Hot answers tagged

44

The Economist is a serious publication. Its stated mission is: “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. Such a mission demands a high intellectual level of journalism and can be expected to demand high educational standards amongst its readers. It does ...


28

Yes, the prose feels "artificially complex" because it's "literary nonfiction." Your frustration is completely understandable. You can read sophisticated scientific publications and absorb information-dense Wikipedia articles easily, but this article feels awkward for you to read. The prose in the article could indeed be described as "artificially complex," ...


27

No. Google as a verb should not be capitalized. Because if you put 'G' capital, you mean the word 'Google' as a company (proper noun). You cannot company something. I found this on Wikipedia. It's useful. The first recorded usage of google used as a participle, thus supposing an intransitive verb, was on July 8, 1998, by Google co-founder Larry Page himself,...


27

Yes, The Economist is difficult, but whether it is demanding will depend on what other prose you consume on a regular basis, and how much of it. I do not find it gratuitously abstruse in the way I do academic writing, something Pinker and others have criticized, for example. There are a variety of English readability formulae, variously flawed but widely ...


23

No. The title of a question is not like a book title, but more like a sectional heading. It should be written as a sentence and use sentence case. Title case is used in such thing as titles of books. For example: "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (Note that little words like "and", "the" aren't capitalised) Some ...


19

This writing is intended to show the high education level of the writer, and it's also very dense. For example, in the first sentence, SEPAHUA, a ramshackle town on the edge of Peru's Amazon jungle, nestles in a pocket on the map where a river of the same name flows into the Urubamba. You learn many things: Sepahua is the name of a town. It's ...


17

Actually "handwritten paper" is fine, although in this case "paper" does not mean the physical material but rather a school essay or other written assignment. See definition 4 or 7 here. Example: She handed in her paper late, but her teacher still gave her an A. However it's not a phrase you hear much these days. See this Ngram as an example -- note ...


16

Neither of those sentences is incorrect, and I'd venture to say they do not even sound awkward. Using the same word twice in a sentence – particularly when the word in question is a preposition – won't cause a native reader to blink twice. There are even a few words in English that are used back-to-back once in a while, such as had and that: The two had had ...


15

The above example is not a complex one the context neither in vocabulary. But its sentences are composed in an unnatural way. So the question is: Are any native speakers with a bachelor degree able to flow the Economist as smooth as Wikipedia articles? To answer the question: I would expect that any native speaker with a bachelor's would be able to ...


13

The choice is entirely up to you. Usually, a comma is placed after an introductory adverbial (here: in this talk) if that adverbial is long. By placing a comma you then improve the readability of your sentence. In your case, the comma is not necessary, but if you do place it you're telling the reader to pause briefly when reaching the comma. Without the ...


13

The Economist is an older newspaper that transformed into a magazine. Like most magazines in the Age of the Internet it also offers its articles on a website. The Economist publishes a 200+ page style guide---a self-professed "Bestselling guide to English usage"---that is now in its 11th edition. The magazine also attempts to ensure a uniform voice in its ...


13

Use of capitals in titles is much more common in the US than in Britain; I've no idea what the conventions are in other countries. In the UK, people find the typography of headlines in US newspapers (today's NYT has Now It’s Not Safe at Home Either. Wildfires Bring Ashen Air Into the House) jarring and rather antiquated (and no-one knows why "at" ...


11

This problem has to do with the use of commas, and not so much with the phrase "such that". "Such that" is considered equal to "so that" in meaning, but "so that" is more common and preferred. "Such that" is really formal. Commas are usually used to separate independent parts of a sentence. Because of the dependence that "such that" and "so that" have on ...


11

No Here's the same passage written plainly. Sepahua is a ramshackle town on the edge of Peru's border in the Amazon jungle. It's situated behind a fork of two rivers, the Sepahua, with which it shares its name, and the Urubamba. The area is home to a tiny patch of legally loggable land surrounded by natural reserves rich in mahogany, and accessible from ...


