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

# Questions tagged [article-writing]

394 questions

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### 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 colloquial. My secondary question is what the…

Joe Tait

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### 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 that are posted on MSE by younger students.…

Amzoti

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### When writing in math, do you use a comma or colon preceding an equation?

This is a general question about mathematical writing especially for writing research papers and the like.
Question: Do you precede an equation with a comma or colon?
Example A:
The following equation is the Yosida-Hawking-Penrose-Dantzig…

Shamisen Expert

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### 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 PHD, my major is general topology and I'm facing…

Paul

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### 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 mathematical proofs, so I suspect that most proof…

Hal

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### When should an equation be numbered when writing a paper?

This is a soft question on writing math for research or publication purposes.
When do we number an equation? Or, when should we not number an equation?
Obviously, we number equations when we wish to refer back to them at some later point. But I…

Shamisen Expert

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### Why does drawing $\square$ mean the end of a proof?

To end a proof, I often write "as was to be shown" or "q.e.d". Both of these terms make sense to me as a reader. On the other hand, I feel a little strange to put down $\square$ although I saw it many times here and there. In fact, I learned…

Chan

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### 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 that $A$ is a group.
The words “assume” and “suppose” should usually be…

angryavian

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### 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 prove something it's an unnecessary distraction to…

Shaun

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### 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 Modeling has finally provoked me. In several…

Tyler

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### LaTeX/TeX Vs. Mathematica for Typesetting

I know Mathematica like the back of my hand, but I do not know a speck of $\LaTeX$ or $\TeX$. With regard to mathematical typesetting, is there something significant I can do in $\LaTeX$/$\TeX$ that I can't do in Mathematica? The Mathematica…

Just Some Old Man

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### In a math paper, is this considered redundant?

If I want to put emphasis on a matrix being entrywise-nonnegative, can I write in my paper
"...and thus there exists a nonnegative matrix $\mathcal{Q} \in \mathcal{M}_N(\mathbb{R^+})$..."
or is that redundant and should be avoided?
is it instead…

User001

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### Do I need to cite an old theorem, if I've strengthened it, wrote my own theorem statement, with a different proof?

Let's say I have been studying an older theorem statement and its proof. I feel that it can be improved, e.g., I can make it a stronger double-implication theorem statement, with a different proof. Would I still need to cite the paper from which I…

User001

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### Why do single-author math papers use "we" instead of "I"?

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 "I"?

Joshua Benabou

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### How to represent "not an empty set"?

I'm writing a academic paper and need to represent "A is not the empty set". What is usual way for professional mathematicians?
My idea is:
$|A| > 0$
However, using the emptyset $\emptyset$ might be more intuitive:
$A\ != \emptyset$
But, I know…

Light Yagmi

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