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A Primer of Mathematical Writing

A Primer of Mathematical Writing

A Primer of Mathematical Writing

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Book Details:

Pages:276 pages
Size:1.33 MB
License:Open Access


This is a tract on the art and practice of mathematical writing. Not only does the book cover basic principles of grammar, syntax, and usage, but it takes into account developments of the last twenty years that have been inspired by the Internet.

There is considerable discussion of TeX and other modern writing environments. We also consider electronic journals, print-on-demand books, Open Access Journals, preprint servers, and many other aspects of modern publishing life.


This book is a rather personal tract, containing personal recommendations that reflect my own tastes. I have reason to believe that many others share these tastes, but not all do. There certainly are treatments of the art of mathematical writing that are more scholarly than this one—I note particularly the book [Hig] of Higham. He has careful discussions of how to select a dictionary or a thesaurus, careful catalogings of British usage versus American usage, a history of mathematical notation, clever exercises for developing skill with English syntax, tutorials on revision, and so forth. Higham’s book is a real labor of love, and I recommend it highly. But there is no sense for me to duplicate Higham’s efforts. Here I will discuss how to write, why to write, and when to write. However, this is not a scholarly tract, and it is not a text.

The book is intended, rather, to be some friendly advice from a colleague. If an Assistant Professor or Instructor were to come to my office and ask for suggestions about writing, then I might reply “Let’s go to lunch and talk about it.” This book comprises what I would say over the course of several such meetings.



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