The mathematical-writing tag has no usage guidance.

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### “Can't” and “don't” in a mathematical paper [migrated]

I am refereeing a paper (a good one) for a mathematical journal. The author repeatedly writes like this: "we can't do", "we don't know" etc. He is not a native English speaker, and this paper is his ...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### How to cite authors from any country correctly?

It has always seemed to me that the Mathematical Community gives a high importance to the act of properly citing an author (Do not write Erdos! It's Erdős. Cauchy must be read as in French, not as in ...

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votes

**3**answers

546 views

### “Let” versus “for all” [closed]

I have noticed that many authors tend to use "let" instead of "for all". For example, they write something like this:
Let $n$ be an even natural number. Then also $n^2$ is even.
I wonder, why ...

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votes

**29**answers

7k views

### Most intriguing mathematical epigraphs

Good epigraphs may attract more readers. Sometimes it is necessary.
Usually epigraphs are interesting but not intriguing.
To pick up an epigraph is some kind of nearly mathematical problem: it ...

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votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Mathematical writing : using an “out-of-date” notation

When I wrote my master's thesis, a professor who read it said that I should not use the phrase "A function of class $k$." but instead "A function of class $C^k$". I am not an expert about mathematical ...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### When to postpone a proof?

One possible practice in writing mathematics is to prove every theorem and lemma right after stating it.
A long, technical proof — and sometimes even a short one — can interrupt the flow ...

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votes

**3**answers

1k views

### How to write an abstract for a math paper? [closed]

How would you go about writing an abstract for a Math paper? I know that an abstract is supposed to "advertise" the paper. However, I do not really know how to get started. Could someone tell me how ...

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votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Style of mathematical writing vs. too many lemmas

I work in PDEs. I have now written 3 papers. I find my style is of the form: introduction, statement of results, paragraphs to introduce something, lemma, more text, lemma, more text, lemma, more ...

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votes

**0**answers

162 views

### When is it appropriate to name something a 'fundamental lemma'? [closed]

The term 'fundamental lemma' refers to many results in mathematics. I don't know too many results referred to by that name, but I am familiar with, for example, the 'fundamental lemma of sieve theory' ...

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votes

**17**answers

11k views

### Parodies of abstruse mathematical writing

Perhaps under the influence of a recent question
on perverse sheaves,
in conjunction with the impending $\pi$-day (3/14/15 at 9:26:53),
I recalled a long-ago parody of abstruse mathematical language
...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Different styles of writing/reading articles

Recently, I discovered a rather unexpected thing. We are writing an article in collaboration and we permanently have some discussions about how to write, in which order, how to organize material etc.
...

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**3**answers

983 views

### How to refer to plural of mathematical symbols - with or without an apostrophe [closed]

Which one is correct, $x_i$s or $x_i$'s?
Example sentence:
The $x_i$s form a sequence.
The $x_i$'s form a sequence.

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votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Collaboration or acknowledgment?

This post is a sequel of: When should a supervisor be a co-author?
This time the topic is about the interaction between two professional mathematicians (in particular junior-senior, but not ...

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votes

**3**answers

1k views

### How were formulas / images added to books in post-printing-press / pre-digital times?

I have seen that Euclid's Elements was written 300 BC and first set in type in 1482. Are there scans of that old versions available?
How were formulas / images added to the books created with ...

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votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Proof or citation?

I'm writing an article. I suppose that I'll submit it to a more or less decent journal (in English). I have doubts about the following: I have a lemma (with quite a trivial proof). I don't want to ...

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votes

**0**answers

636 views

### Good ways to organize old personal mathematical resources

I am wondering how the other Mathematicians organize their old mathematical resources, like calculation drafts, class and seminar notes etc.
These old resources may be related to a wide range of ...

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votes

**8**answers

1k views

### Should a theorem be numbered by where it is first stated or where it is proven?

Suppose I am writing a paper in which an important lemma has a proof which is either long and unenlightening or requires additional background of the reader (or both). Thus, to avoid disrupting the ...

