This tag is for questions specifically related to written English.

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81
votes
3answers
7k views

How did 7 come to be an abbreviation for 'and' in Old English?

According to A History of the English Language: Revised Edition by Elly van Gelderen, p.53, in Old English the numeral 7 was used as an abbreviation for the word and: Abbreviations are frequently ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

What is the symbol for an answer?

Usually we use a question mark,'?', to indicate a question, in writing or in simple graphic presentations. I want to know what is a comparable indication for an answer? Note. I don't know whether ...
0
votes
3answers
61 views

What's the name for this kind of writing? [on hold]

I recently 'fell in love' with reading after receiving a book. Now that I've finished reading it, I'm looking for books with that kind of writing. I've Googled for similar books from the same ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

Should I refer to “Section 2.3” or “Subsection 2.3”?

When writing a document that is divided into numbered sections and subsections, sometimes I would like to refer a certain subsection that has been numbered 2.3, for example. Here the 2 represents the ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Interview (Writing skills) [on hold]

Write an interview between a news paper reporter and a doctor on the adverse effects of smoking
7
votes
9answers
3k views

Can the word “that” be used to refer to people?

I came across this SAT Question of the Day: Unbelievable as it may seem, many individuals that fought in the American Revolution were still alive in 1839, the year the world was introduced to ...
3
votes
3answers
96 views

Momentary vs Temporary

Is there any difference? Which would be better to describe a requirement for 1 or 2 days. Suppose I need to inform my Operations team, that I need a particular requirement to be implemented but I want ...
17
votes
1answer
677 views

Did the Tironian “et” (“⁊”) have any impact on the ampersand being shift + 7 on English keyboards? [closed]

How did 7 come to be an abbreviation for 'and' in Old English? is a beautiful question about the Tiroian "et", which is now the "⁊" character 1. My question is what impact did the association of this ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

A possible linking word for the following

I was asked to insert a link word in the following sentence of my report , but I couldn't think of one. The first prototype is the only model available so far, since the micro-controller at the ...
10
votes
2answers
12k views

What are sentences like “the longer X, the more Y” called and can they be used in formal written English?

What is the type of sentence exemplified below called? Is it appropriate to use it in a scientific paper and formal written English in general? 1. The more pronounced the variation, the more the ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Is 'at the time of writing' correct?

I am writing a technical document and I need to refer to the current point of time. Should I say 'at the time of writing', 'at the time of this writing', or 'at the time of writing this'? Are all ...
3
votes
3answers
17k views

How should we write the phrase “one of a kind”? [closed]

I have seen two kind of written format of "one of a kind" phrase, one of a kind one-of-a-kind Which is the proper way of writing "one of a kind" phrase?
1
vote
1answer
58 views

How to abbreviate the title of a work in an essay?

I am writing an essay on the short story "Harrison Bergeron." How should I abbreviate the title if I don't want to write out the whole name? Would it simply be "Bergeron" or Harrison?"
19
votes
3answers
55k views

Should I write “that being said” (vs. “that's been said” or “Having said that”)?

I often write what "sounds" right (being not a native English speaker/writer), and I believe the expression "that being said" to be fairly common, as opposed to a more complete form like "that's been ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

How to use an independent structure to modify a sentence within a sentence?

After one year, I quit my job, said goodbye to my friends, went to Beijing to study philosophy, participating in a lot of classes given by professors, but never having been registered as a formal ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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
55 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" ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

When are Roman Numeral suffixes appropriate for number abbreviations?

This question was asked and closed last year as general reference. However, it did not attract the caliber of answer I expected it to. I suggested the below content as an edit, but it was rejected for ...
-1
votes
1answer
25 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
12 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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
5answers
32k 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
3answers
563 views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
1
vote
2answers
97 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
150 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 ...
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
2answers
149 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?
134
votes
15answers
18k 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
130 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
60 views

Breeding herd of cattle in the pasture [closed]

It is correct to use: breeding herd of cattle in the pasture.
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
0
votes
2answers
42 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
5k 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
58 views

Way of saying 'washes hands of it' but implies physical

Looking for a non-crappy way of describing someone doing that washing hand motion you do to clear your hands of dust or dirt, but without saying 'washing hand motion'. I feel like there's a good way ...
2
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
96 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
72 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
44 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
96 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
31 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
47 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
56 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
6k 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?
7
votes
3answers
43k 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?
7
votes
1answer
398 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
98 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
87 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
161 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Should “yes” always be in quotation marks when written? [duplicate]

There is a sentence in a diary: When I asked if my passport would arrive next week, he said "yes". So should yes always be in quotation marks when written like that?