This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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
741 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."
2
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
132 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
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
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
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
889 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
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 [...].
7
votes
2answers
573 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
719 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
6k views

Should 'Today' and 'Tomorrow' be capitalised?

I always wonder whether 'today' and 'tomorrow' should be capitalised. Can anybody help me?
1
vote
3answers
575 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
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
12k 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
69 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?
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
437 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
612 views

Enjoys his fair share to work hard and smart to meet commitments

Received a resume lately. One of the sentence, in summary section, doesn't look right to me. It may be not a very obvious mistake, or may not be a mistake at all. But I can't say anything for sure, as ...
6
votes
4answers
13k views

Capitalization of X in “X-ray”

Should the word be written as X-ray or x-ray?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Capitalization for a bullet list

The following is from some software documentation we are writing: NOTE: Refreshing a report may be necessary or helpful when: you believe the data in the report has changed since it was ...
11
votes
3answers
11k views

Footnote marks at end of a sentence

I find it common in my writing to end up a sentence with a footnote reference mark. Should the footnote mark come before the stop or after it? ... this is some text1. ... this is some text.1
41
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

Asking for feedback on a meeting summary

I've got to write a meeting summary, and amongst the recipient will be my boss. To ensure that I was accurate, I would like to ask for feedback from my recipient. I've got the following sentence: ...
5
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Can “his/her” be replaced by “his”?

Yesterday, I asked this question on Web Apps: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to the account? Actually, I wanted to ask it this way: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Plural of “scheme”?

Scheme is the singular form. What is the plural of scheme?
4
votes
4answers
476 views

Mark: outstanding (as in: not yet known)

I’m updating my tabular CV for an application and I’d like to include my master thesis even though it’s not yet finished (soon!) and marked. So I’d like to write that the mark is still outstanding but ...
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 ...
7
votes
8answers
433 views

“flavorx” v.s. “flavors”

I wrote something about the food. And I use flavors for plural flavor, however my foreign English teacher corrected it as flavorx. And he considers that I also should read 'flavors'. I googled the ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
51k views

Is an indentation needed for a new paragraph?

Is an indentation (Tab button in Word) needed for a new paragraph when you start one? I was told to do that a long time ago but 3 years after I stopped doing it and have done it since. Are you meant ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

J.A. Gagarin's flight vs J.A. Gagarin flight

1) Is it Ok to leave the initials or would you drop them? Writing his name in full seems odd since it isn't Gagarin who is the point of discussion. 2) Is it Gagarin's or Gagarin? Is there any ...
14
votes
7answers
24k views

What do all capital letters typically refer to in writing?

In many error messages and conversations, I come across words in all capital letters, as demonstrated in the examples below. ERROR: Please type your e-mail address. or ME: I can't make it ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”?

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “open up a vein” mean?

I found the phrase 'open up a vein of fury' in the article of today's Washington Post as shown below. The New Year's Day suicide bombing of a church that killed 21 people has opened up a vein of ...
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
17
votes
2answers
7k 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?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

'Heavy Traffic' or 'Lot of Traffic'?

Is it appropriate to say 'Heavy Traffic'? I am referring to traffic as in roads and vehicles in this context. Is using 'lot of traffic' more appropriate?
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
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 ...
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
0answers
610 views

Do I need to place a comma before an address? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter? I am not sure if the way I have formulated the title of my question is correct, so if you know better, ...
8
votes
7answers
16k views

Is there any rule for the placement of space after and before parenthesis?

I often get stuck when forming or formatting a sentence with one or more parenthesis. For example, I wrote an answer on another stackexchange site, in which I wrote: ...whereas, my phone(xperia ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Which punctuation for definition

I have the following sentence: To this end, I first devised a novel algorithm to enumerate all possible partitions; ways of dividing a network into meaningful parts. I was told that the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k 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?