This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
238 views

Is there a correct grammatical way to state computer model number in plural form?

For example if I said - "I shipped ten Dell 360s this morning". where Dell 360 is the model number and I don't want people to get confused by the "s", how should I write this? Is it more ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“At step” or “in step”

When I searched I found many usages of both "in step" and "at step". For example, Google returns: "at each step" — about 55,000,000 results "in each step" — about 45,000,000 results But which one ...
0
votes
3answers
486 views

Is “setup” an acceptable noun in formal writing?

I'm editing a draft of a scientific paper which repeatedly uses the word "setup" to refer to the, well, experimental setup. Example: The dimensions of the setup are 250 mm × 250 mm × 50 mm. ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“lie on the basis of” versus “lie at the basis of”

I often read in scientific papers a sentence of the form "X lies on the basis of Y." or "X lies at the basis of Y." to indicate that Y is caused by X in some fundamental way. Are both forms valid and ...
4
votes
3answers
111 views

Can we say “front of spring” or merely “beginning of spring”?

In an answer to a Writers SE question, I used the phrase “a bright morning at the front of spring”. John M. Landsberg commented: Nice revision, but note we wouldn't say "the front" of a season. ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“TV”: is it formal or informal?

I would definitely say that the term TV is informal (while television is formal), however I have found "TV" in some formal compositions.
2
votes
3answers
847 views

Which Is Correct: “Do More Faster” or “Do More, Faster”?

I have been stumbling with this phrase for a few days now. I read a book the other day called "Do More Faster". The title comes from a slogan about startups getting more work done than their ...
18
votes
2answers
10k views

Why is English written and read left to right?

Why is English written and read from left-to-right as opposed to right-to-left, top-to-bottom, or (not even sure any language does this) bottom-to-top?
0
votes
1answer
782 views

How to quote a list from a paper? [closed]

I'm writing a paper and I need to quote the following list: Step1: Compute the center of each triangle and the correspondences between the center and three vertexes of the triangle; Step2: Set up ...
43
votes
9answers
7k views

Why, in old books, are dates often given with the years redacted?

silly question, and I'm not sure this is even necessarily the right forum, but it's the most appropriate on StackExchange, so here we are. Why is it, in older books, that years are sometimes redacted ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Plural of “scheme”?

Scheme is the singular form. What is the plural of scheme?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Do I use “argued” or “argues”? Past or Present? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What (grammatical) tense to use when doing reference in a paper? Should I use present or past tense when referring to a (scientific) paper? “has been raised” or “was ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Use of ! to convey sarcasm vs. emphasis

One, two or even three exclamation marks are often added, especially in e-mail, to convey emphasis to phrases such as Thanks!, or No problem!. My problem is that in British English, you could also ...
10
votes
4answers
687 views

Is there a name for the practice of dropping pronouns in written speech?

I’m specifically thinking about emails I receive all day where someone will write: Haven’t seen it yet. Will respond when received. If it were spoken, we would certainly hear: I haven’t ...
8
votes
7answers
17k views

When and how should I use multiple exclamation marks?

Now, I never do this, but in some few cases I have seen people use multiple exclamation (or question) marks like this: Hey!!! Is that grammatically correct? (Or just okay). In case it is, how ...
0
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
178 views

Is “the changes you intend to make will not do us any good” polite?

I would like a polite (formal) way to say: The changes you intend to make will not do us any good. or should I say "intend on making"?
1
vote
2answers
132 views

Is it suitable to use “trump card” in scientific papers?

Suppose you improved an old method with a novel technique. Is it OK to say that it (your technique) is your trump card in paper? If not, what is your suggestion?
0
votes
2answers
907 views

“Feeding” data or “entering” data: which one is correct?

Which is the better verb to use with data: feeding or entering? Furthermore, which is more common in the literature of the field and which do people who work in the field say more often? Are they ...
-1
votes
5answers
4k views

“that's why” in formal essays

"I'm", "it's" are forbidden in formal essays. Can I use "that's why" in the opening of my Statement of Purpose? Fancy flights used to fill me with euphoria, that's why I named myself Joseph, but ...
14
votes
7answers
71k views

Can “hence” be used at the beginning of a sentence?

