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Is the punctuation correct?

English translation: The abscissa axis represents the parameter R/h, and the ordinate axis the axial stress σ11.

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07:07 Apr 3, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Science - Science (general) / scientific writing
English term or phrase: Is the punctuation correct?
The abscissa axis indicates the parameter R/h; and the ordinate axis, the axial stress σ11.

Is the punctuation correct here? I'm also not sure whether the word "indicates" is appropriate here. Thank you in advance for your explanations
Nik-On/Off
Ukraine
Local time: 02:02
English translation:The abscissa axis represents the parameter R/h, and the ordinate axis the axial stress σ11.
Explanation:
There are several ways of doing this. However, the semi-colon generally represents a division between two complete sentences that have been combined without a conjunction. (For example: "I didn't put a conjunction in this sentence; I wanted to save three keystrokes.") So a comma is preferable. Then, however, the comma in the second half is misleading: it rather suggests a break of the same importance as the first comma. But I don't think this comma serves any purpose, and I would prefer to see it left out anyway.

Having said that, your suggestion is not too bad. Sometimes it is necessary to "upgrade" a comma to a semicolon to avoid confusion. (See the book "Eats, shoots and leaves" on this subject, where the semicolon used in this way is referred to as the "policeman semicolon".)

On usage: Ahmed's "represents" is better than your "indicates"; so I have adopted it above. Also, although perfectly correct, "abscissa" and "ordinate" sound quaintly archaic. Generally, "x-axis" and "y-axis" are used in English these days. (If possible, put the variables in italics.)

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Note added at 37 mins (2007-04-03 07:44:54 GMT)
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Hello again. Just to make myself clear on this point: I don't think either your or Ahmed's suggestion could be called wrong. I am just offering an alternative, along with some arguments for preferring it.
Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 01:02
Grading comment
Thank you so much!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +13The abscissa axis represents the parameter R/h, and the ordinate axis the axial stress σ11.
Richard Benham


  

Answers


19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +13
is the punctuation correct?
The abscissa axis represents the parameter R/h, and the ordinate axis the axial stress σ11.


Explanation:
There are several ways of doing this. However, the semi-colon generally represents a division between two complete sentences that have been combined without a conjunction. (For example: "I didn't put a conjunction in this sentence; I wanted to save three keystrokes.") So a comma is preferable. Then, however, the comma in the second half is misleading: it rather suggests a break of the same importance as the first comma. But I don't think this comma serves any purpose, and I would prefer to see it left out anyway.

Having said that, your suggestion is not too bad. Sometimes it is necessary to "upgrade" a comma to a semicolon to avoid confusion. (See the book "Eats, shoots and leaves" on this subject, where the semicolon used in this way is referred to as the "policeman semicolon".)

On usage: Ahmed's "represents" is better than your "indicates"; so I have adopted it above. Also, although perfectly correct, "abscissa" and "ordinate" sound quaintly archaic. Generally, "x-axis" and "y-axis" are used in English these days. (If possible, put the variables in italics.)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 37 mins (2007-04-03 07:44:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Hello again. Just to make myself clear on this point: I don't think either your or Ahmed's suggestion could be called wrong. I am just offering an alternative, along with some arguments for preferring it.

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 01:02
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thank you so much!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: IMHO 'ordinate' and 'abscissa' are generally used to refer to the X and Y *coordinates*; I would definitely use 'Y axis' and 'X axis'.
17 mins
  -> Yes, using the upper-case letters is probably better, too.

agree  Armorel Young: spot on on every point as usual, Richard :-)
17 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  Rachel Fell
54 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  Marcelina Haftka
57 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  inmb: I truly enjoyed reading your explanation.
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr
  -> Thanks.

agree  Elena Aleksandrova
2 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  Hakki Ucar
4 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  NancyLynn: with inmb :)
6 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  AhmedAMS: I found it better to remove my answer and vote for yours.
6 hrs
  -> Thanks. As I said, there was nothing wrong with yours. Cheers.

agree  Joyce A: Great explanation. And, I'm also going to check out that "Eats, shoots and leaves" book.//Thank you, Richard.
7 hrs
  -> Thanks. I have since remembered who wrote it: Lynn Truss. The title is a variant on an old Aussie joke I can't repeat here....

agree  Naikei Wong: Yes, the semi-colon is in fact used in the wrong place. It should be a comma (or no comma at all) instead...
10 hrs

agree  Pham Huu Phuoc
2 days20 hrs
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