This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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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
8k 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
230 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
17k 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
3k 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
293 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
18k 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
959 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
7k 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
767 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
4k 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
233 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 ...
32
votes
6answers
23k 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
396 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
7k 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 ...
4
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
52k 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.
2
votes
1answer
360 views

How do I refer to a number in an image in a scientific paper?

I'm note sure if this is the correct place to ask this, but if I have a schematic illustration that contains numbers to enumerate interesting details. How do I refer those numbers in a text that ...
6
votes
4answers
687 views

What is wrong with this sentence, and how should I fix it?

I am proof-reading a short CV that details an employee's volunteer achievements. It will form part of an application for a committee position. The following sentence makes my brain itch, but I am ...
4
votes
5answers
763 views

Can you use “(sic)” in other contexts?

In Polish you can use sic to indicate not only erroneous spelling (uncorrected for editorial reasons), but also to note that the sentence should be as it is when it comes to its meaning (e.g. "The ...
2
votes
3answers
999 views

Usage of abbreviations in semi formal written conversation

Some people always tell me to avoid using abbreviations that often used in forum talk, AKA "Internet Slang", in semi formal written conversation. Of course, I would never use the phrase TTYT, TTYL, ...
8
votes
4answers
518 views

Is lolspeak bad English, or just a different English?

Is lolspeak / internet speak (such as "plz send teh codez") bad English, or a different English? I can't really describe what'd be "bad", but a lack of consistency would be an indicator it's bad.
7
votes
3answers
40k 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?
0
votes
4answers
3k views

What are differences between an “opposite” and “antonym” to a word?

What are the differences between an "opposite" and "antonym"?
3
votes
3answers
669 views

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized?

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized? "a wireless g network"? "a wireless-g network"? "a wireless-G network"? "a wireless G network"? none of the above? Does a formal ...
16
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
651 views

A Good Resource (Book, …) For Literary Techniques/Devices? [closed]

What's a good book (Or resource) on Literary Techniques/Devices in English Literature?
8
votes
1answer
683 views

What name for bowdlerisation with asterisks (e.g., “f*ck”)?

I have always been intrigued by the English use of asterisks to replace vowels in words considered as offensive, and the reasons it seems somewhat language-specific. My (very related) questions on ...
2
votes
1answer
824 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.
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it “a SSD” or “an SSD”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: an SQA or a SQA? Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Since SSD (solid-state drive) is pronounced es-es-dee, I'm wondering whether one ...
6
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
672 views

What's the recommended way to refer to the September 11 attacks in formal writing?

September 11 attacks, September eleven attacks, September eleventh, Nine-eleven? None of the above? What's recommended for formal writing?
16
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
250 views

Jig or template to hold a workpiece

Technical English for a foreigner - please correct and rephrase if you can come up with better alternatives. A machine in manufacturing usually is fed material or a workpiece to be processed. ...
1
vote
2answers
642 views

Writing about contributions

If we were asked to write about the contributions a person made to the study of computer science for example, is that different from if we were asked to write about the contributions a person made to ...
2
votes
3answers
221 views

What are alternatives to the verb “study” (in the meaning of “research”)?

When writing scientific discussions (articles, book chapters, reports, ...), I frequently feel short on synonyms of the verb study, which I use extensively in sentences such as “in the next section, ...
5
votes
1answer
393 views

Capitalization of “Assembly Language”

This Wikipedia article does not capitalize "assembly language," for understandable reasons. It uses it as an indefinite article, i.e. "an assembly language." But how should it be written when using ...
2
votes
3answers
732 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “Mecca” capitalized when used figuratively?

Waleed made his pilgrimage to Mecca. This is a given. But I would write: Bombay is India’s entertainment mecca Is this correct, or is Mecca capitalized in its figurative use, as well?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to punctuate an answer to a question when the answer is also a question?

The title to this question is sort of long-winded but the example here should clarify it. Which of these is correct? Who should be baby-sitting your children, your neighborhood teenagers or ...
3
votes
5answers
922 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“Easy to explain, here is an example for you:”

Here I present you two scenarios of mine: This can be explained very easily, with this example: example here and This can be explained very easily: example here On the first ...