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

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68
votes
11answers
10k views

Using “we have” in maths papers

I commonly want to use the phrase "we have" when writing mathematics, to mean something like "most readers will know this thing and I am about to use it". My primary question is whether this is too ...
60
votes
5answers
2k views

How are mathematicians taught to write with such an expository style?

I wasn't sure if this question was appropriate for MSE. One of the major complaints we see in industry is a person's ability to communicate which includes writing. We see the same thing on questions ...
39
votes
5answers
3k views

How to write a good mathematical paper?

I hesitate to ask this question. However I read many advices from math.stackexchange, and I couldn't find anything similar. A good time always goes too fast! Two years are fled. In the third year of ...
26
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 ...
21
votes
8answers
3k views

LaTeX/TeX Vs. Mathematica for Typesetting [on hold]

I know Mathematica like the back of my hand, but I do not know a speck of $\LaTeX$ or $\TeX$. With regards to mathematical typesetting, is there something significant I can do in $\LaTeX$/$\TeX$ that ...
18
votes
4answers
719 views

Advice for writing good mathematics?

It's been a (far-fetched, possibly) goal of mine to some day write a math Textbook. I've been thinking about writing this question for a while, but reading an exceedingly mediocre text on Mathematical ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Mathematical writing: why should we not use the phrase “we have that”?

In Knuth's Mathematical Writing, he writes on page 2, at number 8: Don't omit "that" when it helps the reader to parse the sentence. Bad: Assume $A$ is a group. Good: Assume ...
16
votes
14answers
2k views

What are better words to use in an article than “obvious”?

I've heard often than it is ill-form to use the word "obvious" in a research paper. I was hoping to gather a list of less offensive words that mean generally the same thing. For example, one that I ...
16
votes
3answers
723 views

Starting sentences with mathematical symbols.

I apologise if this is a duplicate in any way or is too opinion-based. To what extent is it best not to start a sentence with a mathematical symbol? I find that when trying to solve a problem or ...
12
votes
8answers
252 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
651 views

Short forms like “haven't”, “don't”, “let's” [closed]

Is it true that short forms like "haven't", "don't", "let's" should not be used in serious mathematical texts?
11
votes
8answers
866 views

Book about technical and academic writing

I'm in the process of writing my Master's Thesis on automata theory. The writing must be in English which isn't my mother tongue. So the question is, given that this is my first time long (hundred ...
11
votes
0answers
296 views

Papers with unorthodox writing style

I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question, in any case probably CW is appropriate? I've been looking around the mathblogosphere for the past few weeks and ran into mathgen. It's ...
8
votes
3answers
379 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
352 views

What is “observation”?

Often in mathematical writing one encounters texts like ''..we observe that this-and-that..''. Also one may find a review report basically saying ''..the paper is just a chain of observations...''. ...
6
votes
4answers
346 views

Should I include obvious steps in mathematical paper?

I am writing a formal school paper (by formal I mean, with an abstract, a bibliography and 20 pages in length) on mathematics (it is called 'Extended Essay,' for those having knowledge of the ...
6
votes
4answers
501 views

Are there rules in the useage of prepositions in Math?

It is often to use prepositions in various expressions. E.g. $2$ is in the set of natural numbers $\mathbb N$ The symmetric group on 3 letters $S_3$ is the group consisting of all possible ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

How to properly mention names and surnames when writing introductions

I am writing a historical introduction to my master's thesis. Therefore I am mentioning a lot of people and I don't want to write their full name and surname each time. However, I cannot write their ...
6
votes
0answers
101 views

Use of “I” in mathematics papers

Some people consider the use of "I" in a paper to be a great evil. Others, however, consider the use of the passive voice to be an even greater evil. I will be presenting a paper at a competition, ...
5
votes
2answers
264 views

Writing computer code in a mathematics paper.

I have some computer computations (using GAP) in my research which I would like to write in the paper. How should I go about it? Should I include the full working code or just the major algorithms? ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How could I type “not exist” by Latex? [closed]

How could I type "not exist" by Latex? (I can type ``$\exists$''.) Thanks for your help.
5
votes
4answers
174 views

Why does nobody use the deduction symbols $A \Rightarrow B \Rightarrow C \Rightarrow D$ in their thesis/dissertation?

I am studying for a Master's degree of mathematics. There are some deduction in my thesis is written as the following form. $A $ $\Rightarrow B $ $ \Rightarrow C $ $ \Rightarrow D $ But my ...
5
votes
2answers
67 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
262 views

Basic guidance to write a mathematical article.

