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Questions tagged [style]

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

32
votes
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 ...
25
votes
3answers
4k views

To Google something: capitalize or not?

I have a small question about the usage of Google as a verb. Is it always capitalized, even as a verb? For instance: I Googled his name and I got hundreds of results. Now, I am aware that this is ...
19
votes
3answers
23k views

Same word used multiple times in a sentence

Sentences like the following sound strange to me, and I somehow "feel" they are incorrect. I will be in the room in 10 minutes. I will go to New York to meet my friend. Is it correct to use the ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Using the comma separator before 'such that'

I am wondering should I always use a comma before using 'such that' or not? sentence 1 , such that sentence 2. More clearly, I just wrote the following sentences in order to lighten the point, ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

Using “no” to emphasize a negative statement

We say something like He is no ordinary human being. This phrasing gives the negative more emphasis than usually given by negation device "not" He is not an ordinary human being. It is this ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Can there be a “handwritten paper”?

Yesterday, someone slipped this sloppily handwritten scrap of paper under my door. which (without the adverbs and fancy adjectives) essentially conveys this idea: Someone gave me a handwritten ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Should there be a comma in “In this talk, I will …”?

Should there be a comma when I write: "In this talk, I will briefly explain how to safely build a computer from scratch."
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I ask “What's up” in aristocratic style?

I need to write a letter in an old manner. I suppose like the beginning of the 19th century. So what was the regular phrase to get a news?
6
votes
2answers
116 views

“process used to manufacture Atinumab” vs. “manufacturing process of Atinumab”

Analysis of the stability of the process used to manufacture Atinumab, substance-solution. Analysis of the stability of the manufacturing process of Atinumab, substance-solution. Which one is ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

When does one write a number as words and when as digits?

I think I heard somewhere a rule that says "numbers up to twelve should be spelled out, numbers above can be written numerically" but not only do I not remember if that was exactly how the rule went, ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

How to invite a couple when I don't know husband's name?

On an invitation card... Mr and Mrs Jack Anderson works very well. It includes both Mr. Jack Anderson and his wife. The beauty of this style is, I need not know Jack's wife's name. Here, Jack is ...
5
votes
1answer
575 views

When is “'s” needed after a possessive “of”? [duplicate]

From a dictionary and a usage guide, I learnt that these phrases are OK: the home of a schoolteacher the sister of the Duke of Urbino a friend of my mother's a cousin of Lorna Cook'...
5
votes
3answers
34k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
48 views

“says Vitali, a dagger at his hip”

From: Putin's biker gang lends muscle to rebel cause in east Ukraine by Maxime Popov: But in the club's sleeping quarters, Kalashnikovs still sit at the end of members' beds. "We are ready for ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

“The Collins French Gem Grammar” and “Collins French Gem Grammar” — why use an article?

Source: The Collins French Gem Grammar offers the learner of French extensive coverage of French grammar in a compact, portable format with a clear, colour layout. Collins French Gem Grammar has ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

How does a native speaker choose one word over its synonym(s)?

In a recent speech, Senator Ted Cruz said: ... And under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. Would it have also been correct to use synonyms such as obtain, secure,...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

equal size, equal-size or equally-sized?

What of the following is the most correct and best styled?: There is a desert with two equal size water pools. There is a desert with two equal-size water pools. There is a desert with two ...
4
votes
3answers
84 views

Acknowledging someone had an impact on your choice of career

In the acknowledgements section of my thesis, I just wrote: I would like to thank my supervisor X [...]. To a large extent, it is to his credit that I found my way into the field of Y and I am very ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

Combining a sentence

Mike takes small weapon and inserts into his jacket. I want to make the above sentence into one single sentence without the conjunction. I guess I'm not aware of some word. That's I'm finding it ...
4
votes
3answers
642 views

'any' vs. 'all' in “the best of 'any'/'all' generation[s]”

All I ask is a chance to prove I'm as good as the best of "any" generation. All I ask is a chance to prove I'm as good as the best of "all" generations. Both 1—quoted from The New York ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Title capitalization of hyphenated words

I always see the following titles differently and I want to know about what is the proper capitalization of title words when joined by a hyphen (dash): Object-[o]riented Programming or ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

Can I start a sentence with 'and'

Is it appropriate to start a sentence with 'and'? We like to do it in my language. It emphasizes that the action in the sentence is a continuation of the previous. And it makes the flow of ideas more ...
4
votes
2answers
295 views

When does an exclamation mark come midway in a sentence?

In this article, I found the following sentence: Specifically, Hello, which was U+0048 U+0065 U+006C U+006C U+006F, will be stored as 48 65 6C 6C 6F, which, behold! is the same as it was stored ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

Usage of word ME with nouns

I found a strange usage of word ME reading one book and I wonder what the author means. I thought this could be a misspelling of word MY but it happens alot. Or is it a special addition to show that ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Which goes in parentheses? An abbreviation or a full form?

