# Common English language mistakes in mathematical writing [closed]

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...".

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

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For wiki-ing I suppose. –  Guess who it is. Aug 16 '10 at 15:15
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
I haven't voted to close, but please make this CW. –  Akhil Mathew Aug 16 '10 at 16:32
This looks like it will be closed, so I'll just mention J.S. Milne's page on Misused Words (his Tips are also good to read). –  ShreevatsaR Aug 16 '10 at 17:00

## 1 Answer

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.

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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
This should have been made CW, not closed. –  Mike Jones Sep 1 '11 at 21:22
Another confusing Frenchism is the usage of “application” instead of “mapping”. –  Emil Jeřábek Jan 17 at 13:52