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votes

**1**answer

283 views

### Choosing Notation for Variable Substitution into Derivative Expressed with Differentials [closed]

Consider function $f(x)$. I've counted 4 possible notations to write a derivative of $f(x)$ at point $x = a$:
$f'(a)$;
$\frac{\operatorname{d}{f(a)}}{\operatorname{d}x}$;
...

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votes

**3**answers

336 views

### Punctuation and Other Rules for Variables and Their Verbal Definitions in Math Narrative [closed]

To better understand what I'm asking about, let's immediately define some examples. Imagine that you are writing some paper which involves a lot of math narrative. And you have a term, say, computing ...

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votes

**0**answers

264 views

### Applied Math author order

In applied math it seems to be more common to list authors according to their contribution rather than alphabetically. This being the case, in the instance where there are more than 2 authors, I was ...

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votes

**1**answer

97 views

### Inserting maple or macaulay script in a paper [closed]

I see many wonderful papers where the authors include some script written in Maple, Macaulay or other software that are needed for their proof. How do you insert that in your tex file?

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votes

**1**answer

324 views

### Quoting mathreviews

I would like to credit a reviewer who made a very nice corollary to the paper he was reviewing. Is there any more or less common standard of quoting MathReviews? I would be most grateful for an ...

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votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What is a good poster for a math conference?

I'm going to participate to a conference and they ask me to do a poster on my research. I've never made a poster for a conference/seen a poster session in a conference. So what is important? What do ...

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votes

**2**answers

162 views

### How to write this result (successive Schur complements compose nicely)

There is an easy theorem in linear algebra that "successive Schur complementations compose nicely": for instance, let's say I have a matrix
$$
M_0=
\begin{bmatrix}
A & B & C \\ D & E & ...

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votes

**1**answer

476 views

### What is the correct preposition? (And is there one?)

I just stumbled upon a linguistic problem I wasn't able to resolve via web search. Suppose we're given some geometric set $A$ and subset $B\subset A$. Isn't there a compact way of saying that there ...

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votes

**2**answers

571 views

### Authorship, and order of authors [duplicate]

Currently I am writing a paper with several collaborators; although I am the primary author to this (I have done a large (>85%) majority of the work and have actually written the paper) my last name ...

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votes

**1**answer

781 views

### Equal signs with fancy marks

Some people use $\stackrel{\mathrm{def}}{=}$, $:=$ or $\stackrel{\Delta}{=}$ for definitions.
In more informal contexts, I have also seen $\stackrel{?}{=}$, for "I wish to prove this equality, which ...

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votes

**3**answers

936 views

### Writing Mathematics : Linking words

I'm trying to write mathematics in English and I'm clearly missing something : linking words. I'm writing "so, we get", "Observe that" too many times and I'm afraid to use some expressions : "it ...

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votes

**3**answers

834 views

### Where to break paragraphs in a proof?

I have some rules of thumb about writing research papers that I can actually articulate. For example, leave all definitions as late as possible (but not later!), so the reader won't fear "Do I need to ...

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votes

**1**answer

812 views

### What are good ways to present proofs of theorems requiring auxiliary lemmas? [closed]

I am writing an academic paper for submission to a journal. One of my co-authors wrote the following:
Theorem Statement of the theorem
Proof of theorem We first show the following result
...

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votes

**5**answers

964 views

### Historical use of figures in geometry

I was surprised to learn from John Stillwell's comment in answer to the
question,
"Can the unsolvability of quintics be seen in the geometry of the icosahedron?",
that
There is not a single ...

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votes

**1**answer

303 views

### fixedpoint or fixed point or fixed-point

I am unsure which is the right spelling (if there even is a ‘right’ spelling), but maybe native speakers can enlighten me: When should I use
fixed point
fixed-point
fixedpoint
when I refer to the ...

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votes

**1**answer

303 views

### Do you set a one or two commas when using \mapsto?

I am currently revising a paper and I am completely confused about the commas. Is it correct English to write
1) "The canonical map $X \to Y$, $x \mapsto f(x)$, is injective."
or is it
2) "The ...

