I am currently writing a paper on virial coefficients.

I need to make a choice on the term I will use for the virial coefficients between two different species.

My options are:

  1. Cross Virial Coefficient
  2. Virial cross coefficient
  3. Virial cross-coefficient

Which one sounds the best and does the way the words are structured lead to different meaning? Cross virial coefficient leads to the most results on google.

  • 2
    I think it needs a scientist to answer that. Jul 5, 2023 at 12:31
  • I would go with what's expected by the audience of your paper. Language-wise, there is the hyphen to link two words that are more connected in concepts than the third word. There is also adding parenthesis to de-emphasize the third word such as "(Cross) Virial Coefficient" in the title of this paper. By skimming the occurrences of the 3 words In that paper, "cross" seems synonymous with "second interaction", and "virial" is strongly linked to "coefficient" as an adjective, even "virial coefficient" becomes a keyword. Jul 5, 2023 at 13:58
  • 1
    I'd ask in the SE for whatever scientific or mathematical domain the topic is. The average English speaker has no idea what those words mean, so this is not best suited for an English learning site.
    – gotube
    Jul 5, 2023 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


While you should check common usage in the scientific literature, it is most likely to be

cross virial coefficient

Virial coefficient is a well-understood noun phrase (in that area of knowledge) and cross modifies it. You always keep the noun phrase together and put the modifying term before it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .