Wit

Do not confuse clichés and wit. Scholarly wit is highly valued in good scientific writing. However, using wit successfully requires a superb knowledge of the English language. Successful wit in a science article is accomplished through an avoidance of redundancy and a lively choice of words.

The short length and requirements of research articles seldom afford room for wit even in the hands of an expert. Unfortunately wit is culturally dependent, which in this case means achieving a successful combination of the culture of science and the culture of the English language. This is difficult indeed.

Table 3.2 Examples of Inappropriate Clichés and

Unnecessary Words from Unpublished Papers

Inappropriate

Appropriate

Attempting to do this was like

Attempting this was

trying to put a square peg in a

difficult because ...

round hole ...

In high hopes we studied the

Results of the spectrometer

spectrometer printout and

reading indicate . . .

found ...

Darwin's tried and true method of...

Darwin's method of...

We believe that sooner or later

We believe that these

these results will . . .

results will . . .

We are pleased to be able to

The structure is . . .

report that the structure . . .

The findings of the results of the

The end product

study show . . . that the end

indicates . . .

product has indicated ...

The product is black as coal...

The product is an intense

black color.

This result is the cherry on top.

This result adds to the

evidence that . . .

This result is beyond our wildest

This result encourages

dreams.

us that . . .

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