Questions tagged [style]

This tag is for questions relating to proper style or a specific instance of style in English.

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1answer
31 views

Is it obligatory to capitalize the word 'president' before a name (as in 'president Donald Trump')?

Gramarly insists on capitalizing: 'President Bill Clinton', 'President Donald Trump', etc. But I don't want to do it. Can I use a regular lowercase 'p'? (with respect, please give me a break from "...
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1answer
23 views

Can I change the “being” into “is” in the sentence “This layout poses many dangers for the historian, not the least of which being…”

This layout poses many dangers for the serious historian, not the least of which being the scornful reception that academics - motivated partly by snobbish elitism but also by genuine concern over ...
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1answer
40 views

Does the expression 'on one's dime' have some usage limitations?

Does the expression 'on one's dime' have some usage limitations? I haven't found it in the Longman, Macmillan, or Lexico dictionaries so I don't see how I can figure that out otherwise. I found it in ...
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2answers
285 views

Should I use Present or Past perfect for describing a case in a figure?

I have this sentence Figure 2 shows a screenshot of a dialogue for creating an anchor. In this dialogue, the anchor ( has been / is / was ?) specified by a text pattern. I don't want to say how ...
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1answer
77k views

Difference between ' and "

What's the difference between a single and a double quotation mark in English? I've heard that it only depends on where you live the US (for double quotation mark) or the UK and Australia (for single ...
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1answer
16 views

using two prepositions 'at' one after another

For the following sentence: Jack and Jenny arrive at school at 3:00 pm. If I wanted to ask a question about Jack and Jenny's particular place of arrival at specific point in time, which is 3:00 pm,...
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2answers
101 views

Is using “general plan of structure” appropriate in biology?

I'm reading now a book (which was written by a non-native English speaker) that states under the title of the topic: "general plan of structure of the digestive tube" The chapter there explains ...
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1answer
115 views

Talk something v. talk about something

Is there any difference between talk something and talk about something? (For example, 'talk politics' and 'talk about politics'.) Note, I'm talking about instances when the object is some topic, not ...
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1answer
44 views

“not currently” vs “currently not”

Stack Exchange is testing new close reason banners and say: Closed. This question is opinion-based. It is not currently accepting answers. I do not speak English natively but this sounds strange ...
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1answer
11k views

“In which time” is correct as well as “in what time”?

I have to ask my friend "In what time the class it will start tomorrow". My question is if the using of "In which time the class will start tomorrow" is correct as well.
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1answer
41 views

Hyphen between words

Does AP Style recommend a hyphen between the words philosophically-inclined? I have searched several editing and grammar sites and still do not know the correct answer.
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1answer
51 views

“So something,” vs. “so something that” vs. “so something”

I've seen the three versions. The one with a comma, the one with "that," and the one with nothing: It was so big, it was scary. It was so big that Sampson had to drag it to her. Only it ...
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1answer
4k views

Is the phrase “repeat again” always symmantically wrong when requesting a repetition?

I just realized that I'm reacting to the following conversation. A: "I think that xxx and hhh, jkjkj and lpoopik..." B: "Could you repeat that again, please?" The reaction I'm getting is due to the ...
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1answer
741 views

The reason I'm writing this email is to [closed]

I saw the following sentence at the start of an e-mail. While it is grammatical, I'd like know if it is natural. Dear Mr. Smith: The reason I'm writing this e-mail is to inform you of a change ...
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1answer
28 views

using “attribute” to connect result and the cause

Is it okay to use verb "attribute" when connecting some resultant situation with a person who might have caused it to happen? For example, The situation in our small company is deplorable. Profits ...
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0answers
16 views

Why compound modifiers are not usually hyphenated when they come after the noun?

A lot of grammar references suggest that you hyphenate compound modifiers if they come before the noun but not after the noun. Here's an example: The apartment is off campus. VS That ...
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0answers
11 views

Using “a far cry from” not for achievements

Is "a far cry from" used for describing situations, in which someone is trying to achieve some result? This phrase looks fine to me (though I am not sure): He was a far cry from being a school ...
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0answers
18 views

One common topic that has been discussed with increasing regularity

In the following passage, is "One common topic that has been discussed with increasing regularity" considered good style? Would it be advisable to rewrite it as "One increasingly common topic"? Also, ...
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1answer
37 views

Is “et al.” one or two words?

I use et al. to refer to a paper with more than two authors. However, the word et got separated by a line (due to line end) and the word al. cam in the beginning of a new line. ... Authorname [end ...
3
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1answer
56 views

What are the rules of Parallelism?

What are the rules of parallelism? I've been reading a lot about it since yesterday and all I encounter is "They must have the same grammatical form"? What does this exactly mean? I know how to make ...
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1answer
227 views

timeout vs. time-out vs. time out in British English

I have a term called time out which refers to the maximum amount of time the program will wait for a response, after which it will close the connection. I do not know how to spell it. There is the ...
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2answers
24 views

using 'quite a' with adjective 'vulnerable'

Is it okay to use the modifier 'quite a' with adjective 'vulnerable' in referense to children? I've been using "quite a vulnerable boy" for a very long time and have always found this phrase useful ...
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1answer
19 views

definitional clarity: the university of life

The following is taken from Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. What does "the person gaining formal qualifications" stand in opposition to? Is the definition considered clear by the standards of ...
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2answers
66 views

Writing in “First person implied”

As far as I know a pronoun "I" is usually omitted when personal achievements are being described (writing in "First person implied"). For example it's better to write: Performed a review of the ...
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1answer
210 views

Are three dots (…) used to indicate only ellipsis?

