In Japan, it is occasionally said that x' should be read as eks-prime in mathematical contexts. However, there are several cases to read eks-dash. In addition, a person says that eks-dash was originally used in the UK and it has been changedas eks-prime in USA. Is this true?

In Japan, the ration to read eks-dash vs eks-parime is about 8:2. I know that "eks - dash" is not majority. But, I would like to ask as follows;

How this rate changes in another countries?

  • What's the context? In some contexts, such as if we're talking about English possessives, it would be "x apostrophe".
    – Laurel
    Aug 17 '18 at 6:52
  • x' meaning x prime I've only come across in maths. You're talking about maths, aren't you?
    – Zebrafish
    Aug 17 '18 at 6:58
  • Depending on context, it could also be reads as "x feet" (in U.S. English) or "x minutes".
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 17 '18 at 7:34
  • Sure you are! I edited the question to ask in the mathematical context.
    – Tugaru
    Aug 19 '18 at 1:33
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a question about a usage in the maths domain, not standard English. Nov 5 '19 at 17:54

In a maths context (at least within physics) in the UK, you would use "prime". If you didn't, you'd say something more specific, like "first derivative of x", as the prime can be used for other derived variables as well (e.g. x after an event, especially in lower level work)

A "dash" is a horizontal line, and isn't commonly used in mathematics as it's very similar to a minus sign. It (specifically an en-dash) may be used between numbers to specify a range.

  • 2
    I can confirm that it's the same in American English. We would say "prime", never "dash", which is a completely different symbol (the horizontal line, as noted).
    – Drazex
    Aug 17 '18 at 7:24
  • 2
    My father (who graduated in Physics and Electronics at University College London in 1947) always called this "x-dash". As far as he was concerned, "x-prime" was what Americans called it.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 17 '18 at 8:43
  • @ColinFine my university experience starterd a few decades after that; possibly the shift was due to essentially all modern university textbooks being international. Unfortunately finsgin t spelt out in print is tricky.
    – Chris H
    Aug 17 '18 at 8:45
  • 1
    In maths and physics it has been "x-prime" for me since the early 1960s in England.
    – JeremyC
    Aug 17 '18 at 23:45
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    I am using 'prime' in international conferences because it is widely comprehensible as Chris says. However, I feel very strange when I heard that 'dash' cannot be accepted internationally. The 'dash' is listed in Longman Dictionary English Language (2nd Ed. 1992). and it is widly used in Japan and India etc.
    – Tugaru
    Aug 20 '18 at 11:07

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