Tautology Repeated And Redundantwords

Tautology is the repetition of words with similar meaning, often disguised and always undetected by the spell checker. Avoiding tautologies is an important measure to keep scientific texts as lean as possible. Moreover, needless repetition of the same sense in different words confuses the reader. Table 6.2 shows some typical examples of tautological and otherwise redundant expressions. Appendix 10.4 lists other awkward phrases to avoid. Table 6.2 Tautological and Redundant Expressions to Avoid...

Why Argue About Activepassive Voice

Passive versus active voice in scientific writing has been a controversial issue for many years. Without any doubt, the tradition of using the passive voice in scientific reporting is firmly engraved in scientists' brains. Many scientific communicators believe that it is inappropriate, even impolite, to use the personal pronouns such as I or we. They would prefer to say, it was studied rather than I studied or we studied. Note here that the passive sentence does not tell us who studied the...

Using Vancouver Style

The Uniform Requirements suggest the bibliographic style formats that were developed for uniformity by the NLM. Because of its origin, this reference style is termed Vancouver style. Since Vancouver style continues to gain broad acceptance, this format is almost always the bibliographic style of choice (see also 5.5, The House Style of Journals). Unless the journal specifies a different convention, references should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the...

The Main Punctuation Marks In Scientific Writing

Use after an introductory word (often an Use to set off a nonessential clause. - Scientists, who often work overtime, tend to lack the time for writing manuscripts. Use after an introductory (prepositional or - Generally speaking, this is sound advice. Use to separate two independent clauses in a - All blood samples were processed, and PUNCTUATION MARK SYMBOL AND HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY Comma, continued Use to set off appositives or interrupting - Alzheimer's disease, named after Dr. Alois...

The Verb To Be In Copula Formulations

One of the arguments in favor of the active voice concerns the abundance of the verb to be in scientific literature. To be does not only occur in every passive sentence but may also be used as an auxiliary in so-called copula formulations. Here, to be acts as the main verb, and although such sentences are not strictly passive, they add to the abundance of the verb to be. Here are some examples of such sentences Dr Sarah Craven is the author of the book. The design of the clinical trial was...

Orthography And Punctuation

It's the punctilious attention to detail, in a time when nobody even bothers to get the spelling of your name right. Holly Brubach 3.1 CORRECT SPELLING 3.1.1 GETTING WORDS RIGHT The spelling of English is erratic and often illogical. Thus, for a non-native speaker of English, correct spelling is difficult to learn and requires constant reading of English-language material and intensive study of the subject. Words in medical, scientific, and technical texts must be spelled correctly (see also...

Forming Sentences Grammar

There's a great power in words, if you don't hitch too many of them together. We may know much about the proper structuring of a paper and correct spelling of words, but this does not suffice to produce a compelling manuscript. Ultimately, the power of our text hinges on the competent use of the English language. If your native tongue does not happen to be English, using proper and powerful grammar may be more difficult, but even if you are a native English speaker, you may occasionally...

Limiting Modifiers And Other Decorativewords Excessive Adjectives Adverbs And Nouns

Modifiers specify or describe the meaning of another term. In most cases, modifiers are adjectives (modifying nouns), adverbs (modifying verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs), or nouns (modifying other nouns). Table 5.3 shows examples of each modifier type. a statistically significantly higher result Modifiers add richness, sparkle, and precision to otherwise dull descriptions, but overloading scientific statements with unnecessary decorative words distracts the reader. The verbosity frequently...

Good Versus Poor Scientific Writing An Orientation

Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly. Ludwig Wittgenstein 2.1 WHAT IS GOOD SCIENTIFIC WRITING When we declare that a certain text is better than another, we rely on a scale of values, with good at one end, and poor at the other. But who sets the standards for good and poor scientific writing Who is the ultimate judge Who censors the quality of our scientific texts While general opinion of what is correct may be divided,...

Overuse Of Prepositions

Winston Churchill once described prepositions as an enormously versatile part of grammar, as in What made you pick this book I didn't want to be read to out of up for I guess it takes a special talent to construct a sentence that ends with five prepositions in a row. At the same time, it takes a special skill to grasp such messages on first reading. Prepositions are connecting links showing a relationship between the object of the preposition and the modifying prepositional sentence. Therefore,...

Oxymorons

Oxymorons are contradictory expressions. How can terms such as false facts or a genuine lie make sense Because oxymorons tend to be ambivalent, they should be avoided in scientific writing. Nonetheless, there are a few oxymorons that are commonly used. Examples are ill health, common sense, bad grammar, disorganized system, conspicuous absences, or cruel kindness. Q When using an oxymoron, make sure the term is commonly known and its use is appropriate in scientific communication.

Dangling Participles

A participle is a verb form that acts as an adjective. Most participles end in ing, ed, or en. Participles have some of the features of a verb, such as tense, voice, and requirement for an object. A participle is said to dangle if its implied subject is not the subject of the main clause of the sentence. Thus, a dangling participle implies an actor but does not specify who or what it is, thereby leaving proper participle-subject matching up to the reader. In some instances, this may lead to...

Reference Manager Tools

Nowadays, many authors use a reference manager software to facilitate the formatting of reference lists. Such tools provide the formats for many of the standard reference styles accepted by journals. At the touch of a key, the entire reference list is formatted in a selected style. If your manuscript is rejected by the chosen journal, you can reformat the references to meet the requirements of another journal. Reference manager tools are very accurate and tend to facilitate the handling of...

