Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Quoting from this excellent answer:

If you read enough math papers you'll find that there are certain linguistic ticks that people pick up from each other

So here's a question (primarily for you native English speakers out there, I guess):

Are there any particularly annoying language mistakes that you often see in mathematical writing (presumably by foreigners who are copying the mistake from other foreigners)?

A list of common errors to avoid might be useful to us non-native speakers. As an example of what I have in mind, I can mention a phrase that sounds wrong to my ears, but which I have come across countless times: "This allows to prove...".

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Grigory M, BBischof, Robin Chapman, Rasmus, BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 16 '10 at 22:32

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
For wiki-ing I suppose. –  J. M. Aug 16 '10 at 15:15
3  
Is this math related? Or at least should be put as CW? –  Graviton Aug 16 '10 at 15:15
    
Do the people pick up tics or tricks? :-) –  yatima2975 Aug 16 '10 at 15:34
2  
I haven't voted to close, but please make this CW. –  Akhil Mathew Aug 16 '10 at 16:32
    
"This allows to prove..." does seem pretty common. "Allow" in this sense is a transitive verb, and requires a direct object: "This allows us to prove..." –  Nate Eldredge Aug 16 '10 at 16:57
show 4 more comments

1 Answer 1

One that confused me greatly when I first found it was "We ignore if X is true." I read it as "We disregard whether X is true," which made no sense in context. Eventually I realized the authors meant "We do not know if X is true." I suppose this corresponds to the fact that "to ignore" and "to be ignorant" have different meanings in English despite having the same (Latin?) root.

share|improve this answer
1  
I ignore if it is appropriate to comment on a year-old answer, but I assume that this has French roots: on ignore si $X$ est vrai is commonly used both in written and spoken French. –  t.b. Aug 23 '11 at 22:00
4  
This should have been made CW, not closed. –  Mike Jones Sep 1 '11 at 21:22
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.