10

The historically accurate answer. The common 19th century way to ask "what's been happening?" or "what is new?" or "what is the latest news?" is one of the following: "What news?" (Read it again, no mistake or typo was made!) This informal idiom is often used when a person newly arrives, especially from town, a more distant place or time, or as a request ...


9

The sentences are complex, with multiple clauses and modifiers, but they're mostly pretty straight forward. The most confusing thing about the passage you quote is that it first says "a ramshackle town ... nestles in a pocket on the map." Here it's using figurative language, treating a map as actually containing land. But then it says "That pocket denotes", ...


9

For what it's worth, as a native English speaker with a Bachelor's degree in IT-related gubbins, I find the quoted text to be perfectly natural and easy to read. I detect no artificiality about it. Is it structured in the way that you'd hear a 14-year old drug addict talking "on the streets"? Or in the way that a five-paragraph blog written as clickbait may ...


7

The main reason for which this method was created is to avoid repetition of the full name. You will write first the full name followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Later on, whenever want to use the term in text, write only the abbreviation. Recently, I have found an useful link to the American Society for Microbiology’s site where are discussed ...


7

An in-depth answer to this question could probably fill a book; I'm just going to scratch the surface. As native speakers (of any language, certainly not just English) learn their language, they form an intricate network of associations with and between all of the words they know in their language. These associations become so ingrained in the native ...


7

You are asking this on a language-related SE site, but in addition to language, this could be seen as a question about the customs on SE. (Along with such questions as "should one include 'Hello' and 'Thank you' as part of questions posted here".) From that viewpoint, the answer is easy to gather: just now, I glanced at the "Hot Network ...


6

As a native English speaker, I would suggest something along these lines: I really enjoyed your paper from 1980 on the mating habits of lemmings. or I really enjoyed your paper titled: "Lemmings--The Randy Devils," that you published in 1980. You mentioned 'love' in your original question, so there is no need to hold back on using 'really enjoyed' ...


6

I searched the The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) (1990-2012) for both google and googling, then used a script to count how many occurrences of each were capitalized. Here's what I found: Googled 134 googled 17 Googling 83 googling 19 So most occurrences (86%) in this corpus are still capitalized. This, I think, ...


6

The correct usage is "At what time will the class start tomorrow?" You could also say "When does the class start tomorrow?" That is more colloquial. "At what time..." is more correct but a little formal. You can also say "At what hour..." but that is rather old-fashioned now. "In what time" is used to query duration. For example: "In what time can you run ...


6

There are many ways to express this, but to focus on the ways that use the words and expressions in your example: "To a large extent" is fine. It's a standard idiom that means "mostly" and works in this context. However, "to his credit" seems a bit off. I credit someone with something positive, for example: I credit him with helping me invent the ...


6

This is a matter of style. In an interesting 2010 blog post that touched on this topic, one writer quoted from the style guide of the New York Times: Use apostrophes for plurals of abbreviations that have capital letters and periods: M.D.’s, C.P.A.’s. Also use apostrophes for plurals formed from single letters: He received A’s and B’s on his report card. ...


5

While it is true that we generally avoid using the same word multiple times in one sentence, this rule is not generally applied to short words like articles and prepositions. I don't see anything wrong with "point of view of readability", and I don't think most English speakers would even notice the two "of"s. That said, if it really bothers you, one ...


5

Both sentences are correct and sound very natural to native speakers. It is not incorrect to use the same word multiple times.


5

Ignore people telling you what Google the company would like. Even with all their money to pay the best lawyers in the world, they're not going to affect the eventual position. They're currently holding the line... ...but it's a racing cert they'll end up following in the footsteps of Heroin, Aspirin, and Hoover... (The Hoover company was slow off the mark ...


5

You definitely do not want to use diversion here. Intransitive use of divert is pretty rare, and is usually used for airline flights or other deviations from the planned itinerary of a journey; and diversion itself usually means a trivial or entertaining activity. We must digress, to explain... is the simplest way of expressing this meaning; but I suspect ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible