This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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2
votes
1answer
356 views

Can't read a word from a 187-year-old document [closed]

I have a land deed from the year 1824 for some land in the province of Upper Canada (back when that was a province). Some photos of the deed can be seen in this imgur album. I am attempting to read ...
6
votes
5answers
458 views

How do I write consecutive numbers?

Today I wrote the sentence: The supplied definition defines 24 16-bit words per subframe, and ... I know the recipient will understand the terminology. I'm concerned about writing the phrase ...
2
votes
2answers
479 views

How to use “critical” without it being mistaken for “crucial”

I would like to describe a process (not a person) as being critical. For example, for a process that undergoes criticism, correction and scrutinization such as auditing and inspection. I found the ...
0
votes
2answers
654 views

Repeating “to” in a list of verbs connected by “and”

"This group’s main duties are to carry out information systems audits in Colombian banks and to make research and develop new regulations on information technologies and systems in the banking ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

“Hypothesize” vs “postulate”

When writing a scientific or engineering paper, how do we choose between hypothesize and postulate?
16
votes
4answers
19k 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
2answers
338 views

Can I write different spellings of the same word in the same context? [closed]

Can I use "color" in one paragraph, but write "colour" in the next one? Yes, I just did it. But is it acceptable to do so when not talking about spelling differences?
0
votes
3answers
1k views

To put more “weight/power” into a conclusion

I am trying to find an expression which would meet my needs. In the report that I am currently writing I would like to explain that I have done a certain action in order to "put more weight/power" ...
1
vote
3answers
236 views

How to say “possibility at maximum rate” correctly

How do we say The possibility of dying in a car crash here, is always at the maximum rate correctly? Is the above sentence correct? I don't want it to sound very formal.
7
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
281 views

Is “at a time” correct?

I would like to find a way to express the meaning of "at some time". For example: I think everyone has his study or working rhythm at a time. This rhythm varies for different person, and may be ...
1
vote
3answers
588 views

Applying/earning/validating leave

When someone attends an event, he will be awarded some additional leave subject to his boss's approval. Therefore, he will need to submit a leave application to his boss for approval. Should I call ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What is it called when words are deliberately written wrong but pronunciation is kept unchanged?

For example, Night -> Nite Nite even appears in some dictionaries as having the same meaning as night. What is it called when words are deliberately written incorrectly but the pronunciation ...
1
vote
1answer
594 views

Is it better to write without contractions? E.g. “cannot” instead of “can't” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks Should contractions ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the singular “they” acceptable in formal writing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? I am linking to this post for reference. ...
0
votes
3answers
225 views

Should laconism be favored over clarity? [closed]

One might argue that to be as understandable as possible, one should use common words and phrases. On the other hand, unnecessary verbosity is often frowned upon. Stop acting so childish and ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
761 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Can I use “verbally” in a written context?

Can I use "verbally" to refer to textual communication? For example, can I say "Verbally encourage this behavior" meaning "Encourage this behavior in writing"?
1
vote
1answer
153 views

how can I phrase the future possible applications of a technology?

I'm writing an overview for a paper, and want to let the reader know part of the outline: ...in the last paragraph I want to mention the possible future applications one can reach/accomplish with ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Name and origin of writing with period after each word

It may be limited to the web ecosystem, but I've read a lot of those sentences lately, where each word is followed by a period. Examples: Oh. My. God. Best. Job. Ever. No. F***ing. Way. ...
13
votes
2answers
3k 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
4answers
699 views

How can I explain why the following sentence is poorly written?

I came across the following sentence in some instructions and it almost seems like a double negative to me, yet there are not two negations in it that I see, so I am wondering how to explain what ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of “just”, “only” and word-order [intended meaning]

I've got these sentences, which meanings are correct (my interpretations are in brackets): Use of only: (1) Only in 1996, Ford sold a rebadged Mazda 626 GV over here as its rebranded Japanese ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

Have or Hold Open House

Could you guys tell me which one is correct? We are having an open house. We are holding an open house?
6
votes
2answers
267 views

Why is a story not called a “-logue”, though it has a prologue and an epilogue?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines -logue as: indicating speech or discourse of a particular kind. I understand that -logue is a combining form noun, but it has always struck me as odd that ...
6
votes
4answers
603 views

Comma splices and fragments in novels

I have noticed that many authors incorporate the use of fragments and comma splices in their novels. Given that this is acceptable practice in a novel, is it acceptable to use a comma splice or a ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a slip of the tongue in writing?

