This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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12
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! ...
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
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 ...
15
votes
7answers
75k 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
412 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
751 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
900 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
1k 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
541 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
57k 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
790 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
21k 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
826 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
988 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
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.
3
votes
5answers
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
28k 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
1k 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
3k 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
288 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
762 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
246 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
536 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
881 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
3k 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
1k 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
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
9
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the correct name for posts made on twitter?

Well, I honestly tried to search for this but I drowned in twit* and tweet* results. Should I write: "my tweet" or "my twit"? "I am tweetting" or "I am twitting" ("to twit" vs. "to tweet")? ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Coordinating conjunction immediately followed by parenthetical — Is a comma needed or not?

William Strunk's Rules of Usage states: If a dependent clause, or an introductory phrase requiring to be set off by a comma, precedes the second independent clause, no comma is needed after the ...
3
votes
2answers
937 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."
3
votes
4answers
1k views

“That my results are not reproducible” or “that my results are unreproducible”?

What is better to write? that my results are not reproducible that my results are unreproducible How can it be re-written as positive affirmation (preserving the same meaning)? Edit: Do ...
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
151 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “solidus” and “slash”?

I was reading a text, and I found the word solidus. What is a solidus? Is the word normally used in everyday language, or is there another word that replaces solidus even if it's not the completely ...
12
votes
4answers
266 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How to punctuate sentences like “I'm just calling a spade, a spade.”

I was browsing Area 51 and I saw this comment: I'm just calling a spade, a spade. I'm never quite sure how to punctuate sentences like these where a phrase is repeated back to back, without any ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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 [...].
7
votes
2answers
615 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
988 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
4answers
8k views

Should 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' be capitalised?

I always wonder whether 'today' and 'tomorrow' should be capitalised. Can anybody help me?
1
vote
3answers
601 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
16k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Help with sentence: don't come in

Which of the following is correct: 1) Don't come in, I'm busy. 2) Don't come in; I'm busy. 3) Don't come in. I'm busy. 4) Don't come in I'm busy. And why?