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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Grammatical Coherence in Hanna Arendt's Writing [closed]

I've recently come across a quote by Hanna Arendt in her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil that looked quite interesting: "It is in the very nature of things ...
Andrei Suslov's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
30 views

The Reader Over Your Shoulder by Robert Graves [migrated]

Does anyone know if there is a contemporary book that explores style in a similar way to The Reader Over Your Shoulder?
Zay's user avatar
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0 answers
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differences of usage with conjunctive adverb

a) You must have a good reason for possession of a bladed instrument. It will have to be genuine, for example, someone back packing may use one for the preparation of meals. b) You can put knives in ...
bluebell1's user avatar
  • 265
0 votes
1 answer
23 views

Quotation marks and commas [duplicate]

I know that, when using a period, comma, or exclamation mark with quotation marks, we should generally place the punctuation inside the quotes. Does this hold in general? For example, consider the ...
sam wolfe's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
42 views

Should redundant "also" with "too" in the same sentence count as a (style) error?

As a non-native English speaker, I keep seeing (professional) articles, often by native speakers of English, that say something like "The bass is also quite strong too". This strikes me as ...
ppenguin's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

Hyphens are used in words from 0-99 (correction 21-99), but what if a number larger than 99 is a compound adjective before a noun?

For example, which of these are correct? The pizza delivery service had three thousand, seven hundred and eighty-two clients. The pizza delivery service had three-thousand-seven-hundred-and-eighty-...
Jof's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
57 views

Connotation of "for" / "for the"

I asked this question on ELL and got a satisfactory answer about whether "A new material for manufacture of bricks" is a correct title for a scientific article. However, it seems that ELL is ...
Sardine's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

Trying to understand how to connect phrases/clauses with commas

Take this fragment for example: The snow had come from the north, in the mist, driven by the night wind, smelling of the sea. It is from John Le Carré's The Looking Glass War. I've seen writers do ...
Evangelos Aktoudianakis's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Is it proper to switch from the third person singular (The Department of Environment) to the first person plural (we) in the same sentence? [duplicate]

I often have to translate sentences such as: The Department of Environment has offices everywhere in the country, and we would love for you to join us [us as in "the whole department, and not a ...
NinjaTranslator's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

What is the grammatical structure of {the + superlative substantive}?

Example 1: This was the deepest a submarine had ever dived. Example 2: The longest a person can hold their breath for is... I've looked at a couple grammar resources including "the Cambridge ...
John's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
281 views

"2+ Million" or "2 Million+"?

When using a plus sign for brevity in a phrase like "over two million", where should the plus sign go? 2+ Million 2 Million+ The same concept would happen with thousand, billion, etc.
Sittch's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
92 views

Is verb order significant when someone is [verb1]ing and [verb2]ing?

I came across some interesting dialogue in a tense scene in a novel, Salvation Lost by Peter F Hamilton: "We'll know exactly what the other [people] are seeing and doing." "Doing and ...
piojo's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Strunk and White and The Elements of Style: Removing "the fact that"

According to the Elements of Style, Rule 17, "the fact that" should be edited out of every sentence. Here's one I'm working on: "The fact that standard software cannot fit it highlights ...
Xward's user avatar
  • 71
0 votes
0 answers
31 views

Which one is better "all incurred expenses" or "all expenses incurred?" [duplicate]

I am writing this document for HR at work and wish to outline what our staff should do to get reimbursed. The sentence should be something along the lines of... All incurred expenses/expenses ...
Khouloud Khamassi's user avatar
9 votes
8 answers
3k views

Usage of "you" in scientific papers

According to numerous questions (e.g Is it recommended to use "we" in research papers?), one should use "we" instead of "I" while writing a scientific paper. However, it'...
Mime's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
58 views

Comparing word order: "with whom" and "with" [duplicate]

Sentence 1: A person with whom I am particularly close has moved away. Sentence 2: A person I am particularly close with has moved away. What are some differences between these two sentences that are ...
user1923's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
1 answer
198 views

Should I include a period in a quote when the quote is in middle of a sentence?

I have the following sentence: In a disappointed and irritated tone, my mom suddenly said, “I always thought Sue would marry a Chinese person” right in front of him. Do I need to include a period ...
ajm's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
61 views

Creating system for noting secondary source in block quotation while preserving original source citations. New edition of previously published work

Working with a text that makes extensive use of a secondary source that will be given in block quotation and, of course, cited. The secondary source, however, contained many original source citations ...
Typothalamus's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
48 views

Simple Past vs. Present Perfect in a list

Consider these sentences: (Simple Past) I accepted the cars, hated the planes, ignored the boats, and romanticized the trains. (Present Perfect) I have accepted the cars, have hated the planes, ...
apriori's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
1 answer
26 views

What is this quotation idiom for?

