Questions tagged [style-manuals]

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House number 1 or One in address?

I noticed that some companies and institutions write the house number 1 as One, and some institutions write 1. One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014, USA One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052, USA ...
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1 answer
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Correct comma usage in a list with groups similar items

Just trying to understand how to correctly punctuate a sentence which has several items which are all preceded with the colour red. I have a red apple, red strawberry, red pen and red book. How ...
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Is starting your sentence with “Which is why...” grammatically correct?

Is starting your sentence with “Which is why...” grammatically correct? …our brain is still busy processing all the information coming from the phones. Which is why it is impossible to actually rest ...
-4 votes
1 answer
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What is the proper number formatting for a legal document from the Supreme court? [closed]

Do federally-issued legal documents in the USA require numbers spelt out, or in number form? I took a look at this site concerning Citation, Grammar and Style Guides from Loyola School of Law, but it ...
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0 answers
25 views

2 Letter Initials and nobiliary particles — how to form? [duplicate]

Given names with nobiliary particles or other particles in a last name like Bobby von Ahnen Bobby d'Estaing Bobby de Zichy Bobby del Alcázar Bobby Le Pen How would you make a two letter set of ...
3 votes
1 answer
239 views

What are the different rules for capitalization of prepositions in titles? [closed]

There are probably different rules for different style guides, but I do have one question. I have heard that the general rule is that any preposition less than four letters does not get capitalized, ...
12 votes
3 answers
6k views

What did Tolkien mean by this awkward sentence structure?

In the first chapter of The Hobbit, I just read this: “Thank you!” said Bilbo with a gasp. It was not the correct thing to say, but they have begun to arrive had flustered him badly. He liked ...
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1 answer
19 views

proper construction of a list

In a list, the last item is preceded by "and". This sentence appeared in a recent Foreign Affairs article: The United States and its allies and partners are imposing harsh costs on Moscow. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is an acronym/initialism ever pluralized in its parenthetical introduction?

For example, if the first use of RDA occurs as follows: "Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are established by nutritionists after some kind of research...." Should the parenthetical ...
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0 answers
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Due to/because of [duplicate]

...does happen due to...; didn't happen due to; Carpal tunnel syndrome 'doesn't occur due to, but because of...extended use', for example. So, do any of those sound right — even if they're all wrong? ...
3 votes
2 answers
137 views

Hyphenation of compound modifiers that have written-out numeric ranges in them

Is either of these approaches to hyphenation currently more popular than the other one is when it comes to printed publications? The drug is most promising for three-to-fifteen-year-old children. The ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Question: Is it social democracy or Social democracy or Social Democracy? AP style [closed]

Sentence 1: Similarily though he carried out many useful administrative reforms, in a vain effort to combat Social Democracy he seriously interefered with the liberty of public meeting and attempted ...
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Participle Phrase vs. That/Which

In recent writing and editing, I noticed that a participle phrase can sometimes be used interchangeably with a that/which phrase, and both options seem equally readable. The following sentences show ...
1 vote
0 answers
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'Did/does' at head of subordinate phrase

He does have a sense of humour does Mr Marr. Nigel Williams, 1992 Is this double use of do just doubly emphatic? Secondly, why can't do be used similarly, for example with a plural proper noun?
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1 vote
1 answer
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'Miscellaneous': must be followed by a plural count noun

Garner's fourth reads Miscellaneous must be followed by a plural count noun; it does not work with an abstract mass noun. Exceptions are set phrases such as miscellaneous shower/income. and An ...
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3 votes
2 answers
107 views

"Unlike" after negatives

Fowler (1926) criticized the position of unlike in: M. Berger, however, does not appear to have— unlike his Russian masters— the gift of presenting female characters. As with many negatives, the ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Does capitalisation change when a word moves from proper noun to adjective?

For the sake of this question I'll use the word Linux as an example, but I really want to ask about the principle generally. The word Linux started as the name of an operating system kernel written by ...
5 votes
2 answers
382 views

Get married: act vs ceremony

You can use marriage to refer to the act of getting married, Her family did not approve of her marriage to David. You don't usually use marriage to refer to the ceremony in which two people get ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"Fairly" can't be used with comparatives or negatives

Don't use ‘fairly’ in front of a comparative form, *the train is fairly quicker than the bus; in more formal writing, you use rather or somewhat. https://www.wordreference.com/EnglishUsage/fairly ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"Expect": + that-clause vs + to-infinitive

In ‘I expect J will come’, you are simply saying you think he will, but in ‘I expect J to come’ you will be annoyed or disappointed if he does not. Instead of ‘expect something will not’ happen, you ...
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2 answers
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"Numbers": mass noun

Garner reads Although enough modifies either count nouns or mass nouns, enough stamina, sufficient should modify only mass nouns, so the usage problem can be solved by making it sufficient numbers of....
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1 vote
1 answer
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Comma at the End of a List Following a Colon

Is the following sentence written correctly? Bob's three favorite colors: black, red, and blue, are Emma's least favorite colors. Specifically, I'm asking about the comma following blue.
1 vote
1 answer
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"A few" + a number : unremarkable quantity [closed]

A few is usually more than two (two often being referred to as "a couple of"), and less than "several". Few emphasises smallness of number, while a few emphasises some: He's a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
116 views

What or who is the source of the proscription on contractions in formal writing?

