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  1. Spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    #1

    usage of "fill in the blank"

    I know 'fill in the blanks' is a type of exam questions, and I've seen tons of them over my academic years. But I wonder if I can use 'fill in the blank' to mean 'do something that hasn't been done before'? the context is as follows:

    "This paper fills in the blanks by presenting xxxxx that are either not previously seen in academic sources or considerably superior to those they replace."

    As you can see this is a very formal writing English, so I just can't replace it with 'did something that no other dude has done before'.

    A Chinese technical-oriented online dictionary suggests 'fill the gaps' which I duly suspect is typical Chinglish.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    I agree with both your use of 'fill in the blanks' and your suspicion about 'fill the gaps'.

  3. Spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I agree with both your use of 'fill in the blanks' and your suspicion about 'fill the gaps'.
    Thanks. Just to be sure (considering the potential harsh treatment I'll receive from academic reviewers if I don't get this totally right), is it

    1. 'fill in the blanks' or fill in the blank'?
    2. unequivocally proper, formal writing English?

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by Spetsnaz26 View Post
    Thanks. Just to be sure (considering the potential harsh treatment I'll receive from academic reviewers if I don't get this totally right), is it

    1. 'fill in the blanks' or fill in the blank'?
    2. unequivocally proper, formal writing English?
    Blanks. And although it's not entirely formal, I've seen it in academic writing, especially in reviews. It's quite a useful form of words for an academic, because it implies that previous academics did most of the work - even if they didn't (so it's appropriately deferential).

    b

  5. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Hmm.... personally I must admit I wouldn't use it in an academic context, not in writing. It sounds as though it's merely a perfunctory exercise in writing, rather than advancing knowledge, pushing the envelope of the limits of scholarship, etc.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hmm.... personally I must admit I wouldn't use it in an academic context, not in writing.
    I absolutely agree. It's not an academic phrase. And it sounds like you're doing something trivial.
    Consider:
    "This paper provides some of the missing elements in <subject> and hence integrates some of the existing and familiar aspects.

    This paper attempts to draw together (or 'bring some cohesion to') aspects of <subject> by providing conceptual/technical/logical links between the existing aspects of knowledge.

    You are doing more than filling gaps or blanks. You are showing how the already understood bits of knowledge can be related to each other to provide a more comprehensive understanding.

  7. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I absolutely agree. ...
    OK, I agree too. Sorry, Spetsnaz26

    b

  8. Spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hmm.... personally I must admit I wouldn't use it in an academic context, not in writing. It sounds as though it's merely a perfunctory exercise in writing, rather than advancing knowledge, pushing the envelope of the limits of scholarship, etc.
    Thank you, seeing you're the 'academic' type, would it be possible for you to look at my new question posted in 'euphemism for 'textbooks''?

    Thanks again for the help.

  9. Spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I absolutely agree. It's not an academic phrase. And it sounds like you're doing something trivial.
    Consider:
    "This paper provides some of the missing elements in <subject> and hence integrates some of the existing and familiar aspects.

    This paper attempts to draw together (or 'bring some cohesion to') aspects of <subject> by providing conceptual/technical/logical links between the existing aspects of knowledge.

    You are doing more than filling gaps or blanks. You are showing how the already understood bits of knowledge can be related to each other to provide a more comprehensive understanding.
    I appreciate your help, thank you. Could you please also look at my new question posted in 'euphemism for textbooks'?

    Thanks in advance.

  10. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: usage of "fill in the blank"

    I did a search for that, but didn't find anything. What do you mean?

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