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What do profs REALLY mean when they say... ?


EXERCISE: I can't figure it out in class, so I'll just leave you to it.


CLEARLY: I don't want to write down all the "in-between" steps.


TRIVIAL: If I have to show you how to do this, you're in the wrong class.


OBVIOUSLY: I hope you weren't sleeping when we discussed this earlier, because I refuse to repeat it.


RECALL: I shouldn't have to tell you this, but for those of you who erase your memory tapes after every test...


WLOG (Without Loss Of Generality): I'm not about to do all the possible cases, so I'll do one and let you figure out the rest.


IT CAN EASILY BE SHOWN: Even you, in your finite wisdom, should be able to prove this without me holding your hand.


CHECK or CHECK FOR YOURSELF: This is the boring part of the proof, so you can do it on your own time.


SKETCH OF A PROOF: I couldn't verify all the details, so I'll break it down into the parts I couldn't prove.


HINT: The hardest of several possible ways to do a proof.


BRUTE FORCE (AND IGNORANCE): Four special cases, three counting arguments, two long inductions, "and a partridge in a pair tree."


SOFT PROOF: One third less filling (of the page) than your regular proof, but it requires two extra years of course work just to understand the terms.


ELEGANT PROOF: Requires no previous knowledge of the subject matter and is less than ten lines long.


SIMILARLY: At least one line of the proof of this case is the same as before.


CANONICAL FORM: 4 out of 5 mathematicians surveyed recommended this as the final form for their students who choose to finish.


TFAE (The Following Are Equivalent): If I say this it means that, and if I say that it means the other thing, and if I say the other thing...


BY A PREVIOUS THEOREM: I don't remember how it goes (come to think of it I'm not really sure we did this at all), but if I stated it right (or at all), then the rest of this follows.


TWO LINE PROOF: I'll leave out everything but the conclusion, you can't question 'em if you can't see 'em.


BRIEFLY: I'm running out of time, so I'll just write and talk faster.


LET'S TALK THROUGH IT: I don't want to write it on the board lest I make a mistake.


PROCEED FORMALLY: Manipulate symbols by the rules without any hint of their true meaning (popular in pure math courses).


QUANTIFY: I can't find anything wrong with your proof except that it won't work if x is a moon of Jupiter (Popular in applied math courses).


PROOF OMITTED: Trust me, It's true.


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