Questions tagged [writing-style]

Questions about the writing style of a particular sentence, phrase or construction in English. Questions asking for advice on writing style are off-topic.

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When speaking of an archetypical kind of person, should plurals use “s” or “ 's ”?

What's the best way (for reader experience) to achieve the following? Let's say I am defining some kind of archetype, based on Eduardo Saverin (Facebook cofounder) ,and I call it an "Eduardo"...
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Should “State” be capitalized on its own?

Say we had the following: Higher Education spending, clout, and influence in New York State is substantial. Within the State’s borders... Should the latter instance of State be capitalized or not?
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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 ...
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Is this sentence understandable? “Gained the most points every round in 50+ games”

I'm writing some in-game descriptions for various challenges. One of the challenges is to win 50 games, whilst also having the most points in every round of said games. I arrived at this formulation:...
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Is there a name for the literary device of having multiple speakers alternating in the same paragraph?

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis has: . . . Lucy could only say, "It would break your heart." "Why," said I, "was it so sad?" "Sad!! No," said ...
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What is the type of English used in the King James Bible called?

In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, there is a distinct type of English present (this passage from Job 1:7-12): And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the ...
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11answers
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What is it called when words are deliberately spelled incorrectly but pronunciation is kept unchanged?

For example, Night -> Nite Through -> Thru The -> Da Though -> Tho Nite even appears in some dictionaries as having the same meaning as night. What is it called when words are ...
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Tease or tease with? [migrated]

I wanted to know which phrase would be grammatically correct? Should I use; I was teasing you. OR I was teasing with you.
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“The train will leave” vs. “is going to leave” vs. “leaves” vs. “is leaving”

From the grammatical point of view all are correct, just the meaning are different, please bring your clarification, thank you. The Train will leave at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The Train is ...
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Is it correct to replace dashes with hyphens and how should it be done?

I often see sentences like this--made when people don't have the care or ability to input the correct character--where two hyphens are supposed to form an em-dash. Based on the sizes of various dashes,...
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Can we use a semicolon before “to”-infinitives?

I just read a sentence that goes like this: I have woven the grief of your departure into amulets; to wear around my neck, until they dissolve into my skin. So far I have learnt that semicolons can ...
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A word that's between 'recommended' and 'awarded'?

Is there a word that is between 'recommended' and 'awarded', take for example: The boss recommended the Prize to Jill. and The boss awarded the Prize to Jill. I don't want it to be emphasized that the ...
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Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this year....
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What is the name/term for someone's personal writing style?

I know I got a message from a friend. I could tell by the way they wrote the message, and their vocabulary. There is a name for a personal writing manner, but when I Google to find out, it’s like ...
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“go too far” — suitable for academic writing?

I am revising the following sentence in an academic paper: The de facto XXX seems to go too far and notably undermine the readability. where XXX is a named of a new technique. I feel like "go too ...
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Is it CoViD? Or COVID? Covid? How should the word be spelled?

I have seen it spelled COVID-19, but I have also seen Covid-19. In addition, I believe I have seen CoViD-19, capitalising only the first letter of each word from which it was abbreviated (for it isn't ...
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Term for intentional inaccuracies that better convey meaning?

Is there a term or concept that describes instances where an author/speaker intentionally or knowingly uses wrong spelling/pronunciation/grammar because it better conveys the intended meaning, and is ...
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Punctuation around the word “namely”

It seems somehow tricky to apply the right punctuation when it comes to the word namely. I got the following advice: Search globally for "namely", and add a comma after it, as well as a comma, a ...
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1answer
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About Lovecraft's style to start a sentence with 'For' [duplicate]

I'm reading my first ever novel in English (French is my mother tongue): Tales of Horror by H.P Lovecraft. Surprisingly, reading this book is fine for me, however there's a sentence construction I don'...
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It should be used **with** in this paragraph?

Should be used with in this paragraph to indicate the contribution that she could do by studying a specific master's program? Using water is necessary but it needs to be done carefully to avoid ...
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Using ellipsis to indicate a pause in conversation

Wikipedia has a sentence in its article on ellipsis: In reported speech, the ellipsis is sometimes used to represent an intentional silence, perhaps indicating irritation, dismay, shock or disgust. ...
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1answer
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Is 'excelled' appropriate here?

I am wondering whether excelled was correctly used or not in this paragraph?. I do not want to use outstanding. Despite she is from a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational ...
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Differences in word order?

The independent clause, “He is carrying a heavy load”, might be connected with a dependent clause of varying order: most of which is to be consumed. which most of, is to be consumed. of which, most ...
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Is it grammatical to write a complete sentence and link it to a sentence with a dropped subject with a semicolon? Please check the examples. Thanks!

I called to check in; hope all is well. I have some great news; just wanted you to be the first to hear it. Call me back!
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Non-standard English to Standard English, in Milne's Ugly Duckling

The following is from Ugly Duckling written (a play, 1941) by A. A. Milne. I cannot understand Dulcibella's speech which seems to me non-standard. In this play Dulcibella is depicted as a very ...
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2answers
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Describing disdain on someones face

I have tried to create a description of a face that shows a condescending feeling towards the person they are looking at also hinting to a past of abuse due to power dynamics. I haven't done much of ...
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1answer
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Which idiom is correct “draw on” or “draw from”?