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votes

**1**answer

244 views

### Can I use both of setbuilder notations in one article?

I am sorry if this question is not for mathoverflow. I asked the same question in tex stackexchange and got an answer that this question is out of topic. If it's the same here, please let me know.
...

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**3**answers

796 views

### Is there an editors checklist for mathematics?

I always have trouble with editing math papers for publication. I know there are plenty of checklists for English exposition but is there one for math specific exposition errors?

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votes

**3**answers

692 views

### Formal writing: numbers under 10

I've been tasked with proofreading an Engineering/Mathematics thesis paper. I was always told that numbers under 10 should be spelled out (one, two, three, ...) but I was wondering if this rule holds ...

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vote

**1**answer

405 views

### About writing of mathematical papers [closed]

Is not it better to use a mathematical language for writing mathematical papers. For example, use the logic of mathematical symbols more tnan additional comment.
Is it feasible?

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**2**answers

936 views

### Should science authors discourage / boycott the recent push for author IDs [closed]

In recent years, several organizations (publishers, arXiv, universities) started pushing for systems of a reliable author identification, gaining considerable traction with the recent launch of ORCID. ...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### the use of parentheses to mean “I won't tell you this again”

A reader of one of my drafts found fault with my use of parentheses; I put the word "bounded" in parentheses in a statement of a certain theorem, and he replied "But the statement isn't true if the ...

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votes

**2**answers

537 views

### When a name is used for two different notions!

What would you do if you see a notion which you used to work with has two names and the same name you use for this notion is used for another notion too. For example, after the work of J.B. Bost, A. ...

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votes

**2**answers

733 views

### Capitalization of named theorems [closed]

I would like to extend a previous question on the capitalization of theorem names . This time, it's not about numbered theorems like "Lemma 1.1", but about theorems that carry a name.
Question: ...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### How to balance writing professionally and being able to have a conversation with your reader?

Background.
I am someone at the very very beginning stages of my career as a mathematician, and am, for example, almost ready to (re)submit my first paper. I have already read a lot of essays on how ...

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votes

**3**answers

296 views

### Typographically separating logical argument from explanation and example [closed]

I am currently writing a master's dissertation. In this dissertation I have chosen to typographically separate logical argument, (Theorems, Proofs, and Definitions) from aids to understanding ...

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vote

**1**answer

795 views

### Do you know readers of your papers ? [closed]

Do you know readers of your papers ?
Or - is it true that if paper is not groundbreaking no one (except very few people,
working very closely and hence known for you) will read it ?
If it is so - ...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Graph of dependencies from a Latex file [closed]

This question has been "manually migrated" to TeX-SX: http://tex.stackexchange.com/q/40200/86
Apologies if the question is not very appropiate for Mathoverflow. It seems to me more appropiate here ...

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votes

**14**answers

6k views

### How to write popular mathematics well?

Recently, some classmates and I were lamenting the fact that our classmates in other disciplines had almost no conception of what we did, despite the large mathematics population at Waterloo. Instead ...

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votes

**0**answers

1k views

### Blinding a paper : the acknowledgements section [closed]

I am about to submit a paper (my first!) to a journal in statistics. There is a requirement to submit a "blinded" version. Should I remove the acknowledgements section too for this? If I do, what are ...

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votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What is the main goal of a paper, really? [closed]

My question, motivated by idle curiosity while sitting in LaGuardia airport, is the following. You've just proved nice result A and it is time to write the paper. What is the real goal of the paper?
...

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votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Citation of a paper with a proof you would like to improve [closed]

Imagine that you are in the following situation: You write up a proof which eventually gets published. There you need a result which is not so well-known but it is contained in another paper P; ...

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votes

**4**answers

2k views

### When is it appropriate to entitle a paper “A note on…” or “On the …”? [closed]

I rarely find modern research papers (on mathematics) that are less than 5 pages long. However, recently I came across a couple of mathematical research papers from the 1960/1970's that were very ...