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English in Writing
Советы эпизодическому переводчику
Обдумайте советы Н. Хайема
В недавней популярной брошюре Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, которую написал Nicholas J. Higham, собраны многие полезные наблюдения. Вот некоторые из них, относящиеся к нашей теме.Certain adjectives have an absolute meaning and cannot be qualified by words such as less, quite, rather and very.... However, essentially unique is an acceptable term in mathematical writing: it means unique up to some known transformations.(Обратите внимание на авторскую расстановку знаков препинания, отличную от обсуждаемой в гл. 29.)
Use an adjective only if it earns its place. The adjectives very, rather, quite, nice and interesting should be used with caution in technical writing, as they are imprecise.
Try to avoid using nouns as adjectives.
An adverb that is overworked in mathematical writing is essentially .... A valid use of essentially is in the expression "essentially the same as", which by convention in scientific writing means "the same, except for minor details".-al and -age .... The suffix tends to give a more abstract meaning, which makes it more difficult to use the word correctly.
The Lax Equivalence Theorem is quite different from a lax equivalence theorem!
...the trend is not to hyphenate compound words beginning with prefixes such as multi, pre, post, non, pseudo and semi.
Contractions such as it's, let's, can't and don't are not used in formal works.
Small integers should be spelled out when used as adjectives ("The three lemmas"), but not when used as names or numbers ("The median age is 43" or "This follows from Theorem 3"). The number 1 is a special case, for often "one" or "unity" reads equally well or better....
Here are some words and phrases whose omission often improves a sentence: actually, very, really, currently, in fact, thing, without doubt.
The exclamation mark should be used with extreme caution in technical writing. If you are tempted to exclaim, read "!" as "shriek"; nine times out of ten you will decide a full stop is adequate.
Try not to begin a sentence with there is or there are. These forms of the verb be make a weak start to a sentence.... Also worth avoiding, if possible, are "It is" openers, such as "It is clear that" and "It is interesting to note that". If you can find alternative wordings, your writing will be more fresh and lively.
... I recommend the rule "if in doubt use the present tense".
... in mathematical writing "we" is by far the most common choice of personal pronoun.... "We" can be used in the sense of "the reader and I".... Whether you choose "I" or "we", you should not mix the two in a single document, except, possibly, when using the "reader and I" form of "we".
"One", as in "one can show that..." is often used, but is perhaps best avoided because of its vague, impersonal nature.