This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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47
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
146 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
66 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
85 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
27k 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
1answer
916 views

Difference between an 'Abstract' and an 'Introduction' in a feature article? [closed]

I have to write a feature article for school. However, I'm confused how an abstract [a summary of my points] is different to an intro [Where you outline the points you're going to be elaborating in ...
0
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
3k 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
votes
1answer
217 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
votes
2answers
607 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
votes
1answer
69 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 - ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there a proper name for the 3 asterisks that are used to suggest temporal discontinuity?

For example, when some long prose passage ends, this appears: * * * Then some new prose passage begins. The three asterisks dividing the two prose sections are understood to divide the two ...
1
vote
3answers
597 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
20k 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"?
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Usage of “and” and comma when writing numbers UK style

I am trying to understand the rules for writing numbers in words under the UK rules (with "and"). I understand how to write small numbers (up to a few thousands), but I am not sure when to use "and" ...
0
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
46 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
560 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
201 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
30k 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?
2
votes
1answer
208 views

Does English have a way to express a simple moral statement?

Ancient Chinese have a philosophy which holds that some names have substantial content, i.e., moral requirement for humans. For example, the word human carries with it the meaning of compassion; if ...
9
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
193 views

Which is most correct of these 3 phrases?

At the top part of the front page of my trading journal website, I have a phrase that I don't know whether is correct or not. Here's what it says: Online trading journal software including trade ...
35
votes
6answers
30k 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
votes
1answer
286 views

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

What is the difference between The Noun: Program and Programme ?? What should i use?
0
votes
1answer
70 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
4k 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?
1
vote
2answers
342 views

Jack's vs Jacks for “Jack his phone”

I am non-native in English so forgive me if this question is too low level. If you are talking about something that belongs to a person you can say "Jacks phone" to mean "the phone of Jack", at ...
5
votes
2answers
359 views

Does this parallel structure need coordinated prepositions to avoid being a faulty parallelism?

...on Finnis's view all distinct instances of basic goods are incommensurable — none is of more, less, or equal value with any other. — Source I expect to see more or less than any other, ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

How to properly number paragraph according to APA style [closed]

If an article cites (Mara, 2010, “Mission,” para. 1) using APA style, does para.1 refer to first paragraph within the "Mission" section? or the whole page?
0
votes
1answer
301 views

“Or”, or “to put it otherwise”, which one is better in this paragraph?

As Benvensite wrote, the linguistic structure of Greek created the predisposition for the notion “to be” to have a philosophical vocation. To put it otherwise, as I said, to assert solemnly, as ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

“That my results are not reproducible” or “that my results are unreproducible”?

What is better to write? that my results are not reproducible that my results are unreproducible How can it be re-written as positive affirmation (preserving the same meaning)? Edit: Do ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

Can I separate the parts of a sentence so far away? [closed]

According to Professor Kong, Bo Xilai’s (the governor of Chongqing, whose wife are convicted of killing the British businessman H. Wood) “Chongqing model”, which was known for its tough measures ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Should 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' be capitalised?

I always wonder whether 'today' and 'tomorrow' should be capitalised. Can anybody help me?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”?

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
1
vote
2answers
752 views

Quirks and limitations of Past Perfect

I know that English has two past tenses, when the second past (Pluperfect) is farther back in time then the other (Simple Past). Reading stories in English, I've discovered that many stories are ...
0
votes
6answers
14k views

“By the way” in formal writing

Can I say "By the way" in an official document or professional meeting and other important/formal times? I never saw any film which would include these words.
16
votes
5answers
21k views

How do I emphasize a word using the standard punctuation system?

I've seen people on the Internet stressing a certain word using "*": I do not *like* it, I *love* it! I think there is no such punctuation as "*". So I'm wondering if I can use some other way to ...
7
votes
8answers
465 views

“flavorx” v.s. “flavors”

I wrote something about the food. And I use flavors for plural flavor, however my foreign English teacher corrected it as flavorx. And he considers that I also should read 'flavors'. I googled the ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of verb “sounds” in written text, when not referring to an actual sound or sounds

I find myself using sentences like "that sounds great" and "it sounds like a good idea" etc. in written English. What are the formal guidelines here? Do native speakers use the verb "sounds" this way ...
0
votes
2answers
109 views

Does “maintaining” lead to “fostering?” [closed]

I'm writing a code of conduct for a small government department. It is going to be chock full of punchy, actionable phrases (no real complete sentences) that seek to convey an air of positivity. ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

What's the correct way to format a date range, time range, and days of week in a single line? [closed]

I'd like to write the date and time for an event that runs for one week. Currently I have: ​ June 3-7, 2013, 8:30am-5:30pm; Monday-Friday Is this stylistically acceptable? Is there a better way? ...
0
votes
4answers
3k views
23
votes
5answers
38k views

What is the best format to use when writing out dates?

What format of date is appropriate for different contexts (business, personal) in written English, nowadays? 1st of April, 2010 April the 1st, 2010 April 1, 2010 April 01, 2010 another one
-1
votes
1answer
11k views

Synonyms for “ease of use”? Preferably shorter [closed]

I'm currently copywriting a description for a facebook page. Unfortunately it imposes a limit on me of about 200 characters. To get to the point, I'd need a synonym for "ease of use" that's a bit ...
14
votes
7answers
38k views

What do all capital letters typically refer to in writing?

In many error messages and conversations, I come across words in all capital letters, as demonstrated in the examples below. ERROR: Please type your e-mail address. or ME: I can't make it ...
0
votes
1answer
249 views

How do I express the plural of a letter in writing?

My last name has two occurrences of the letter "s" in it, so in speech I tell people all the time that it's spelled "with two esses". However I don't know how to express such a thing in writing. I can ...
3
votes
1answer
346 views

How to write in English for international readers? [closed]

How to write in English for international readers? I'm not a native English speaker but I've been learning the language for many years in many fields (Mathematics, Physics, Mechanical Engineering and ...