While collaborating in the writing of a scientific paper, one of the co-authors wrote ".../... and we will prove it to stretch to some class", is it usual ?

The context is the following. "Then, we study in part 3 how to extend Radford’s theorem and we will prove it to stretch to the class of associative and commutative products."

Last event : After having interacted with the co-author and with regard to the metaphor of mountain chains, the considered sentence was changed for "Then, we study in part 3 how to extend Radford’s theorem and we will prove it to stretch across the class of associative and commutative products".

  • 1
    It sounds bit odd in isolation, but you can't expect a meaningful assessment unless you provide more context (without which I'm sure the question will simply be closed for lack of that context). Aug 16, 2015 at 16:46
  • @FumbleFingers Thanks, I have (hopefully) given more context. Aug 16, 2015 at 17:39
  • 1
    Possibly the writer was influenced by the preceding "infinitive marker" to stretch, but he's actually made what I would consider to be a grammatical "mistake" - it should be prove it to stretch to [the other contexts]. Aug 16, 2015 at 17:39
  • 1
    Just to be clear, is the stretching here meant to be physical? Or is this a metaphorical stretching in which the theorem itself is generalized to other applications? Aug 16, 2015 at 18:22
  • @CandiedOrange No, it is just physical (well in terms of text length :), the theorem itself is not generalized, just stated in its largest setting. Aug 16, 2015 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Like @FumbleFingers commented, I believe a greater knowledge on the context is necessary. But I translate a lot of academic texts (english < > portuguese), and it seems to me that when they use the "prove it to stretch" expression it is strictly referring to the mentioned above: "we study in part 3 how to extend Radford’s theorem". Meaning they have previously demonstrated a way to extend Radford's theorem, and they will now prove how far it can be stretched. (Taking the relation between the definition's of extend and stretch...)

It also sounds odd to me, grammatically, but that's the only way I can think of interpreting it in that sentence alone...

  • 1
    @Duchamp Gérard H. E. If you have to stretch a proof, it wasn't a proof. And you can't stretch a theorem. You can (if it is possible) extend its scope. Add a rider. Aug 16, 2015 at 22:55
  • 1
    @DuchampGérardH.E.- I have read the other comments and answers, and I think that there's a disconnect between the literal "stretch" meaning-- to lengthen-- and the usual English connotation, which is, "to lengthen beyond the typical." In academic contexts, "a stretch," is an argument that is not quite convincing.
    – stevesliva
    Aug 17, 2015 at 6:29
  • Thanks a lot for your comments and interest in the question (useful for me). Any other answer ? (I leave it open some more time) Aug 17, 2015 at 21:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.