-ve and +ve (negative and positive)
Posted: 09 November 2012 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A relatively young Indian-born colleague recently used the term “-ve” to mean negative, in an e-mail, and he was questioned whether it meant “negative”.  He replied that yes, it does, and it’s a “commonly used short in the queen’s English”.  I’ve been a professional computer guy for about 30 years and I had never come across it before.  Is it really commonly used in the queen’s English?

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Posted: 09 November 2012 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It seems to be an abbreviation used mainly in scientific circles, but I haven’t seen it used in standard English.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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First time I’ve seen it, and it strikes me as very odd indeed.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’d like to see an example of this usage.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Faldage - 09 November 2012 12:10 PM

I’d like to see an example of this usage.

From my colleague’s original e-mail describing a change he’d made to a Stored Procedure (SP):
“fixed typo in SP that was treating an error message as a warning when checking for -ve loads units”

Not the queen’s English, and I think he was just being glib when he said it was common, but I did wonder if it’s commonly used by techies in India and the Commonwealth.

Edited for completeness.

[ Edited: 09 November 2012 01:35 PM by jtab4994 ]
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Posted: 09 November 2012 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I have encountered it in the US, but only in scientific contexts (and those may have been UK or other overseas authors), and only in cases in which compactness was at a premium: in figures and tables, for instance.  It seems quite odd to put these into an ordinary sentence, about on par with using texting abbreviations in ordinary prose, if U C what I mean.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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jtab4994 - 09 November 2012 01:31 PM

Faldage - 09 November 2012 12:10 PM
I’d like to see an example of this usage.

“fixed typo in SP that was treating an error message as a warning when checking for -ve loads units”

I finally figured that out and tried to post to that effect but wordorigins, the intertubes, or my computer (or a combination of all three) went all -ve on me.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’ve seen it in mathematical and scientific contexts for as long as I can remember.

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Posted: 09 November 2012 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Presumably +ve is used for the opposite?

Edit : see the heading covered this (to avoid a skibs, skibs, skibs!)

[ Edited: 09 November 2012 09:50 PM by Skibberoo ]
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Posted: 09 November 2012 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You want the Aladeen news or the Aladeen news?

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Posted: 10 November 2012 12:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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’The Queen’s English’ is a phrase hardly ever used (except with heavy irony) in Britain today. This man clearly speaks Indian English and my guess is that this abbreviation is in use among Indian English speakers.

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Posted: 10 November 2012 01:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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"This man clearly speaks Indian English and my guess is that this abbreviation is in use among Indian English speakers. “

I can only reiterate that these forms are widespread in maths and the sciences. It’s not an Indian thing.

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Posted: 12 November 2012 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I’m with OP on this: +ve and -ve look perfectly standard to me (56 YO Brit). I’ve been familiar with them as long as I’ve dabbled in anything electrical or electronic (well over 40 years now) and I suspect they’ve been around a lot longer than that (some of my electronics books are older than me).

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Posted: 14 November 2012 01:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Also joining the “seen it before” brigade.  I have used and seen it in biological work and informatics.  It helps avoid ambiguity in situations where abbreviations for plus/minus and positve/negative are needed and context cannot be relied on.

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