Skip navigation

Look at this moronic quotation from Salas, Hille and Etgen’s “Calculus: One and Several variables”:

Choose any point P, P != O, in the plane. Let l1 be the line through P parallel to the y-axis and l2 the line through P parallel to the x-axis. Let a be the coordinate of the point of intersection of l1 and the x-axis, and let b be the coordinate of the point of intersection of l2 and the y-axis. Then P is identified with the ordered pair of real numbers (a, b).

I mean, come on. All they’re describing there is how you find a point by an ordered pair in the cartesian plane.

This is some of the worst writing I have ever seen. It is written like a C program where variable declarations are all at the top of the program. “Let l1 be, a be, let b be”… really. People don’t read like computers.

There is a much more human way of writing this, and they haven’t got it.

The strange thing is in their introduction to the text, they promise:

“The mathematical statements are careful and precise; the basic concepts and important points are not obscured by excess verbiage”

To be fair, there are quite a few places where I’ve said to myself “Yes, well done there. That is well stated.” But at other times . . . . they’re not writing for people. They’re writing for themselves and defining things with a degree of rigor that just makes the writing harder to read while imparting no additional understanding to the reader.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: