Should I say:

The spacing between pattern instances for plane X direction


The spacing between pattern instances for plane's X direction

or there isn't much difference after all?


closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Scott, choster, Helmar, Chenmunka Sep 23 '16 at 8:35

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There must be an article before plane (or plane's), but which one depends on the context.

  • If plane is purely an adjective (that is, the X direction is flat), then it's not inflected.
  • If plane is a noun and the "X direction" is that of the plane, it's probably better to indicate that relationship with the possessive.

There is not enough context in the quote to be more specific, either about the article or the possessive; hopefully this will be enough to allow you to make the decisions.

  • Here I'm talking about the cartesian plane... – abenci Sep 22 '16 at 11:48
  • 1
    OK... so you need the and the possessive. – Andrew Leach Sep 22 '16 at 11:50
  • 2
    I would read the first option as referring to one of a number of planes in a higher dimentional space and would expect to see reference to at least one other plane (possibly plane Y) at an angle to X later in the same document. The second option makes it clear that you are referring to the X direction of one [X:Y] plane, but you do need to say 'the plane'. – BoldBen Sep 22 '16 at 20:51

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