In my scientific experiment, the measurement of equipment may appear as follows 1’’-2’’, 3”:4”, [1”, 2”], or (1”:2”), etc.

I would like to describe this fact in an article. What is the best way to write it as clearly as possible.

This is what I am trying, which does not seem correct. The problem is how to describe the format of these different strings, 1’’-2’’, 3”:4”, [1”, 2”], or (1”:2”) using English?

The measurement of the equipment being studied is a format of a numerical character string.

  • 1
    Is there any significance to the different formats? Why not unify all measurements to a single format? The way I understand it, each measurement is a tuple- an ordered pair of values. The measurements are formatted as a delineated pair of numerical strings.
    – Jim
    Dec 28 '20 at 17:48
  • I suppose you mean that the record of measurements can be formatted in these four ways? (Also, are those inches? Can you have other kinds of units, e.g. 7 cm:9 cm? ) If these are indeed records, where do these records appear: is it on paper, or in a computer spreadsheet, or somewhere else? In general, when asking questions like this, you should provide as much information as possible, including a whole paragraph where the thing you are asking about appears. Dec 28 '20 at 19:01
  • @ linguisticturn, the record of measurement can have all the variances as you mentioned. For instance, it can have other units. The record appeared in the computer screen. I just want to find appropriate terms to describe the record of measurements without giving all the examples. I need this in an email, so it is hard to post it here. Thanks.
    – user288609
    Dec 28 '20 at 20:24
  • Do you want to state the fact that there are different formats, or to describe what those formats are? Dec 29 '20 at 2:13
  • I'd call it an "orchestra".
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 29 '20 at 2:21

Nice question. It is essential to know from where you are starting in order to see where you are going. The question that goes up among all our patient readers is, "Where, please, are these numbers coming from?". If they are the output of a computer then what was the question asked of the computer? The time? The distance to the highway in yards? These numbers are the answer to a question and this question must be included in the email you send in order to report accurately. In addition please be sure to use either two single quotes,'', or a double quote, ", using the shift key. Consistency is needed for reliable communication.

Strictly as a possible example of your message describing the output. "We asked the computer the number of characters between the words of the sentence. This answer shows two numbers; one for the characters to the first word and the second the distance to the second word."

Your reader must either be familiar with the number's meaning or you will need to tell them what they mean. Best to do both.

If no one knows their source including you then the brute force way to describe them might be as follows.

"The numbers come in pairs, multiples of two or 'two tuples'. They may be positive or negative but always in the the unit designated by the double quote following. Say for x and y you would see x" y". If they are separated by a space or a comma then they are [enter the meaning you find]. If they are separated by a colon, :, that means they are [some other meaning]. The pair may be surrounded by brackets, [ ], or parenthesis, ( ) as well in which case they are [yet some other meaning].

We are very interested in learning the source of your numbers and your finished message.

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