The House Styleof Journals

Nowadays, most good journals provide detailed instructions for authors of manuscripts seeking publication. Such instructions are commonly referred to as the journal's house style. Although individual house styles may still vary to some extent, considerable effort has gone into harmonizing standards and formats among scientific journals. The most important initiative in this respect is the generation of the document entitled Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals...

Modifier Strings

Some languages, German for example, permit the use of modifier clusters to describe another word, usually a noun. English is more ruthless with modifier strings. Usually, two descriptive words that qualify another term are about as far as you can go. Take a look at this muddled sentence Modifier strings in sentences The blinded report procedure planning meeting organization was done by the clinical trial monitor. This awkward sentence can only be cured of its modifier strings by replacing some...

About The Author

Rogers, BSc, PhD, is the founder and owner of MEDIWRITE, a successful small company in Basel, Switzerland. She trained at the University of Liverpool, UK, in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics headed by Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge. Before forming MEDIWRITE in 1994, she gained extensive experience in key areas of pharmaceutical research, including project management in a major pharmaceutical company. She is an active member of the American Medical Writers...

What Is Style Inthe Context Of Scientific Writing

Style is one of those terms that can mean anything or nothing at all. Robert Day defines style as the personality of a scientific manuscript see Robert Day, 1995 Scientific English. A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals . He emphasizes that each publication has its own personality, dictated by both the writing style used and the particular journal's editorial requirements. Good scientific writing is not only a matter of correctness it is often just as much a question of good style and...

Ageism

Discrimination based on age is ageism and usually concerns older people. Bear in mind that old and young are relative terms. In the eyes of children, subjects beyond the age of 30 years tend to be old, while a middle-aged person considers the 30-year olds as young. With increasing age, the division between young and old tends to shift. In studies that involve humans, age should always be given specifically. Whenever possible, avoid general terms, such as old people or the elderly. In studies...

Scientific Writing Rules At A Glance

Successful communication in science involves clarity and simplicity, short sentences, transparency, and consistency. Biomedical communicators and scientific writers do not need to dumb down scientific writing or omit technical terms to write plainly and clearly. However, they do need to define or explain terms that their audiences may not recognize. They also need to write logically, building from what information the reader knows to what new information the reader will learn in the article....

Exercise Avoiding Excessive Passive Voice

Consider the voice of the following sentences and mark them with an A for active or a P for passive. Which ones of the passive sentences would be more powerful in the active voice Recast the selected sentences in the active voice and comment on the change. Treatment with a single tablet has been shown to be as effective as a 7-day therapy with the cream 1 . Usually, centrifugation for 15 min suffices to separate the two layers. Immediately after the accident, the 80-year old woman was taken to...

Selected Books

The Craft of Scientific Writing. 3rd ed. New York Springer 1998. Barlow Pugh M. ed. . American Medical Association Manual of Style. A Guide for Authors and Editors. 9th ed. Baltimore, Maryland Williams amp Wilkins 1998. Bonk RJ. Medical Writing in Drug Development. A Practical Guide for Pharmaceutical Research. New York Haworth Press Inc. 1998. CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. Scientific Style and Format. The Mannual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 6th ed....

Lighthearted View Of Scientific Jargon

The following phrases and their cynical definitions will help you understand that mysterious language of science and medicine. I didn't look up the original reference. These data are practically meaningless. While it has not been possible to provide definitive answers to the questions An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published. Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study. The other results didn't make any sense. These results will be in a subsequent report. Will...

Exercise Using Respectively Properly

Consider the sentences below and identify those where the use of respectively is unnecessary or even wrong SENTENCES CONTAINING CORRECTED SENTENCES Blood and urine samples were taken after 2 h and 4 h, respectively. At Visit 1, subjects received the necessary drug supply, a micturition diary to be filled in twice a day, and a full study description to be signed at the next visit, respectively. SENTENCES CONTAINING CORRECTED SENTENCES Validation data showed good agreement if generated in-house...

Position Of Adverbs In Sentences

Adverbs qualify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. A traditional rule of grammar says that the adverb should follow, rather than split, the infinitive of the verb in sentences where the adverb modifies the verb. This issue has created much attention over the years. Writers who know little about English grammar seem, however, to be aware of the rule that infinitives e.g., to go should not be split by an adverb e.g., to boldly go . Nowadays, most grammarians and linguists will agree that this...

Exercise Avoiding Tautological And Other Redundant Expressions

In the sentences below, identify the tautological and otherwise redundant expressions. Recast the sentences by removing any unnecessary words. If a serious adverse event occurred, the study was immediately terminated The mice in the first experiment were The finding may potentially indicate product stability and enzyme activity. We were astonished by the end result. We believe that the potential hazards We selected the most unique clinical

Exercise Using Modifiers In Moderation

In the sentences below, identify the modifiers and classify them as adjectives, adverbs, or noun modifiers. Rewrite the sentences by retaining the essential modifiers and removing all decorative words. Future proposed and essential changes to the currently applied validation process and for the ideal and suitable equipment will be thoroughly and extensively reviewed by the responsible process change committee. This statistically significantly different result was more than surprising after the...

Exercise Avoiding Verbal Phrase Danglers

Consider the following examples of danglers and correct the sentences by restoring the syntax word order VERBAL PHRASE DANGLERS CORRECTED SENTENCES Being the first member of the pharmacological class, the database of this ACE inhibitor served as a model. Lying on top of the gut, you can see a thin tissue. While having lunch, the reaction mixture exploded. In analyzing the data statistically, the Salmonella infections were indeed rare. Considering the observed pharmacodynamic effect, the data...