2

The tilde symbol (~) is used in academic texts in place of about or approximately.

Generally, it is placed immediately before the number (eg. AUD ~2.4 million), which works for positive numbers, where the positive symbol is not shown. However, when dealing with a negative number, the negative symbol is shown (eg. -3.7).

If this were an approximate value, would the tilde be placed before or after the negative symbol (~-3.7) or -~3.7)?

  • 1
    The number is literally "approximately minus three". The number is literally not "minus approximately three". That is not how you say it, so I don't understand why that's what you'd want to write. – RegDwigнt Dec 12 '18 at 12:31
  • 2
    This is a question of mathematical conventions, not English. – Hot Licks Dec 12 '18 at 12:51
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about English. – GEdgar Dec 12 '18 at 13:15
  • 2
    @RegDwigнt I have no patience for this. You said: The number is literally not "minus approximately three". That is not how you say it. I disagree. If you don't want to give reasons for your statement, don't. But please refrain from these stupid games. – michael.hor257k Dec 12 '18 at 14:39
  • 2
    ~(-3).In my experience very few people know what ~x means, – jimm101 Dec 14 '18 at 2:32
-1

The article on tildes on Wikipedia states

A tilde in front of a single quantity can mean "approximately", "about" or "of the same order of magnitude as."

This I would interpret as being ~(-10), with -10 being the "single quantity".

|improve this answer|||||

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