Imagine scientific papers written in English. Is it common in this field to express the subtraction of values as "add -N"?

So for example instead of writing "Patient weight minus 2" you would say "Add -2 to the weight"?

  • 3
    Why would you do that? Is there something wrong with the word "subtract?"
    – JRE
    Jun 7, 2023 at 11:48
  • I have to agree with JRE, why are you asking this? Is there a reason you suspect this may be common?
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:12
  • What is the rang of N? Is N always positive? If yes, then you can say minus/subtract X - N. If no and N is varied from -ve to +ve (for example -5 to +7), then you can say X + N where -5<=N<=7
    – Bassem
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:57
  • The reason I am asking is a discussion with a friend of mine who said that it is is common. I disagreed but wanted to hear other voices.
    – toni
    Jun 7, 2023 at 16:19
  • Based on your example, is this in medicine or a related discipline? I imagine pure mathematicians probably have their own way of expressing things, and it may vary in other subject areas depending on how numerate people typically are. (But yes it does sound odd.)
    – Stuart F
    Jun 8, 2023 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


It is most common in the field to specify a mathematical equation, which leaves no doubt. For example,

Compute V=X-N. The value V can be used as (blah blah blah...)

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