When using "Fortunately" in a technical paper, the appending statement can appear subjective; and hence shouldn't be used in an academic context (?). When used to highlight, for instance, the solution to a potential problem:

"Thing X must be able to do difficult task Y. Fortunately, many existing solutions are available that can do task Y"

It seems to me than the subjectivity of 'fortunately' actually depends on context. If task Y is something controversial, such as drone strikes against military hospitals (to take a very extreme example), then the statement following 'Fortunately' can seem perverse to many: It comes across as if the author is in moral agreement of performing task Y.

Now imagine if task Y is something harmless, such as "the envisioned calculator must be able to store user preferences between power cycles.". In this case, 'Fortunately' is a very applicable adverb to use: "Fortunately, many cheap forms of solid state storage are commercially available in the target form factor."

Can I/Is it safe to use 'Fortunately' in an academic paper?

  • I think it's fine. In your example, "Fortunately, many cheap forms of solid state storage are commercially available in the target form factor" I think the word "fortunately" adds clarity. – littleO Dec 1 '19 at 11:28
  • If you like, you can begin a sentence with: "Fortunately for thing X, all obstacles were removed and a task Y was ...." – Rita Geraghty Dec 1 '19 at 12:21

If you, yourself, question the usage, then you should probably avoid it.

I think that in the present case, if you need a bridging word, then "However" works just as well.

In general it is probably a bad idea to ban any given word, not knowing all possible contexts in which it might be used.

That said, I find no problem with using "Fortunately" in this context. It is, indeed, fortunate that the times and the work of others have come together to provide us with ways to a solution of the problem at hand. In other times it might not have been possible, for example.

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Yes, but in the interest of brevity, I suggest leaving it out. There's no clear benefit to using the word.

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