Is there any difference in meaning between those two: Gulf Racing draws on this history... Gulf Racing draws from this history... Are they both grammatically correct?
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1answer
987 views

Colon between “that is” and formal definition

Is it appropriate to use "that is" followed by a colon when defining something formally? I have the following example: Let γ be the set of groups that hold variables accessed by C, that is: ...
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1answer
29k views

What is the difference between “left/right side” and “left/right-hand side”?

This question arose in the context of referring to locations in a figure, e.g.: A dot is added to the left(-hand) side of the diagram. What is the difference in meaning (if there is one)? What is ...
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“from A to B” or “to B from A”

Which expression is more customary? Are their situations where one would be favored over the other? Edit: Sorry for making the question unclear. My motivation for this question came from reading ...
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“trends from 400M visitors” vs “trends by 400M visitors”

The Overflow Blog, April 20, 2020 How the pandemic changed traffic trends from 400M visitors across 172 Stack Exchange sites. I have a problem with one of the prepositions used in that statement, ...
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What is the abbreviation for 'century'?

I remember being taught in history classes to abbreviate century by writing a large capital C followed by the ordinal number as in: C18th without the full-stop (period). Recently I have noticed on ELU ...
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Is “month year” or “month, year” the more common form of punctuation in print publishing?

A great many style guides address the question of whether or not to separate the month and year with a comma in phrases of the type "January[,] 2018"—and yet, to my surprise, a search of English ...
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2answers
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Where should the apostrophe go on a possessive abbreviation?

When expanding an abbreviation in parentheses, sometimes the thing that was abbreviate was used in a possessive context. Consider the following example: If the Giant Ostrich Bomb's (GOB) fuse is ...
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usage of as and have

When I was reading a novel by Steinbeck, I have met the sentence below: "He stalked her then, game-wise, as he had the woodchucks on the knoll when day after day he had lain lifeless as a young ...
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1answer
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Is defining the first use of an acronym within parenthesis allowed?

I don't see a rule against it, but defining an acronym within parenthesis does not seem correct (e.g., Awkward Definition of Acronym (ADA)). Does defining ADA like this break rules?
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Can I omit “which”+verb in a non-defining relative clause?

Which sentence below sounds better? Is there an incorrect/correct one? Is there a difference in meaning? I tend to like the second one the most. To me, it has the same meaning as the first one but bit ...
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2answers
54k views

“Need be” vs. “Needs to be”

I've written the following in a sentence, but now that I look at it, I'm doubting my grammatical instincts and wanted to get a second opinion. ...the balance need be swayed only slightly... Is the ...
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2answers
20k views

use of capital C in the word 'Century'

I know if you are referring to 'centuries' in general, you don't use a capital letter. I know that if you are talking about a particular century, like 'the 20th Century', it's a capital letter. If ...
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What is the place of “say” between 2 direct speeches [duplicate]

I read a book, and I see that: "Oh - the black hat," I say. "No!" says Shami. "The blue hat is nicer." We watch and wait. In the end, the woman takes the blue hat. "...
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1answer
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Why did Thomas Paine use both “hath” and “has” in the same sentence?

My understanding is that "hath" is archaic, but has exactly the same meaning as "has". But then why would an educated writer use both in the same sentence when writing a formal ...
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1answer
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Which is better here, colon or dash?

Their style favors texture and timbre over more familiar and comforting musical elements; there is no beat, melody, or rhythm – only techno-cacophony. Can I switch the dash for a colon, like this? ...
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Synthesis and Transformation

Give the task of synthesizing and transforming these two sentences: John ran after the snatch thief. John tripped over a stone and fell. Into just one of this form: While ____________, ____________....
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How to write Vietnamese names in English correctly? (“Việt Nam” to “Vietnam” or “Viet Nam”?)

Commonly, in writing, the country name in Vietnamese is Việt Nam, in English is Vietnam; its capital city name in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, in English is Hanoi; its largest city name in Vietnamese is ...
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Parenthetical sentence (double commas) followed by definition in parenthesis - where to put commas?

I am working with legal texts a lot and I was wondering about the following phrase that will show up in most US related prospectuses: "according to the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the ...
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Capitalizing Work Titles — Beyond General Rules

The rule I'm getting is: Capitalize if it comes before the name: Janitor Richard McGill was a fastidious man. Director Campbell slept in the office as McGill the janitor proofread his annual report. ...
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“This is what I understand” or “This is how I understand it”, etc

Which one of the following statements is correct or do all of them make sense? System A works independently and does not affect System B. This is what I understand. System A works independently ...
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Can you tell me about the style of writing used in the Federalist Papers?

I've always found the Federalist Papers extremely hard to read. They have many complex words, long sentences, subordinate clauses, and large paragraphs. Here are two examples of sentences to frame ...

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