This problem has not been addressed in the literature, at least not in the English literature that I was able to consult.

I want to say that at least in the literature in English (because I don't know other languages to read relevant contents in other languages) such problem is not addressed.

  • Perhaps examine is better than consult, which implies that some kind of active agency is involved. You can't ask a book anything, except perhaps a dictionary or grammar, where you can look up specific things. Apr 26, 2020 at 18:48
  • ... or perhaps study. Apr 26, 2020 at 18:55
  • 4
    I see nothing strange or wrong with the use of consult in this context. Apr 26, 2020 at 19:37
  • 3
    Consult seems fine to me. Or access.
    – Xanne
    Apr 26, 2020 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


According to dictionary.cambridge.org, it is allowable to consult printed or otherwise copied and stored sources of information:

Consult: v. t.

to get information or advice from a person, book, etc. with special knowledge on a particular subject:

"If the symptoms get worse, consult your doctor."

"I'm not quite sure how to get there - I'd better consult a map."

The usage that you suggested, "...the works that I was able to consult", is idiomatic (to my native English) as well as correct. That is, it is (cambridge dictionary) "natural in expression, correct without being too formal". Here are some examples with similar construction, which I found using ludwig:

"Making fiction about the forties was like trying to speak a foreign language by consulting a grammar book." (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/16/jennifer-egans-travels-through-time/amp)

"Consult a stamp reference book or online resource to determine value. Now that you’ve identified the stamp and any flaws in its condition, head back to your stamp reference book to begin to understand its value." (https://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-Value-of-a-Stamp)

"Being able to consult a library of biosignatures, however, will undoubtedly prove helpful." (https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/exoplanet-biosignature-color-alien-life)

"If you are able to consult the correct time, adjust the minute hand accordingly and press the stem all the way in on the exact second." (CMOS, cited in linguisticum's answer at Enumerate reasons after because)

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.