Sometimes, I see a quotation in a text like this: [F]ollowing the Civil War, departed from the Southern United States... What does the [F] signify? I thought that it might be for a quote which was ...
Lucky's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
88 views

The word to describe "clever" style of TV episode' s title

In our country we have long TV series (maybe seventy episodes in one series) without unique titles. They are just simply marked as episode 01, episode 02, etc. It is hard to find the specific one in ...
Krahmal's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
219 views

Why does Oxford American English dictionary use "y" symbol instead of "j"

Oxford American English dictionary uses "y" symbol instead of "j" in their pronunciation guide. Most other dictionaries use j. So are there any differences between the 2 symbols or ...
Nam N's user avatar
  • 65
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

What is the origin of shorthand for "with" -> "w/"?

In many places, I've seen "w/" written instead of "with". At least, I think that one replaces the other. I couldn't find anywhere what is the origin of "w/". Is this ...
KWriter's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
27 views

Style/usage with conjunctions

A) The modelling data can be reintroduced if needed, for example, if a new variant of concern arises. B)The modelling data can be reintroduced if needed if a new variant of concern arises. If for ...
bluebell1's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
75 views

What does “This might easily be, the house having been long deserted” mean?

This passage is from Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit, chapter 29: There was a fair stroke of business doing, as Mistress Affery made out, for her husband had abundant occupation in his little office, ...
anjan 's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
694 views

Are syntactic inversions mostly fixed?

I ask this because I want to know how the native in general would read a sentence like this: Not rarely did they have dinner in that restaurant. Does "not rarely" come across as weird? ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 101
-3 votes
1 answer
69 views

Why is the Oxford comma a stylistic choice? [closed]

I've gone through the threads on the Oxford comma and I am wondering why it is a stylistic choice rather than a standard practice, particularly with 3/+ items connected with "and"? My point ...
Jacob.C's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Using respectively twice for sequences of 3-tuples

Describing the 2-tuple sequence [(A, first), (B, second), (C, third)] is easy enough: A, B, and C are respectively the first, second, and third letters of the alphabet. What shall be done about 3-...
Mateen Ulhaq's user avatar
  • 1,521
-1 votes
2 answers
439 views

Style adressing in the first person, "My Majesty", the King

Can style adressing be used in the first person, as in "I, My Majesty, King Charles, by the Grace of God..." instead of: I, Charles the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of ...
Gabriel Santos's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
74 views

Is it correct to write "free-of-the-war"? [closed]

Is it correct in English to write "free-of-the-war" as an adjective via hyphens? For example, "I live in a free-of-the-war part of Ukraine" And how about "yet"? That is &...
stkuser's user avatar
  • 13
1 vote
0 answers
448 views

How to add/indicate my own emphasis to a quote that already contains emphasis?

Here's my original quote: … at this point let’s remember that figurative does not mean “untrue” or “less important.” Figurative language teaches true and important matters. After one has determined ...
Drewdavid's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
0 answers
21 views

Seeking an alternate way of referring to a "15-year ordeal"

Triskaidekaphobia has become a recognized, economical alternative to fear of the number thirteen. Is there anything that could convey a comparably concise impression of a decade-and-a-half ordeal? ...
Ray Woodcock's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
125 views

Why would a Burmese native prefer "alight from a bus" over "get off a bus"?

I recently read a script written in English by a Burmese native and it struck me as odd that they always used the phrase "they alighted from a bus" instead of the ordinary "they got off ...
eltomito's user avatar
  • 1,592
0 votes
1 answer
41 views

Is there a convention for indicating the new lines, when writing a multi-line quote of a few words on one line?

I wanted to quote something like: Happy Birthday Had a good time See you next year! However, I wanted it all on one line rather than creating a block quote out of it. I tried Happy Birthday | Had a ...
Paul A.'s user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Why don't we need a comma here? [duplicate]

I'm wondering why a comma is not necessary after the word cheekbones. Is there a rule for this? He didn’t pay much attention to the movie. At least, he had been thinking he didn’t until he felt warm, ...
Anna's user avatar
  • 359
-1 votes
1 answer
199 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?
Dozl's user avatar
  • 3
2 votes
1 answer
125 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?
user461171's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
756 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 ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
295 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 ...
MBaas's user avatar
  • 153
4 votes
0 answers
102 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 [...
Jpe61's user avatar
  • 151
2 votes
0 answers
39 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) ...
user451722's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
67 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 ...
dgo's user avatar
  • 221
0 votes
1 answer
153 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 ...
Yan's user avatar
  • 65
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 ...
Davidjeremiah H.'s user avatar
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 ...
goodie's user avatar
  • 97
1 vote
1 answer
82 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 ...
NateFZ's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
73 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 ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
36 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 ...
ENGLISHLEARNER11's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
48 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 ->...
Gerry Giovan's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
50 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 ...
Max's user avatar
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