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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
-1 votes
1 answer
18 views

Use of quotes when wondering

You are probably wondering, “why is this so? Surely the soil is the same wherever you go!” Is this grammatically correct? Or should quotes not be used here?
-1 votes
0 answers
24 views

Is "dataframe" written separately or combined? [closed]

I am not sure how to use this word in the text since we are writing compounds while writing code. Below is an example. In this example, while the top paragraph is separate, it is combined in the ...
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

More professional and positive way of writing [closed]

During one of my projects, I presented a new approach to the stakeholders, showing them the advantage the new approach has over the existing one. Understandably, the stakeholders had their ...
2 votes
1 answer
22 views

"You are absent of cause or excuse"

This is a lyric from "Achilles Come Down" by Gang of Youths. Is "absent of cause" proper grammar or a stylistic form?
8 votes
6 answers
4k views

Is it poor style to use adverbs ending in "ly" in formal writing?

I came across this infographic which contains the following claim: Some grammarians consider "ly" ending adverbs as bad style in formal writing. Are there any serious style advice sources that ...
7 votes
4 answers
91k views

How do you abbreviate "Government"?

As far as I can tell there are eight ways to abbreviate or write the contracted form "government". gov or Gov gov. or Gov. gov't or Gov't govt. or Govt. (with the full stop/period) Are any of these ...
1 vote
2 answers
99 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?
4 votes
4 answers
9k views

Em dash and quotes

While I toss up between the em dash and the en dash, I am consistent throughout one document. However, one thing I have noticed when using the em dash is that when I write something like: Firstly, ...
1 vote
1 answer
38 views

How to use capitalization when name is unknown [closed]

When using a vague descriptor for a character, like the man or the silhouette, should I capitalize any part of these terms? EG: The shadowy figure walked across the room. They picked up their hat and ...
5 votes
1 answer
78 views

What is the symbol connecting the letters "c" and "t" called, and when did it go out of style?

I have become so used to the long 's' that I read it as quickly as if they were the standard short 's', but it took me awhile to stop seeing them as 'f's. Luckily the "ct" connection thing ...
9 votes
4 answers
37k views

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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

Is “The X that is the Y” good style?

I'm tempted to write a sentence like this, but I'm not sure whether that is proper English and good style: For that, we have to look into the magic black box that is the fast-Fourier transform. Of ...
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

"Recommend someone to represent..." vs. "recommend someone represent..."

Looking at the sentence below I have a feeling it is wrong, though I can't explain why: I highly recommend Dave to represent you in Korea with your software. I have thus rephrased it to the ...
3 votes
3 answers
7k views

When should 'viz.' be followed by a comma?

Some Latin abbreviations as 'i.e.' and 'e.g.' are always followed by a comma. For the Latin abbreviation 'viz.', sometimes it is followed by a comma, sometimes it is not. What is the rule for ...
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

"a bit" vs. "some"

Disclaimer: I'm a German native. I'm working on some software with a coworker from US. He just sent a message saying "if we decide to actually publish this as a real package, I'd like to clean it ...
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

Proper use of "operando"/"in operando" studies

There are research techniques where something is investigated under working conditions, and these techniques are commonly referred to as in situ. For the sake of being specific to my field of study, ...
2 votes
0 answers
69 views

What is the origin of short form headlines in media/the news?

Every now and then one comes across a shortened form of headlines in media, mostly the news. For example: Study: Inflation Forcing More Americans To Choose Between Buying Groceries, Aston Martin DBS [...
1 vote
1 answer
351 views

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 ____________, ____________....
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do you punctuate " So basically" when it appears at the beginning of the sentence?

How should I write it: So, basically, we had to pay the fine. So basically we had to pay the fine. So, basically we had to pay the fine. OR So basically, we had to pay the ...
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
61 views

How many past perfect tense instances can be used in one sentence?

There's a sentence in which I have to express that one activity took place more recently than the other three. It's a classic case when past perfect should be used, but how does it look in terms of ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does the following need a comma? "You must post 'precautions for usage, etc.' where applicable."

This is for a poster regarding the treatment of dangerous chemicals in a lab. I have the generally feeling that after the "etc." there should be a comma, and I'm not sure if 1) it is necessary and 2) ...
2 votes
0 answers
38 views

Describing quantitative change in print. Which to mention first, initial or current value?

Is there a linguistic convention regarding whether to mention initial or current value first when describing change? I believe analysis of cognitive processing (retention, attention and retrieval) ...
60 votes
4 answers
287k views

Do footnoting superscripts go inside or outside punctuation?

When using superscripts to indicate a footnote, do these fall inside or outside adjacent punctuation? If there is an answer, is that answer applicable worldwide, or just to specific regions or ...
11 votes
11 answers
17k views

Can you explain the sentence structure 'In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit'? Why put the verb before the subject?

The opening sentence to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien reads, In a hole in the ground there lived [verb] a hobbit [subject]. I wonder if there are accepted stylistic purposes for such a structure. ...
4 votes
1 answer
151 views

When introducing an initialism for the first time in a paper, but the noun is possessive, do I make the initialism possessive as well?

