## A Brief Dictionary of Phrases Used In

Mathematical Writing

Since authors seldom, if ever, say what they mean, the following glossary is
offered to neophytes in mathematical research to help them understand the
language that surrounds the formulas. Since mathematical writing, like
mathematics, involves many undefined concepts, it seems best to illustrate the
usage by interpretation of examples rather than to attempt definition.
**ANALOGUE** - *This is an analogue of*: I have to have **some**
excuse for publishing it.

**APPLICATIONS** - *This is of interest in applications*: I have to
have **some** excuse for publishing it.

**COMPLETE** - *The proof is now complete*: I can't finish it.

**DETAILS** - *I cannot follow the details of X's proof*: It's
wrong.

**DIFFICULT** - *This problem is difficult*: I don't know the answer.
(Cf. Trivial)

**GENERALITY** - *Without loss of generality*: I have done an easy
special case.

**IDEAS** - *To fix the ideas*: To consider the only case I can do.

**INGENIOUS** - *X's proof is ingenious*: I understand it.

**INTEREST** - *It may be of interest*: I have to have **some**
excuse for publishing it.

**INTERESTING** - *X's proof is interesting*: I don't understand
it.

**KNOWN** - *This is a known result but I reproduce the proof for the
convenience of the reader*: My paper isn't long enough.

**LANGUAGE** - *PAR ABUS DE Language*: In the terminology used by
other authors. (Cf. Notation)

**NATURAL** - *It is natural to begin with the following
considerations*: We have to start somewhere.

**NEW** - *This was proved by X but the following new proof may present
points of interest*: I can't understand X.

**NOTATION** - *To simplify the notation*: It is too much trouble to
change now.

**OBSERVED** - *It will be observed that*: I hope you have not noticed
that.

**READER** - *The details may be left to the reader*: I can't do
it.

**REFEREE** - *I wish to thank the referee for the suggestions*: I
loused it up.

**STRAIGHTFORWARD** - *By a straightforward computation*: I lost my
notes.

**TRIVIAL** - *This problem is trivial*: I know the answer. (Cf.
difficult)

**WELL-KNOWN** - *This result is well-known*: I can't find the
reference.

EXERCISES FOR THE STUDENT - Interpret the following:

1. I am indebted to Professor X for stimulating discussions.

2. However, as we have seen.

3. In general.

4. It is easily shown.

5. To be continued.

This article was prepared with the opposition of the National Silence
Foundation.