When we provide the full name of a term, and define its abbreviation, which one goes in parentheses? The full form or the abbreviation? I have observed both! If both are OK, which one is more formal? ...
3
votes
4answers
442 views

Avoiding subject repetition in the body of a business letter

I've been attending translation courses, and our business writing teacher has been drilling us to avoid the repetition of subject nouns referring to the sender (a company, as a rule) - not in some ...
3
votes
2answers
94 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is using “while” instead of “whereas” discouraged in academic writing?

Some time ago, I was participating in a course for academic paper writing in which the professor cautioned the students against using while instead of whereas. It was surprising for me; I supposed ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do we need “as” in “as listed in the following table”?

Some strings that have a special meaning, as listed in the following table: (and then here goes that table the presence of which is irrelevant to my question) I can't understand why we need that as ...
3
votes
2answers
475 views

Phrase choice: “lay/were lying” vs. “were laid (out)”

We helped ourselves to the snacks that lay on the table. We helped ourselves to the snacks that were laid (out) on the table. The first sentence notes the position of the snacks with no mention ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Is “precipitating cause” a pleonasm?

While writing a medical article, in sources I used I encountered the phrase precipitating cause several times. One of the definitions of to precipitate is: to make something serious happen ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Why make a suggestion rather than asserting it?

A few days ago, I posted a question in a different community where I observed an interesting piece of sentence. Here's the link. In the first comment: "there's a lot of restrictions on using ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

Is 'Thanks to' a Gallicism to be avoided?

I wrote the following sentence describing how a floating window is docked inside a parent window on a program's user interface It usually shares this space with ArcMap’s TOC thanks to a tab at its ...
3
votes
1answer
814 views

Omitting repeated words like “have”, “has” and “his”

His veins have become distended, muscles tightened, the teeth grown a little like claws, and his face has become rough. This sentence describes what changes in appearance have happened to a person ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“Behind each other's back” <— is 'other's back' correct here?

People are always talking about each other behind each other's back. Should be other's or others' or if they are both ok, and why? Should be back or backs here? The effect of each other is ...
3
votes
1answer
211 views

Using “of” or apostrophe, which is more common?

Sometimes when I write, for example, "the boundaries of segments", I am suggested to use "segments' boundaries" or even "segment boundaries". Or "the page's content" vs. "the content of the page" vs....
3
votes
2answers
437 views

Is it necessary to repeat “had” in the following sentence?

I followed the dog. Luckily, as if it had become tired, or (had) reached its desired spot, it stopped. Do I need the second had? Why or why not?
3
votes
2answers
210 views

'not only reflected …, but also the fact that …'

I found this sentence: Margaret Thatcher’s legendary nickname Laura Norder not only reflected her political preferences, but also the fact that, like most of her compatriots, she pronounces law and ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Performing several actions on the same thing - “(verb) it, (verb) it and (verb) it” OR “(verb), (verb) and (verb) it.”

I was writing some answers on other SE communities, when I find myself writing: Test it, learn from it and improve it. 1) Is it okay the repetead use of "it"? 2) Are there cases when it is ...
3
votes
2answers
252 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
477 views

Is using unnecessarily long words bad practice? [closed]

From my country's Biology board book: The scientific naming of an organism is accomplished in accordance with some rules and regulations set internationally. which essentially means Some ...
2
votes
2answers
584 views

“He became, as the Guinness Book of World Records called him” - is it okay to repeat the pronoun?

Is "him" required in the following sentence? Little confused. He became, as the Guinness Book of World Records called him, "the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world."
2
votes
2answers
6k views

How to avoid multiple “of-phrases” in one sentence?

I often find myself inclined to write something like the following: Let's think about this problem from the point of view of readability and self-obvious design. Two *of*s, which come one after ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

How to tell a professor “I read your paper and I enjoyed to read it”?

When I write an email to a professor asking a question about one of his publications, what is a proper way to say that I loved the paper / enjoyed reading it? "I enjoyed reading your paper from year ...
2
votes
2answers
224 views

Numbers: ordinals and cardinals

I would be grateful if anyone could help. I'm confused about using ordinal and cardinal numbers in such examples: If I want to get a larger size of shoes, what should I ask for? Can I have forty-...
2
votes
1answer
92 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
votes
2answers
54 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
519 views

Enhancing unclear sentence

I feel that this sentence is awkward, The nature of convergences of topological relations of plane adjacencies, allowing for the reconstruction of roof corner geometries with preserved ...
2
votes
2answers
278 views

Does the following sentence have redundancy?

"There are loads you can lift by the strength of the natural power with which you are born" Is the phrase "the strength of your natural power" redundant, or 'too literary?' Thank you!