This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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9
votes
2answers
2k 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
686 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
45 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
16 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
91k 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
208 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
377 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
2k 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?
164
votes
15answers
27k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
2k 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
votes
1answer
115 views

Breeding herd of cattle in the pasture [closed]

It is correct to use: breeding herd of cattle in the pasture.
0
votes
2answers
120 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 there ...
0
votes
3answers
9k 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
8k 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
177 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
vote
1answer
211 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
94 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
votes
2answers
177 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
votes
1answer
82 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
vote
1answer
147 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
votes
1answer
684 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
17k 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?
8
votes
3answers
80k 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?
8
votes
1answer
784 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
372 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
146 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
2k 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
352 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
34k 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
vote
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 "...
16
votes
4answers
4k 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
6k 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 Company"...
-1
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
53
votes
14answers
4k 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
410 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
111 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
145 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
47k 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
321 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
5k 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
517 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
1k 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
137 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 - http://www.mcdpressoffice.eu/downloads/...
1
vote
3answers
697 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
27k 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
126 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
59 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
2k 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
370 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?
22
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 ...