I'm pretty sure I've read "Ad question one..." in the sense of "Addressing question one..." before, but the only usage on the web I find is by someone with a Hispanic name and m-w.com doesn't seem to know it.

I've always thought it was derived from a Latin expression and (therefore) sophisticated.

  • 3
    I've never seen it, and such abbreviations are not advisable in formal prose anyway. Feb 15, 2013 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Here is an example. This is a German publication, and the authors hail from Spain and Argentina.

Software example

I find this also here, which is in ‘snippet’ view only; it appears to be in a formal reply of the Bundesrepublik to inquiries from the International Civil Aviation Organization:

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I suspect this is an academic use of the Latin preposition ad, ‘to’, as in responsio ad questionem, ‘response to the question’. It is not, to the best of my knowledge, employed in English scholarship; OED 1 does not list it.

  • 1
    +1. I'd consider it defensible, but we don't write things so that we can later defend them against objections, and it adds nothing of value to compensate for its being unfamiliar. Even ad questionem 1 would at least flag its own origin to the confused reader, where this does not.
    – Jon Hanna
    Feb 15, 2013 at 11:40
  • I must have read it in German writing, then. Can't think what that would look like, though. Thanks! Feb 15, 2013 at 13:23
  • This also points to a whole class of false friends; many Latin borrowings are used in many European languages, and we might expect one to be understood in a language when it is either unknown, partly assimilated to local orthography, abbreviated differently, and so on.
    – Jon Hanna
    Feb 16, 2013 at 2:04
  • This is indeed a German habit, I was not aware that it should not be used in English. duden.de/rechtschreibung/ad
    – Carsten S
    Jan 14, 2015 at 11:07
  • @CarstenSchultz Latin virtually disappeared from US secondary education after WW II, and most of the traditional tags (infra, supra and the like) followed it into to oblivion. The latest edition of the Modern Language Association Style Guide, which dominates scholarly publication in the humanities over here, explicitly deprecates use of these tags. But I don't think ad was ever a piece of the toolkit in English. Jan 14, 2015 at 11:17

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