I googled it and found out that three dots (...) in English means "ellipsis", But in my language, we use three dots quite commonly not only when we use ellipsis but also in the title of an article, ...
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1answer
22 views

using different prepositions in relation to a same period of time mentioned in different clauses

If I have already used preposition "during" in relation to one period of time in the first clause, can I use "in" in relation to a same period of time in the second clause? For example, She was ...
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2answers
97 views

Unclear English sentence containing “with was”

Consider: Disconcerting as the grin he then waited my pleasure with was the cast of his features, not just like any I had seen. I do not perfectly understand "with was" -- with what? This is ...
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3answers
41k views

Asking 'the pleasure of your company' in an invitation

This is a great site - I would happily pay for this advice. I must fess up and say I am a native English speaker (albeit an Irish one) but I'm running into trouble wording a party invitation. Is it ...
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2answers
31 views

Using “discriminated against”

In my sentence, there are some users are discriminated against by some operator. If I want to refer to users' data, I say: reveal those discriminated against users' data Is this correct use of ...
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2answers
27 views

“possesses some amount of Japanese”

Can I use the verb "possess" in describing a person's level of proficiency in some language? Just like his brother Henry, he possesses some amount of Japanese that enables him to handle simple ...
2
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2answers
42 views

Velocity- and displacement-proportional forces

I have troubles building compound adjectives and enumerating them. In my field (mechanics) we deal with forces which are proportional to displacement or velocity. We tend to call them "displacement ...
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1answer
647 views

What is wrong here in this sentence?

Would someone help me figure out why this sentence sounds off, and help me rewrite it? We're talking about a group of people so deeply-rooted in and so appreciative of their ancient past, yet ...
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2answers
669 views

“We was” vs. “We were” and “Be you” vs “Are you” in song lyrics

Listening to an english song, I noticed the following sentences: "We was hitchhiking down..." (1:15) https://youtu.be/_lK4cX5xGiQ?t=75 "Be you angels?" (2:36) https://youtu.be/_lK4cX5xGiQ?t=155 Why ...
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1answer
36 views

Should 'cause have a left or right curly quote?

I tried to verify this with this Markdown converter: https://dillinger.io/ However, it doesn't convert the single quote into a curly quote: 'cause Should 'cause be written as ‘cause or ’cause? (...
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1answer
25 views

Putting physical and non-physical together

Is it good styling in English to place physical-thing and non-physical-thing nouns in one row? There are many kinds of creatures and cultural heritage in the sea. Here it looks like "many kinds" ...
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1answer
86 views

Using “right away” at the beginning of a sentence

Is it okay in English to use the adverbial phrase "right away" at the beginning of a sentence? For example, is it okay instead of I will hug him right away. to say Right away I will hug him. ...
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1answer
22 views

Can one person/thing be something that is a plural noun?

Here goes a passage from Tim Pratt's Impossible Dreams short story: She understood character arcs, the use of color, the underappreciated skills of silent film actors, the bizarre audacity of ...
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1answer
74 views

Short clauses taking a comma (he's and she's) style or rule

So I read that short clauses taking commas is a style choice but preferably the use of a semi-colon, full stop, conjunction is accurate. As in: Experts teach; peers comfort (or and). But if for ...
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1answer
38 views

Comma accuracy and style choice

The fight cost him his life, almost. Laying in the grass, looking at the sky, she watched the stars in the awe, mesmerized at their beauty, natural beauty. Is the use of "almost" and "natural ...
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13answers
12k views

Is the language of The Economist artificially complex? [closed]

I wonder whether reading the articles of the journals similar to The Economist (including Time, etc) are in a style that make them difficult to flow even for native-readers? Is the effort to read ...
2
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2answers
58 views

“Not a” vs. “no”: “a baronet and (no/not a) peer”

I had titled my question on History SE How is it possible to be a baronet and no peer? A native speaker came along and corrected it to: How is it possible to be a baronet and not a peer? Why ...
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2answers
226 views

Does “fundamental essence” sound eloquent?

As essential and fundamental seems to be synonym I doubt whether I can use "the fundamental essence" expression. However I see its usage in the internet. https://daveursillo.com/the-fundamental-...
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2answers
109 views

How can I avoid repeat “the user” in a paragraph

Consider this part of paragraph: The elements of the page get highlighted as the mouse moves over them to make it easy for the user to detect the boundary of each element. Then, the user specifies ...
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1answer
547 views

article vs paper

I would like to clarify the stylistic differences in the usage of the words article and paper (in the meaning a piece of writing). When writing a research article/paper, or its abstract, in which ...
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1answer
5k views

“correspondence with” vs “correspondence between”

Meaning "correspondence" as "letters" or "exchange of letters" (not similarity), which sentence would be more appropriate (may be there are only subtle differences in style): The correspondence ...
2
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1answer
169 views

Can 's express plural?

There's a sentence in my textbook: My sister got A's in her final exam. Shouldn't be As instead in this case? Can 's also be a kind of stylish for the plural?
2
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1answer
2k views

Can you use “the undersigned” and “I” in the same paragraph?

"The undersigned" and "I", when used in a letter, both refers to me. So is it possible to use them both in the same paragraph? Consider the following example: The undersigned respectfully moves for ...
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1answer
60 views

A question about comma usage: should it be “me,” or “me”, in this case? [duplicate]

I am reading an article here: https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/what-makes-you-you.html When you say the word “me,” you probably feel pretty clear about what that means. It’s one of the things you’re ...
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2answers
5k views

“I'd” or “I would” in official letters?

Should I use "I'ld" and the like in official documents like motivation letters or is "I would" better?
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3answers
61 views

“To be” or NOT “to be”

A large part of what I do is critiquing, in writing, the work of others. I am constantly wondering if I am structuring my sentences correctly. Part of the challenge is that I need to temper my opinion ...