Various aspects of writing mathematics such as style, notation, grammar, frequently used phrases and common mistakes.

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9
votes
4answers
550 views

How to learn/speak “mathematical english”?

Good day! I was wondering if there is a good way to learn "maths in english". I am studying mathematics in Germany (I am from Germany, so english is not my native language) and have recently started ...
19
votes
4answers
563 views

Why do single-author math papers use “we” instead of “I”? [duplicate]

Even when math papers are authored by one person, you will see stuff like "We now prove so and so" or "In the following section, we show that...". How come papers with one author use "we" instead of ...
0
votes
1answer
15 views

Placement of quantifiers in a symbolic statement

I have the statement: Let $A_n$ be an indexed set of numbers defined by $A_n = n\mathbb{Z}_{\geq m}$ for $n,m \in \mathbb{Z}$. Consider the claim C: For all $n$, if $x,y$ is in $A_n$, then ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What is an adjective for “weaker than weak”?

I defined a notion (say, some kind of equivalence) in three forms, the first implies the second, which in turn implies the third. I would like to use "strong", (nothing), and "weak" to describe them. ...
0
votes
2answers
22 views

Proper use of indicator function

Given a set $X$ and a subset $A \subseteq X$ the indicator function $\boldsymbol{1}_{A} : X \rightarrow \{0,1\}$ of $A$ is defined as $$\boldsymbol{1}_{A}(x) = \begin{cases} 1 & \text{if } x \in A ...
8
votes
1answer
57 views

Is there a standard name for this “continuous induction” principle?

I am working on a paper, and I want to prove that some statement $P(x)$ holds for every value of a parameter $x \in [0,\infty)$. I plan to proceed as follows: Show that $P(0)$; Show that if $P(x)$ ...
7
votes
3answers
75 views

Formal writing in math: equations

What is the formally correct way to solve a bunch of equations in math? Is it \begin{align} 42x = 4324 \\ x = 4324/42 \end{align} or \begin{align} 42x = 4324 \\ \Rightarrow x = 4324/42 \end{align} or ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Is there a name for this curve? Or, how should I describe the behavior of this graph (in words)?

I simulated some results that look like this: but I don't want to include the plot (my advisor is keeping me to a strict limit on figures and these are minor intermediate results). Is there a name ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

How should I describe this limiting operation in an equation

In the code I've written, I receive a delta between two position vectors, I then limit this delta by a maximum delta and return the value. To be clear: the direction of the vector remains the same, ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Referencing a Theorem in a Paper?

I'm making the final edits for a paper and I have a question more about the etiquette. I want to use a theorem from another paper and its obvious I have to cite it, but do I need to prove it too? I ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Writing finite field notation

I am trying to write about finite fields in a word document, and although usually writing in latex form works, it's not in this case. It works fine here: $\mathbb{F}$: I used \mathbb{F} But it ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

References of papers published in ArXiv

To prove a theorem I use a result of a paper published in ArXiv. This paper has also been accepted for publication in a journal. In reference I must mention the arXiv or the journal where the paper ...
3
votes
0answers
66 views

In a math paper, what is a remark?

I sometimes see paragraphs labeled 'Remark.' However, papers that include remarks also include unlabeled explanatory paragraphs (i.e. all the other writing in the article) that seem to be remarks. ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

Is there a published standard for the sectioning of math papers?

Most papers seem to use sections (e.g. 3) and sub-sections (e.g. 3.1). Is there a published standard that says what sort of thing warrants its own section and what sort of thing warrants its own ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

Formulating equation for distances between atoms

I'm trying to formulate notation to describe code that calculates the distances between protein atoms (represented as points in 3D space). Fragments consist of residues (amino acids) and each residue ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

The use of “consistent with”.

This is a simple question about writing but I'm a little bit confused now about the logic in using "consistent with". The context is as follows: We first derive a formula for a special case, say, for ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

a.s. for all $t$ or for all $t$ a.s.?

Assume that we have some equality, $$ X (t) = Y(t). \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad (1) $$ I imagine that if I say "(1) holds a.s. for all $t>0$" it means that $$ P\{X (t) = Y(t) ...
17
votes
8answers
1k views

Undergraduate Research Thesis

1. General background information ★ At my university [whose name I will omit] the following practices are customary: ● During their third year of study, students have approximately $4$ ...
-1
votes
1answer
116 views

Is the phrase “recall that…” an abuse? [closed]

I love how in some proofs delivered formally or informally, you would always encounter the phrase "recall that". The irony here is that you precisely do not recall this notion or formula e.g. the ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

What are best practices when writing (sub)equations?

I wonder when it's preferred or better to use subequations instead of normal equations. I.e. when to use 'normally' numbered equations (e.g. (1), (2), ...) and when to use subequations (e.g. (1a), ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Notation and Quantifiers

I was wondering what is a natural way to write certain formal expressions, without make them look too cumbersome. In particular, what I learned from various books is that, when we deal with the ...
16
votes
3answers
293 views

Good examples of mathematical writing (structural organization, style, typesetting, and so on)

A very famous question on MathOveflow asks for examples of good mathematical writing. Here, I'd like to narrow down the topic and ask: $\color{#c00}{\text{Question:}}$ Could you point ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

$1,2,\cdots,n$ or $1,\cdots,n$?