Is there any phrase or word that can be used to describe a slip of the tongue that happens in writing? Calling it a slip of tongue directly feels awkward, especially when the written text is never ...
10
votes
3answers
461 views

Do listeners understand different adjective orders?

I found Adjective order, but I keep wondering if listeners actually understand what I mean when I don't follow that order. For example, if I say, "a lovely long white coat," I may change it to "a long ...
3
votes
4answers
591 views

Is it normal in English to talk about oneself in the third person in these cases?

A Japanese person said that it is often normal to talk about oneself in the third person in English. This is what he wrote: For example, when you write a CV or an introduction of yourself, the ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Origin of the word “duh”

What is the origin of the word "duh" as in the interjection: — It's hot in the desert. — Well, duh! If it is of onomatopoeic origin and only appears in modern English as some sites suggest, I ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it OK to add a question mark to show inflection?

When asking a question you generally have to raise your voice at the end of the sentence, is it okay to stuff a question mark in order to show inflection? A couple examples: 'That really happened?' ...
0
votes
6answers
7k 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.
3
votes
2answers
220 views

Is the “How to … ?” question phrase acceptable?

Is the following sentence acceptable in semi-formal or formal written speech? How to adopt a lifestyle that consumes less? Or ought it be rephrased? For example, to the following? How do I ...
0
votes
2answers
12k views

How should a date be written? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Date formatting in written English Which of these is the correct way to write a date? 1- Wednesday 5th of June, 2010 2- Wednesday 5th June, 2010 3- Wednesday the 5th of ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Should there be a period after an equation?

This isn't a pure English question, but it is about writing style: Sometimes entities that aren't words end up being in sentences. I know that when mathematical expressions are inline as follows: ...
2
votes
4answers
288 views

Face up or head up?

My 7 years old daughter is doing her English homework. She wrote the following sentence: "My parents are face up looking at the cool sky" I reckon it does not sound right. I would have said "My ...
17
votes
4answers
14k views

“you” versus “You” as polite form of writing

Is it correct to write "You" with a capital Y as a form of politeness? If yes, should I use that form throughout the entire letter/document, or only at specific places?
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Casual writing to express that someone is thinking of something?

In casual writing we often use the colon to express that people are talking. Example: Tom: hi Mary: hi I'm wondering what about if it is Tom thought of something instead of Tom talking? Like ...
13
votes
2answers
770 views

The usage of “sic” in writing

I have seen many articles that use quotes from players like: We gonna [sic] be working hard over the summer cause we gotta [sic] get better. What is sic? Where does it come from?
2
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
730 views

Is it incorrect to use a sentence fragment to answer a question?

In an English essay, I wrote: What am I looking at? People enjoying themselves? I lost points for using a sentence fragment. Is it truly incorrect to use a sentence fragment this way?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Should “vice versa” be treated as an independent clause?

I know "vice versa" more or less means "conversely," but when it is used by itself, should it be punctuated as if it were an independent clause? Dogs don't like cats, and vice versa. or Dogs ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

How to use “supposed to”, in particular while writing official letter to ask for leave

How do we use supposed to? In particular, should I use this while writing an official letter to ask for leave?
1
vote
10answers
226 views

“High Accident Intersection”

I was challenged recently to solve this problem. An accident takes place on an intersection on a high road. However, if I was to write about this as taken place in a "high accident intersection" it ...
31
votes
6answers
20k 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
3answers
2k views

Is there any rule for differentiating between the endings “th” and “ht”?

Some words end in th (length, width), and others end in ht (height, fight, tonight, caught). I sometimes have difficulties in spelling such words because I don't know which ending to choose. Is ...
7
votes
2answers
375 views

Is it acceptable to use “just as well” in an academic paper

The title pretty much sums it up: is it permissible to use the words "just as well" in a formal academic paper? For instance: The exchange might just as well have taken place in Abu Dhabi.
11
votes
6answers
6k views

Why are numbers sometimes spelled out and then numerals specified as well? [closed]

I'm referring to the peculiar habit I sometimes see in formal documents, where a number is given numerically after it's spelled out. It seems quite redundant: I need five (5) kumquats, stat! ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is the phrase, “Use commas sparingly” a valid piece of advice?

I am currently in the process of collaboratively editing a research paper, and participated in a meeting about it today. During the discussion, the head of the group made a blanket statement about ...