Rules for General Writing (cont'd)
From the Book "Elements of Style" (Oliver Strunk, 1935 edition), Chapter "An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)":
- 5. Revise, revise and rewrite
OBS: When writing a technical paper in LaTeX we should write every sentence on a new line. This makes subsequent reorganizing easier.
- 6. Do not overwrite.
OBS: Do not use words that express your subjective opinion, such as "trivial", "elegant".
- 16. Be clear.
OBS1: In technical writing avoid relative pronouns (e.g., its) and demonstrative pronouns (e.g., this). They are often a source of ambiguity.
OBS2: "Which" and "that" are words that are commonly used one instead of the other. "That" is normally used to define or to restrict a noun. "Which" is normally used to make a comment.
- Correct usages of this words are given in the following sentences. Observe that it is mandatory to put commas when you are making a comment introduced by "which". On the other hand, one does not put commas before and after "that".
- The lawn mower that is broken is in the garage. (we expect the speaker to have more than one lawn mower)
- The lawn mower, which is broken, is in the garage. (we expect the speaker to have one lawn mower)
How to Write Technical Papers
Books about technical writing:
- Nicholas J. Higham, "Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences" - Amazon link
- Donald Ervin Knuth, "Mathematical writing" (Mathematical Association of America Notes)
Various addresses: Amazon link, link on Knuth's homepage, the book available at University of Washington
Rules from "Mathematical writing" by Don Knuth, Chapter 1
1. Symbols in different formulas must be separated by words.
- Bad example: For all integers n, f(n)>3.
- Good example: For all integers n, we conclude f(n)>3.
2. Do not start a sentence with a symbol
- Bad example: G is a DAG.
- Good example: Let (or Consider) G a DAG.
- OBS: In LaTeX, one should prevent line breaks so that the next line would begin with a symbol, followed by a period or comma:
- Example: "... of the graph ~ $G$, ..."