Can the word ‘hence’ be used at the beginning of a sentence? For example: Hence, I am not feeling well, I am unable to work.
0
votes
1answer
969 views

How can I say “I know him well” in a formal way [closed]

I need help in formal writing. Can somebody tell me how to say "I know him well after 2 year teaching him" formaly? Thanks in advance.
1
vote
2answers
13k views

Is the abbreviation “etc.” or “and so on” acceptable in formal writing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: On the usage of “etcetera” Is the abbreviation etc. or "and so on" acceptable in scientific writing papers?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the uses of ellipses in essays? [closed]

I’m wondering about how ellipses are used in essays. Are there any examples that I could see?
41
votes
7answers
2k views

Which variant of English should I use when my target audience is the world?

I know that all variants of English (American English, British English, etc.) can be generally understood by everybody who knows any of the English variants. However, there are some regionalisms that ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Why is this considered a “romantic” poem? [closed]

In Willam Blake's poem, what makes it a romantic poem? I wandered through each chartered street, Near where the chartered Thames does flow, A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, ...
6
votes
5answers
641 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
17k views

Capitalization of X in “X-ray”

Should the word be written as X-ray or x-ray?
1
vote
1answer
698 views

Using the correct tense in writing

Should I use past tense to describe something of a permanent nature/situation? "The Taipei 101 stands at ... (height) is the most famous financial centre in Taiwan and it has 101 floor of ...
-1
votes
1answer
261 views

Correct headline in scientific pro/contra table

Which words are appropriate for the headline in a table with pros and cons in a scientific paper (physics)? PROS CONS ice cheap cold fish expensive warm
4
votes
8answers
4k views

Are contractions like “didn't” forbidden in written English? [duplicate]

Possible duplicate of: Using contracted forms (“don't”, “let's”) in a formal text Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks Should ...
6
votes
2answers
389 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
425 views

Mixed tenses in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: ‘Had’ or ‘has’ to describe a past condition which is still present? Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true The employee was injured while ...
0
votes
0answers
133 views

Where do I place the closing character when I end a sentence with parenthesis? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the period go when using parentheses? Which of the following should I use? Are there any exceptions to the rule? I enjoy breakfast (sometimes). I ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Mixing adjectives and nouns in scientific writing

I've noticed that biological scientists tend to use nouns as adjectives when detailing experiments both in writing and in speech. Examples: The experiment was performed "in monkey cortex" instead ...
4
votes
2answers
913 views

Capitalization of “Dictator”

I'm wondering whether the word dictator should be capitalized. Is it just an adjective and not an (official) title?
2
votes
3answers
2k 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?
1
vote
2answers
9k views

“Experienced in” or “experienced of”

What is the correct use of experienced, with in or of? For example, I have experienced in system development. I have experienced of system development.
99
votes
7answers
41k views

What the #$@&%*! is that called?

Is there a name for the use of symbols in place of curse words, for example #$@&%*!?
-1
votes
1answer
198 views

What's a punchline? [closed]

What's a punchline in a paragraph? Is it the same as topic sentence, or is it a conclusion sentence? Can you provide a concrete example of punchline?
1
vote
1answer
3k views

In the sentence “You, too.”, is the comma acceptable?

I tend to think it is, as "too" serves the role of a referential phrase, repeating the verb-phrase of a preceding sentence, and "you" acts simply as a subject pronoun. But, I've heard an argument to ...
6
votes
4answers
724 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

What (grammatical) tense to use when doing reference in a paper?

For example, A published a paper with title B in 2000. Then, in my paper: A says / said that [C works / worked out perfectly]. and B illustrates / illustrated that [C works / worked out ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Reword “increasingly too late”

How should I fix a sentence which says "As X disappears, it is increasingly too late to do Y with X"? The sentence seems awkward to me, but "too late" is an adjective, so is the sentence ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Periods after directional abreviation in address

I am creating a business card, and I need to put the address of the company on it. What is the proper way to write this address? 555 14th St NW, Atlanta, GA 55555 555 14th St NW., Atlanta, ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

“Concatenate” vs. “merge” vs. “join” in scientific text

I wonder what the difference is between concatenate, merge and join from the lexical point of view. These words are often used in scientific or programming text. It seems to me that different authors ...
11
votes
6answers
10k 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! ...