I couldn't find this exact question, though obviously there are many related questions around using contractions. I write academic work in a field where contractions are accepted but rare, and no ...
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Can you ever place a comma ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ the word "which"? [duplicate]

Is there any scenario in which a comma is used right after the word which? For example, is this sentence correctly written as is — or not? The sensitivity to material AAA, which, in fact, is ...
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0 answers
253 views

Double comparatives: "more preferable"

Fowler reads Sometimes the double comparative form more preferable is used. The word more is of course unnecessary, since preferable by itself means ‘more desirable (than)’. Like other comparatives,...
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1 answer
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"Magic" in its descriptive role

Fowler reads Magic(al): The two words compete with one another in all the main senses, ‘relating to magic’, ‘produced by or as if by magic’, and ‘wonderful’, although in certain fixed expressions ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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"Sufficient(ly)": quantitative vs qualitative

Garner's reads Though both words were originally used in reference to quantity, adequate now tends toward the qualitative and sufficient toward the quantitative. However, Fowler says As an ...
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0 answers
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"One another" when an ordered series of events or stages is involved

According to a traditional rule, each other denotes a reciprocal relation between two entities, and one another refers to more than two. Many people maintain a further stylistic distinction between ...
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Sometimes, just thinking about making it would suffice

I am doubting this sentence, and wonder if anyone has a pointer or two. The context is, you don't necessarily need to make art... Sometimes, just thinking about making it would suffice. Sometimes, ...
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

If I use the word "enumerated", must the list be numeric or can it be bullet points?

If I use the word "enumerated" in writing, must the list I am enumerating be numeric or can it be bullet points?
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Do these phrases require hyphens? "mock-cried" vs "mock cried" [duplicate]

Should the following sentences be hyphenated? I mock cried into his shoulder. vs. I mock-cried into his shoulder. He smiled at me with his old man charm. vs. He smiled at me with his old man-charm.
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Is "Each person should do their own work" really not logical to say? [duplicate]

I am taking English Language Studies as my bachelor's. It happened when one of our subjects' professor, Advanced English Grammar professor, said that the sentence "each person should do their own ...
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Is repeating the section title in the first sentence good writing style? [closed]

In a number of structure formats I am very tempted to re-state the title of sections in the first section, i.e. if the given section is “Expected Results”, I tend to want to start by saying “The ...
1 vote
2 answers
111 views

Where to put a hyphen when there's an abbreviation in the middle?

Ethiopia wants African Union (AU) mediated negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Using AP style. You want a hyphen in front of mediated. What is the correct way?
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1 answer
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Is "equals to," as in "one plus one equals to two," ungrammatical? [closed]

I study mathematics alongside many Chinese students. They will often use the phrase "equals to," as in "one plus one equals to two." Is this usage incorrect?
-2 votes
1 answer
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Is there a standard way of referring to electronic files?

If I'm writing about a specific computer file - let's say a file which looks, in some view, to be named ExampleFile.pdf (which is already problematic, since what you see might depend on the details of ...
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3 votes
3 answers
255 views

Is it possible to have an interrogative after an imperative connected with coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence?

I know rephrasing, using semicolon, or just splitting it into two sentences are probably the possible options here (the best choice, however, is my side question). Consider the following as examples: ...
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How can I correctly reference a source directly in an article under Harvard-style rules for publications?

I am trying to reference a source directly in an article that I am writing using “Harvard-style” referencing. The source I am using is an article published on a radio station’s “news articles” page. ...
0 votes
1 answer
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Role of "that" in the beginning of a sentence?

IN EARLY 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic tearing across the world, most people thought it unlikely that a vaccine would arrive any time soon. And as work to develop vaccines began, there were dire ...
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Which is the proper way to use (and mark) nested parentheses?

I found some posts on whether it is acceptable to nest parentheses (e.g. here) but there is no discussion yet about which parentheses should be used when nesting, and how. These are some alternative ...
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is "Black" correct, incorrect, or could it be used as either "Black" or "black"? [duplicate]

I was reading an article that I was assigned by my professor, and I came across the following: “We’re the ones getting killed,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is Black, said in an ...
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1 answer
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"People" was not to be preceded by a number, as in "Fewer than 30 people showed up"

From WordReference I discovered the following usage note At one time, some usage guides maintained that people could not be preceded by a number, as in Fewer than 30 people showed up. WordReference ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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It has been used correctly this phrase in this paragraph?

I am wondering whether the following paragraph is clear. I am particularly concerned about the last phrase (emphasized). Joined work with local authorities to find alternatives to confront climatic ...
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1 answer
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What's the reason for using quotations with titles of works?

I have seen that in some styles for documenting sources quotations marks are used for the titles of short works. What's the reason for setting this as the convention? This seems like a use-mention ...
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1 vote
2 answers
431 views

"Two Fewer Items" or "Two Items Fewer"?

If I have 10 items in my bag and my friend has 12, which of the following do I say? I have two fewer items than they do. or I have two items fewer than they do. In this page from CMOS, they say: ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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How to highlight model or category names in scientific text (if they are ordinary words)?

For example, there are two sentences The government is considering that the crisis will follow a soft scenario ... Dr. Jones has calculated soft and hard crisis scenarios. The input data was ... In ...
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2 answers
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Is there an implied be verb in the sentence "American workers facing or are facing"?

American workers facing a less prosperous future than their parents’ generation have gotten the message—or at least a version of it. Can anyone please explain the structure? Is there any implied be ...
0 votes
1 answer
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All (*of) the students/contracts [duplicate]

According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English Although some object to the inclusion of of in such phrases as all of the students and all of the contracts and prefer to omit ...
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3 answers
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Whilst or while, etc - Oxford Spelling

I am writing an academic paper and would like to use the Oxford spelling throughout. (I am native British.) I read that Oxford spelling generally follows British English other than a few exceptions, ...