This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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4
votes
2answers
3k views

“Hypothesize” vs “postulate”

When writing a scientific or engineering paper, how do we choose between hypothesize and postulate?
1
vote
2answers
366 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?
9
votes
2answers
446 views

avoid the slash?

Should the slash be avoided? For example every week/day in my head is translated to every week or day. I think I started using slashes because I saw them used in forums and in articles. Is using ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

“Tone” vs. “shade”

"Tone" and "shade" seem to refer to the darkness or brightness of a thing. So do they mean the same thing? Where is it proper to use each of them? When describing a person's skin, what is the ...
6
votes
1answer
12k views

When do we use “rarely, hardly, seldom”?

I'd like to know when should we use "rarely" and "hardly" and "seldom". Can we use these adverbs in the same situation? Or do we need to follow some criteria for using those different adverbs?
1
vote
3answers
698 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
676 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
231 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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"?
17
votes
5answers
1k views

How to handle a name that includes an exclamation point (or other punctuation)?

Certain brands, such as Yahoo!, insist that the exclamation is part of their name. In writing about such a brand or company, is the inclusion of the vanity punctuation right, wrong, or optional? I ...
1
vote
4answers
764 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
259 views

Usage of “|” in English sentences

I have a book about punctuation marks, but it doesn't report when to use | in a English sentence. I notice that the New Oxford American Dictionary uses that character to separate the examples it ...
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
71 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?
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 ...
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
1answer
93 views

“Original design by”

I have a question. I downloaded a template from Internet. "James" created it (author: James). I edited this template and do fundamental change. Now I want add my name to the info box. What should I ...
10
votes
3answers
476 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 ...
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?' ...
3
votes
2answers
432 views

Is “public listed” an adjective?

The series in the sentence below and its positioning sound awkward. Micro, small and large are all adjectives, but public listed? Has the rule on parallelism been violated? And should anything be ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Usage of commas with “albeit”

Is it correct to place two commas in this sentence? New York City plays a significant, albeit previously neglected, role in the urban narratives of [...].
3
votes
2answers
738 views

Is the word “Americana” capitalized?

...in the sentence "Here's a list of great Americana books." It looks SO weird lowercase: "Here's a list of great americana books."
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: ...
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 ...
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
952 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
356 views

Is there a general thesaurus for conceptual fields?

My question is about ways to find out about, or remind oneself of, related concepts. Say I'm writing an article and I'm stuck finding the right expression. I want to say that the author is confused ...
7
votes
2answers
572 views

How to punctuate lists in general?

(1) How to punctuate lists in general? (2) also, what case to use? In the case study, signal comparison could be used for: • signals from redundant channels of emergency stop button, • output ...
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 ...
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.
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?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “Hi” and “hi” in a letter/mail

In the beginning of a letter (or mail) , which is the correct method to address a person/friend..say for example which would be more perfect "Hi XYZ" or "hi XYZ" ? __Kanu
4
votes
5answers
762 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
517 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.
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 ...
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
667 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
649 views

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

What's a good book (Or resource) on Literary Techniques/Devices in English Literature?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

When should you use “Title Case”?

Are there any guidelines for when you should capitalize titles/headings or not? Should you always do this in English? I am referring to A Capitalized Heading vs A capitalized heading
8
votes
1answer
679 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
4answers
671 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?
1
vote
2answers
641 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Is “Law of Leaky Abstractions” a proper noun?

From Leaky abstraction (Wikipedia), As coined by Spolsky, the Law of Leaky Abstractions states "All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky." I am not sure if Law of Leaky ...
5
votes
1answer
392 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
220 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, ...
8
votes
0answers
420 views

When to use passive and active voice [closed]

When is it better to use passive voice in writing and speech? When is it better to use active voice in writing and speech?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Question mark usage/position when sentence ends with a declarative quotation?

Who said "I am hungry?" The quotation is not a question, but do I put "my" question mark there anyway? This is related to, but not the same as Position of question mark when sentence doesn't ...