have"?
0
votes
1answer
110 views

Can “make something out of …” mean what I want to mean here?

Life for this sparrow is very hard, but even so, she had a pleasant character. Then an eagle fell in love with her. He explained to her: I did not adore you because you could make an adorable ...
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votes
1answer
51 views

Are these two sentence make the speaker self-defeating? [closed]

As he sets out, China is on the brink of revolution. But I do not think so. (self-made) It seems to me to be wrong. Because the first sentence implies that the “I” have accepted “his” idea as true, ...
0
votes
1answer
767 views

Is there a name for this literary device?

Is there a term that describes the act of giving tangible qualities to an intangible noun? I stumbled over a metaphor or I felt sadness condense on my skin The first one might just be ...
-1
votes
1answer
252 views

Omitting the subject in writing [duplicate]

I wonder whether it is formal to omit the subject in writing. Must all sentences always have a subject when I'm writing an English test? Ìs it colloquial and reserved to speech?
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Are contractions of “I am” or “I would” rude? [closed]

I got edited on Stack Overflow because I used "I'm", "you're" and "I'd" instead of "I am" etc. Is it considered rude to use contractions like that in informal conversations on the internet? I would ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Should you always use the accent in foreign words like “résumé”?

You can see in the aboutCV page of Stackoverflow Careers site that the word resumes is mentioned — not résumés or résumés. What should be the common practice here? What about other words like ...
2
votes
5answers
37k views

Official e-mail

How should I begin an official e-mail if I don't know who I am writing to? I mean, normally I would write "Dear x", but when I have to send an e-mail to an institution, what should I write?
10
votes
2answers
9k views

To hyphenate or not?

As a non-native speaker of English and an engineer by training, I always get confused about hyphenation and almost always end up referring to Google every time I need to make that decision. Does ...
42
votes
6answers
34k views

Use of “I”, “we” and the passive voice in a scientific thesis [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Style Question: Use of “we” vs. “I” vs. passive voice in a dissertation When the first person voice is used in scientific writing it is mostly ...
0
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1answer
338 views

Clarify the difference between “program” and “programme” [duplicate]

What is the difference between The Noun: Program and Programme ?? What should i use?
0
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1answer
74 views

Does this “coming up with” make sense?

What I try to do here is to borrow from Confucius the doctrine of “benevolence”, and then modify it in light of the significant and exigent issues we face nowadays, finally coming up with a ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

Annotation symbols

Let's say you were going to put 3 annotations all on one page. What are the 3 different symbols you would use if you weren't going to use numbers?