So in one of my writings, I happen to have to write something like "Under the assumptions of a theorem for so-and-so method appearing in so-and-so paper". What I am intending to say can be decomposed into "under the assumptions of a theorem", "this theorem is about a given method", "the theorem appears in a given paper". I am not sure if the current combination of mine reads clear to a native US English speaker? If not, please show me a clearer way so that, not only I can write better what I would like to express, but I could have a better feeling about the clarity in general. Thanks.

  • I think you may be confusing the terms 'theorem' and 'theory'. 'Theorem' is a term used almost exclusively in mathematics, and refers to a mathematical concept that has been proven to be true, e.g. Pythagoras' Theorem. A 'theory' is a term most commonly used in Science to describe an hypothesis that has been tested and refined by numerous scientists over many years, until it is accepted as the current best explanation of a particular phenomenon. Further testing may refine the theory further, but it is not likely to totally disprove it. A single paper may propose an hypothesis but not a theory. – James Jan 24 at 15:59
  • The word 'theory' also has a different, common use meaning, which is quite distinct from its scientific meaning. In common speech, the word 'theory' is often used to describe an unproven or speculative suggestion put forward by someone to explain something, often without sufficient proof or evidence. This use of the word gives rise to expressions like, 'That's OK in theory, but it wont pass the test of time.' – James Jan 24 at 16:12

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