E.g., Mobile network operator's (MNO's) networks are overloaded. Or Mobile network operator's (MNO) networks are overloaded.
1 vote
1 answer
55 views

Is there a term for the aspect of style where an author indicates who is speaking? [duplicate]

In a novel, for example, imagine the following sentence: "I like chowder", Helen said. What I'm looking for is the highlighted part. There are many different ways that particular sentence ...
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is this tutorial style called? "Now you're going to do x."

When someone (typically from the USA) is making a tutorial video and they say: "Now you're going to go to the home screen and you're going to press X. Now you're going to click the white button ...
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 ...
0 votes
3 answers
77 views

Use of "paper" / "study" / ... in scientific publications

In my research paper I used the phrase "this paper" to refer to the one I am writing and sometimes I write "the [other] paper" to refer to some other paper. The editor replaced &...
0 votes
0 answers
15 views

When having different quantities in a list, should you write all of the quantities out or use numerals if previous cases used numerals? [duplicate]

Let's say that I want to write out that a platoon of soldiers has 15 enlisted men and 2 officers. If I wrote "They were part of a company of 200 soldiers" in a preceding part of the text, ...
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Modern usage of the word 'hearken'

I'm doing some translation work and would like to use the word 'hearken' as the original piece (Chinese) has a religious and traditional feel to it. Question: Would the sentence, "Such an ...
2 votes
2 answers
8k views

When to make compound adjectives with adverbs?

I'm trying to figure out what style guidelines or rules apply to creating compound adjectives when adverbs are involved. Typically you create compound adjectives when there is potential for ambiguity ...
14 votes
5 answers
11k views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
66 views

Grammaticality of "Where go the hours"

In a recent comic by Poorly Drawn Lines, I came across the following sentences : Where go the hours? Where go the days? Son of a gun, where do go they? Though the last sentence is clearly jokingly ...
0 votes
0 answers
30 views

"Too great of a [risk]" OR "Too great a [risk]"? [duplicate]

First, I want to emphasize that my question is general. I want your answer regarding all of the cases in the following sentence stractures: [Adjective] + of + [Noun] (For example: It is too great of ...
0 votes
1 answer
43 views

Simple Abbreviation Confusion

You know that a lot of words can be abbreviated like: You know -> y'know About -> 'bout Going to -> gonna and much more To be honest, I found one interesting abbreviation: Of course ->...
0 votes
2 answers
98 views

Comma after "perhaps" at the end of the sentence

Which one is correct? I. "This is the worst day in this month, perhaps the worst in my life." II. "This is the worst day in this month. Perhaps the worst in my life." Should we ...
27 votes
7 answers
79k views

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....
0 votes
2 answers
330 views

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 ...
5 votes
5 answers
44k views

When should ‘state’ be capitalised?

Often I get confused when to capitalise the word state. In the following three different meanings of the word, when should the letter S be capitalized? Synonymous to the words country, nation or ...
19 votes
2 answers
21k views

When is it appropriate to use non-breaking spaces? [closed]

I started using non-breaking spaces (represented in the following examples by an underscore) between a number and a unit of measure (10_ft), and within a name (Dr._John_Smith). I like the "look" of ...
0 votes
2 answers
63 views

Remove duplicate use of "and" with different strengths? [closed]

I wrote the following sentence in English: Part of a development group responsible for releasing security solutions for Google’s Security product and investigating devices while understanding their ...
-2 votes
1 answer
46 views

What’s the most practical punctuation for this simple sentence? [closed]

I know this seems rudimentary, but it’s tripping me up for some reason. Yuck. Mushrooms are gross. I feel the period creates to much of a pause and strays too far away from the emphasis I want on ...
3 votes
3 answers
17k views

“Nota Bene” in technical writing

I am currently writing my thesis for a MSc in computer science. In some places I came up with short but crucial explanations or remarks that I wanted to show in a stand-out display to emphasize their ...
0 votes
1 answer
69 views

Name for this grammatical construction in literary English? [duplicate]

I've noticed that in literary English, and especially (if I'm not mistaken) in dialogue attributions, there are two ways to attach an adverbial clause to an action depending on whether a connecting ...
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can you use a colon to introduce just a single item instead of a list?

Colons are usually used to introduce a list of some kind after an independent clause; however, would it work for a single item? For example, can you write For 3 years, I ate hamburgers: my friend's ...
9 votes
4 answers
52k views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

Object + subject + verb pattern [closed]

I have problems with the following pattern Object + subject + verb + preposition. For example, the simple sentence, Things I’ve been struggling with. The idea is that I'm not sure if that pattern is ...
1 vote
1 answer
55 views

'will/be going to' confusion

If Erik phones, I'll let you know. If Erik phones, I'm going to let you know. Is there any difference in meaning? My grammar book says it does, but the explanation is confusing. It says: However, we ...

1
2 3 4 5
22