Table Of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Good Versus Poor Scientific Writing: An Orientation 3

2.1 What Is "Good" Scientific Writing? 3

2.2 The Plain Language Movement 4

2.3 The BASO Pyramid of Scientific Writing 6

2.3.1 Baseline 7

2.3.3 Opinion 8

2.4 Common Myths and Misconceptions 9

2.4.1 What Are Myths and Misconceptions? 9

2.4.2 Long and Complicated Sentences 10

2.4.3 Misusing or Wasting Specific and Generic Terms 11

2.4.4 Reluctance to Use First-Person Pronouns and Overuse of Passive Voice 11

2.4.5 Tendency to Turn Sharp and Powerful Verbs into Weighty Nouns 12

3 Words and Units: Orthography and Punctuation 13

3.1 Correct Spelling 13

3.1.1 Getting Words Right 13

3.1.2 Using Spell Checkers 14

3.2 Consistent Spelling: American English versus British English 14

3.3 Punctuation 16

3.3.1 Proper Use of Punctuation Marks 16

3.3.2 Hyphens and Word Division 16

3.3.3 Punctuation Marks Indicating Emotion 18

3.3.4 Parentheses and Brackets 19

3.3.5 Periods in Titles and Academic Degrees 21

3.3.6 Apostrophes in Contractions 21

3.3.7 Nonbreaking Spaces and Hyphens 22

3.4 Shortened Word Forms in Scientific Writing 23

3.4.1 Types of Abbreviations 23

3.4.2 True Abbreviations 24 3.4.2.1 Latin Abbreviations 24

3.4.3 Units of Measurement 25

3.4.4 Acronyms and Initialisms 27

3.4.5 Contractions 28

3.4.6 Suspensions 28

3.5 Numbers 29

3.5.1 Expressing Numbers in Scientific Texts 29

3.5.2 Formats of Numbers 31

3.5.3 Ranges of Numbers 32

3.5.4 Percentages 32

3.6 Capitalization 34

3.6.1 Use of Capitals in Scientific English 34

3.6.2 Capitals in Proper Nouns (Names) 34

3.6.3 Capitals in Titles 35

3.6.3.1 Capitalizing Hyphenated Compound Words in Titles 36

3.6.4 Capitals in Designations 36

3.6.5 Capitals in New-Age Words 37

4 Forming Sentences: Grammar 39

4.1 Why Battle with Grammar? 39

4.2 The Tenses in Scientific Reporting 41

4.3 Joining Statements 44

4.3.1 How Can the Joining of Words or Statements Cause Confusion? 44

4.3.2 Nonparallel Verbs 45

4.3.3 Nonparallel Modifiers 47

4.3.4 Nonparallel Prepositional Phrases 47

4.4 Subject-Verb Agreement 49

4.4.1 Using the Correct Verb Forms 49

4.4.2 Special Nouns 50

4.4.3 Collective Nouns 51

4.4.4 The Rule of Meaning 53

4.4.5 Verb-Matching with "None" and the "Neither-Nor" Linkage 54

4.5 Syntax (Order of Words) 55

4.5.1 Modifying Phrases 55

4.5.2 Position of Adverbs in Sentences 56

4.5.3 Position of Prepositions in Sentences 58

4.6 Dangling Participles (and Other Danglers) 59

4.6.1 What Are Danglers? 59

4.6.2 Dangling Participles 59

4.6.3 Dangling Gerunds 62

4.7 The Relative Pronouns "Which" and "That" 62

4.8 Use of "Respectively" 64

4.9 Plurals of Abstractions and Attributes 65

5 Putting It Nicely: Style 67

5.1 What Is "Style" in the Context of Scientific Writing? 67

5.2 Active versus Passive Voice 68

5.2.1 Why Argue about Active/Passive Voice? 68

5.2.2 Shifting Emphasis by Choosing the Voice 68

5.2.3 The Verb "To Be" in Copula Formulations 69

5.3 Overuse of Prepositions 70

5.4 Limiting Modifiers and Other Decorative Words 73

5.4.1 Excessive Adjectives, Adverbs, and Nouns 73

5.4.2 Modifier Strings 74

5.5 The "House Style" of Journals 76

5.6 Company-Internal Conventions of Style and Format 77

6 Redundancy and Jargon: Focusing on the Essentials 79

6.1 Redundancies in Scientific Reporting 79

6.2 Double Negatives 80

6.3 Tautology (Repeated and Redundant Words) 81

6.4 Doubling Prepositions 82

6.5 Jargonized Writing 83

6.6 Oxymorons 85

7 Structuring Scientific Texts: Getting the "Story" Out 87

8 Avoiding Discrimination: Ethics of Scientific Writing 89

8.1 Prejudice and Semantic Labeling 89

8.2 Sexist Writing and Gender-Biased Expressions 89

8.2.1 Sex versus Gender 89

8.2.2 Gender-Inclusive Language 90

8.3 Racist Writing 92

8.4 Ageism 93

9 Quoting Published Material: Reference Formats 95

9.1 What Can Go Wrong When Quoting Published Material? 95

9.2 Reference Formats and the Uniform Requirements 96

9.2.1 What Style Should I Use? 96

9.2.2 Using Vancouver Style 96

9.2.3 Reference Manager Tools 101

10 Appendix 103

10.1 Scientific Writing Rules at a Glance 103

10.2 American English versus British English:

Groups of Words Affected by the Different Spelling 107

10.3 The Main Punctuation Marks in Scientific Writing 108

10.4 Awkward Phrases to Avoid 112

10.5 A Light-hearted View of Scientific Jargon 115

10.6 List of Academic Degrees and Honors 116

11 References 121

11.1 Dictionaries 121

11.2 Selected Books 121

11.3 Published Literature 122

12 Exercises 123

13 Solutions to Exercises 135

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