I'm trying to put together a mathematical article on how to obtain certain infinite series for some well known functions by a method of integrals (I like to call it "The Integral Method" - thank you), ...
5
votes
1answer
91 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Referencing Lemma before introducing it

I am always confused about this: When I am writing a paper I would like to first provide the big picture and then address some detail issues. On the other hand, I think it's common knowledge that ...
5
votes
0answers
127 views

Writing an abstract for a conference

For the first time, I'm preparing a 2-page abstract, jointly with a faculty member, to submit to a conference in mathematical logic so that the committee can decide if they allow me to present the ...
4
votes
2answers
502 views

Smart Pen For Math Writing

Next month I will begin to learn in the university, and I am not sure if to buy smart pen such as Livescribe or Logitech IO 1/2 to write math with.(handwriting is not an option) The problem is that I ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

When writing a mathematical model for non-mathematical audiences, how do you begin a sentence defining a variables and parameters?

Say you are writing a mathematical modeling paper in a science journal. How do you write your variable and parameter definitions in paragraph form so that you keep active voice but do not sound ...
3
votes
2answers
224 views

Can mathematical definitions of the form “P if Q” be interpreted as “P if and only if Q”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Alternative ways to say “if and only if”? So when I come across mathematical definitions like "A function is continuous if...."A space is compact ...
3
votes
3answers
168 views

Shorthand for $0<i<1$ , $0<j<1$, $0<k<1$

Is it good style to write $0<i<1$, $0<j<1$, $0<k<1$ as $0<i,j,k<1$? The following does not seem so clear: $0<i,j<1$ as it may be interpreted as: $0<i $ and $ ...
3
votes
1answer
204 views

Commas separating adjectives to describe mathematical objects.

Is there a convention which rules that in mathematics an object with some properties should be referred to as a "property 1 property 2 property 3 ...object" rather than a "property 1, property 2, ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

When to begin a new paragraph?

When writing a mathematical article, when should someone begin a new paragraph? Is there some specific rule or convention? And more generally, what rules are there about articles-writing?
3
votes
1answer
58 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

writing papers: definition in word or formula?

If we write papers, is it or is it not desirable to write definitions in formulas AND words. So if I want to define the following set: $$S:=\{ x \in \mathbb{N} : P(x) \}$$ where $P$ is some predicate ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Commas between adjectives [duplicate]

Is it correct to use these expressions without commas (as written below)? A finite simple group. A finitely generated abelian group. A finitely generated torsion-free abelian group. A ...
3
votes
1answer
273 views

Writing small numbers in Articles [closed]

In primary school I learned that numbers less than 13 should be spelled out in writing. I am suddenly not sure anymore, how I should handle this situation when it comes to article writing in ...
3
votes
0answers
69 views

Program for writing a Bachelor Thesis. [closed]

Hello Im prolly going to start writing my bachelor thesis really soon (on geometric ergodicidy). It will obviously contain lots of mathematical formulas and symbols. Does anyone know a really good ...
2
votes
3answers
184 views

Publishing an article after a book?

If I first publish an article, afterward I may publish a book containing materials from the article. What's about the reverse: If I first publish a book does it make sense to publish its fragment as ...
2
votes
3answers
117 views

Should I put interpunction after formulas?

I am presently doing my first substantial piece of mathematical writing, hence this, probably somewhat silly, question. How does display-style mathematics interact with punctuation? More ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

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

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
61 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

Is it bad math style to use the same index symbol in different indexed objects?

The title says it all (I'm referring to the case, when writing for example an article to be published or something similar - something where the writing itself should also be of quality). Example: ...
2
votes
3answers
52 views

Is there a list of typical variable letters to use in a given context?

I try to write math notes as clearly as possible. In practice, this means using letters and notation similar to what the reader is already familiar with. A real function is often $f(x)$, an angle is ...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

Notation for definition and equivalence

I would like some clarification about the usage/meaning of $:=$ and $\equiv$. I have been using $A := B$ to denote "Let $A$ be defined as $B$." This is akin to assignment ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

An article for some undergraduate journal

I'm a student and last year I attended some courses about algebraic geometry. Referring to many books, I wrote personal notes explaining the Cech cohomology of sheaves and some of its applications in ...
2
votes
1answer
34 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

what is the most attractive font to use in a mathematical document? [closed]

I write most of my documents in Word with Equation Editor and would like the output to be of Latex quality. How can I achieve this and what would be the best fonts to use?
2
votes
2answers
34 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
60 views

First hand written draft Or LaTex typed draft; when some one want to publish?

When some one solve a math research problem and want to publish it somewhere; of course one should type it in LaTex. My Question: What should be the ideal way(time) to type it, I mean first one ...