In mathematical writing, when should one write "$1,2,\cdots,n$" and when should one write "$1,\cdots,n$"? It seems to me that writing $1,2,\cdots,n$ is actually wrong if $n=1$ is allowed. When ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

“a” RKHS or “an RKHS” [closed]

I am confused if I should use "a" or "an" before RKHS (reproducing kernel Hilbert space). Since "R" is not a vowel, I think I should use "a". But I saw both on Wikipedia. Can you tell me which is ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

A basic question of basic writing

When we define some term by a notation starting with the word "define" or "let", which of the following is correct? Define $A=x+2y$; or, define $A \equiv x+2y$.
2
votes
2answers
230 views

Using Comma in if…then Conditional Sentences

Many English grammar books state that in an "if ... then" conditional sentence, the word then should be preceded by a comma. However, in mathematical writing I often see that this rule is ignored. ...
12
votes
4answers
222 views

Checking that a $3$-D diagram is commutative

When proving certain results I need to use commutative diagrams, some of which quite complicated. My question is: Do we need to check every small square all the time to make sure that they are all ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Name the maps in a commutative diagram

When writing a formal paper sometimes one needs to construct complicated commutative diagrams, such as My question is, should one always give names to all maps in the diagram (perhaps except those ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

The word “onto” - adjective?

According to Oxford English dictionary, the word "onto" is preposition only but I see it used as an adjective in mathematical writings. I think it is grammatically correct to say that "$f$ maps $X$ ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

How to write in mathematical symbols the expression “range over”

My question is really simple, how can I write symbolically this phrase: $x=\sum a_mx^m$ where $m$ range over $\{1,\ldots,g\}\setminus\{t_1,\ldots,t_u\}$ Being more specific, I would like to ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

What is the terminology for “lemma of lemma”

Let's say I need to prove a main theorem, to prove which I need three lemmas. Thus in writing the structure is as follows: Lemma 1 Proof Lemma 2 Proof Lemma 3 Proof ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

How to denote sum over partitions?

How does one denote a sum of partitions of an integer when writing an article? For example, I have a formula regarding an integer-valued variable (say q=5), and I need to write an expression of the ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

What is the difference between an **Article** and a **Paper**? [closed]

What is the difference between an Article and a Paper? Is there anybody(or journal) which will evaluate our article? My thought I am thinking that an article is just explaining or giving details of ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Functions whose codomain's form depends from the element taken from the domain

As in the title, I have a notational problem regarding functions whose codomain directly depends on the elements taken from the domain. Here there is an example. Let $X$ be a set with $x \in X$. Let ...
8
votes
3answers
453 views

Instructive examples of elegant, clear, rigorous, terse, but “non-dull” mathematical prose

On the "About" page of the Mathgen project one can read: "More seriously, I think this project says something about the very small and stylized subset of English used in mathematical writing. ...
2
votes
3answers
86 views

What kind of definitions need be introduced in a PhD thesis? [closed]

For all the terminology in mathematics, I am not sure where to draw a line between those which need to be introduced in a PhD thesis and those which do not. For example, I suppose that in a PhD ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Should I rephase when quoting a theorem/definition?

Actually I would like to ask two questions and the answers may not be the same. When writing a paper and if one need to introduce a definition, is it alright to just copy-paste from wikipedia/a ...
0
votes
0answers
126 views

RSA and El Gamal Algorithms

I have to write a short report about RSA and El Gamal algorithms in cryptography. I just need to summarize them (how one would calculate the various components, what their strengths and weaknesses ...
27
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do proof authors use natural language sentences to write proofs?

I haven't read very many proofs. The majority of the ones that I've read, I've read in my first-year proofs textbook. Nevertheless, its first chapter expatiates on the proper use of English in ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Is there any good reason against referring to employed equations over the relation sign when establishing a new relation?

I need to write down a complicated proof for a paper, for which I need to employ equations that I established earlier for almost every new relation I show. I would consider it best for the reader, if ...
5
votes
2answers
85 views

Nuances of the word “proposition” (versus “theorem”) in mathematical writing

In mathematical writing, the word "Proposition" is often used to label lesser theorems. However, I tend to feel that there's a further difference in the way the words "Proposition" and "Theorem" are ...
2
votes
2answers
131 views

What does “of independent interest” mean in math papers?

Often I come across phrases like "We believe theorem $X$ is of independent interest"... I know this a phrase specific to math since I can google the phrase "of independent interest" and get mostly ...
13
votes
8answers
302 views

Mathematicians' manual of style

I know that there are many styles to write citations and footnotes and that they are all equally good (as long as the reference is complete), but I would like to know if mathematicians follow some ...
0
votes
2answers
145 views

Best practices in notation

I have already read A Primer of Mathematical Writing, by Steven Krantz which gives extremely good advice about writing mathematics. But I would like to collect some more specific suggestion about ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

What word means “the property of being holomorphic”?

As in the title, I am looking for a single word meaning "the property of being holomorphic". The obvious candidates are "holomorphy" and "holomorphicity" but both look wrong to my eye. ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Points 17 and 18 of Section 1 in Knuth's mathematical writing

I have two questions about Point 17 and 18 of Section 1 in Knuth's math. writing http://tex.loria.fr/typographie/mathwriting.pdf In Point 17, he says "Sentences should be readable from left to right ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Defining a ball

Which are appropriate phrases to define a ball? Let $B$ be the open ball of radius $r$ centered at $x$. Let $B$ be the open ball of radius $r$ around $x$. Let $B$ be the open ball of radius $r$ ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

On the usage of words instead of numbers to denote numbers

[To the best of my knowledge, I did not find any previous question that deals with this issue. I hope it is not a duplicate.] I have a problem with the way in which mathematicians sometime use ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

How to split long fraction?

I have a fraction with long numerator, $$ \frac{x1+\ldots+x50}{y}. $$ What is preferred in typing? Or something different? (1) $$\frac{x1+x2+}{}\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad\qquad(\text{first ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

What is the notation for a sub-expression?

For set theory, we have notation to denote subsets, e.g.: $$S \subset X$$ When working with expressions (arithmetic, Boolean, etc.), is there a notation to denote expression $S$ is a valid ...