Academic writing notes


This is some random notes for myself on academic writing and $\LaTeX$.

Hyphens, Em Dashes, and En Dashes (see Here)

The latex commands are:

  • Hyphen: -
  • En-dash: \textendash
  • Em-dash: \textemdash

Math spacing

Math spacing from smallest to greatest: \,, \:, \;, \quad, \qquad


  1. Other disease researchers said the findings of Dr. Vespignani’s team were broadly in line with their own analyses.
  2. In New York, for example, the model shows that the first 10 infected people could have been walking the streets of the city as early as the last week in January, or as late as the middle of February.
  3. A single sub clinical case with R0 of two will reach 500 in a week, 15,000 by week 2 in populated areas. Then it fans out like wildfire to suburban, rural areas.
  4. At the end of February, the Yale President convened a group of public health and medical experts to advise university decision-making and provide public health guidance to the Yale Community.
  5. He took particular aim at what he called the “misleading” media for sowing division. “I believe in free press. I don’t mind opinionated press. I do, however, reject inaccurate or deliberately misleading press,” he said in a statement.
  6. But the episode also revealed some of the strange dynamics at play in the coronavirus era, at the intersection where health policy, geopolitics and international commerce meet.
  7. Of course, things didn’t shake out that way. The best laid plans and all that.
  8. The question now arises as to whether we can utilise the structure of these policies to develop heuristics for the original routing problem, which is our main concern.
  9. A stationary policy is a rule for choosing between a and b at each decision epoch in the light of the current state.
  10. Plainly, the system state process evolving under stationary policy $u$ is Markov.

Capitalization in Titles: Which Words??

Headings, chapter titles, book titles, movie titles……these titles all require proper capitalization. Which words are capitalized in a title, anyway? Or, which words are not?

Here are some rules to help you:

  1. The first and last words of a title are always capitalized, no matter what they are.

  2. The articles a, and, and the are not capitalized unless they are the first or last words of a title.

  3. The conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so are not capitalized unless they are the first or last words of a title. However, sometimes for, yet, and so can be other parts of speech. For can also be a preposition, but you don’t have to worry about that because little prepositions are not capitalized either! However, yet and so can also be adverbs, and adverbs are capitalized in a title. Here are some examples of yet and so:

I am so tired. (So is an adverb.)

I am tired, so I will take a nap. (So is a conjunction here; it is connecting two clauses.)

Are we there yet? (Yet is an adverb here.)

I am tired, yet I can’t sleep. (Yet is a conjunction here, a connecting word.)

You probably won’t have to worry about yet and so too much in titles. My guess is usually they will be adverbs in a title, unless your title is really long. So capitalize them.

  1. Small prepositions of four or fewer letters (with four letters you have a choice of whether or not to capitalize) are not capitalized.

Common short prepositions: to, for, by, in, out, up, down, at, with, past, over.

Common longer prepositions (capitalize these): above, below, beyond, between, among, along, beneath, under.

NOTE: Although in is a preposition, if and it and is are NOT! These words need to be capitalized! If is a conjunction, it is a pronoun, and is is a verb.

Here are some titles that are capitalized correctly:

Tender Is the Night

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Joy to the World

Somewhere over the Rainbow (or Over)

Woe Is I

The Best Little Grammar Book Ever!

Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Algebra Is Tough, yet Fun!

I that last title, yet is used as a conjunction, or connecting word, so it isn’t capitalized. It looks kind of funny to me. If all words except one in a longish title are capitalized, and it looks odd to you, you can capitalize all the words. In a title, ’tis better to capitalize a word when in doubt, than not capitalize one that should be capitalized.

Special Note: Is, Are, Was, Were, Be: These words are all verbs and thus very important and always capitalized in a title. If you don’t capitalize these, the grammar police will be out looking for you!