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I was surprised to se that there consistently is an "Also see"-section on this wiki (example). The heading I would expect is "See also", which is used e.g. on Wikipedia (example). I think "See also" is clearly more common than "Also see" in this context. My question is whether "Also see" should be regarded as incorrect.

My interpretation of the syntax is that the heading starts a sentence of sorts, where the items that follow are proper nouns, and that "Also see" is an incorrect way to start such a sentence. For example "See also Pythagoras' theorem" is a grammatically correct full sentence, while, as far as I understand, "Also see Pythagoras' theorem" is not correct without a comma between "Also" and "see".

I have also found a discussion on another wiki, where "Also see" is argued to be incorrect on the grounds that the adverb ("also") should precede "its object" (the items that follow) as closely as possible. The thinking is that it is what one is seeing that changes, not the seeing itself (as if one has just been tasting or smelling). I'm not sure whether this reasoning is reliable.

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    It becomes grammatical when written as "Also, see ...". So think of the comma as being elided in the heading.
    – Barmar
    Dec 3, 2023 at 14:02
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    'See too the ...' is fine in the UK, while 'Too, see the ...' sounds unnatural. The main rule is Orwell's Sixth, 'Avoid anything sounding outlandish', but the difficulty is that there are different dialects. Dec 3, 2023 at 15:16
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    Normal grammar doesn't apply to headings. Furthermore, it makes sense to put the important word "also" before "see" which carries little meaning. Some adverbs like "too" (meaning in addition) typically go at the end of a sentence/clause/phrase but others more commonly go at the start. An adverb modifies a verb ("see") not a noun (the things listed). I notice that you don't cite any authoritative reference saying "also see" is wrong.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 3, 2023 at 16:47

1 Answer 1

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You have the right idea—the syntax does represent the start a sentence of sorts. It starts a sentence in the imperative form, where there is an omitted but understood subject—you.

If you can see that, then the question, really, is why is it see also rather than also see? Wouldn’t you agree that one of these is unnatural? (Note that no comma goes after also.)

(1) Eat oranges. Also eat apples.

(2) Eat oranges. Eat also apples.

Why is it see also, then? Because see also is an idiom in citation style:

see also
Used to refer a reader to another work that is related to the topic being discussed.
Watkin’s interpretation of this scene from Hamlet clearly supports the theory. See also the analysis by J. R. Prewitt on the matter.
See also: also, see
Source: Farlex Dictionary of Idioms—see also

We naturally accept it in that context. But if you don’t need that context, the choice is yours.


See also Bluebook Citation 101—Academic Format > Signals

or, if you prefer . . .

Also see Bluebook Citation 101—Academic Format > Signals

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  • How is the "omitted but understood subject" relevant for the example with oranges and apples? It seems that "Also eat apples" becomes natural because it is preceded by "Eat oranges", not because of the implicit subject?
    – Lorents
    Dec 4, 2023 at 9:45
  • It sounded like maybe you were looking for a place to put an adverb between a subject and a verb. But of course such a place doesn’t exist in most imperative constructions. The sentence preceding Also eat apples is irrelevant in terms of syntax. Dec 5, 2023 at 2:34
  • 'See also' is certainly a fixed expression, but idioms are the subset whose members display unusual sense of at least one of the component words and/or stretched grammar. Positioning of 'also' after a verb isn't that unusual. Jan 3 at 12:59
  • @EdwinAshworth — See also is certainly ”a grammatically atypical use of words” — found in its own special world of citation-speak. Also, I can't think of an imperative sentence where also would naturally follow the verb. Jan 3 at 23:36
  • Over 2.3 million (raw) Google hits for "try also to". Jan 4 at 18:58

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