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Grammar and Writing

Poor language is a common reason for journal rejection. Access our resources on topics such as word choice in scientific writing; common mistakes in research papers; language tips to improve scientific writing; field-specific conventions when using terminology; the use of nouns, verbs, tenses, voice, punctuation marks, symbols, etc.; politically correct scientific writing; the use of punctuation marks; word reduction tips; and much more!
Scientific writing: Difference between "to reveal," "to show," and "to indicate"
Constructions like ‘the data reveal that’, ‘Table 1 shows that’, or ‘Figure 2 indicates that’ are common enough in research papers—and all are commonly ...
Tackling the task of writing text
Offers some tips on generating text, that is on accomplishing the actual task of writing.
Punctuating headings in research papers
Headings or headlines are a special kind of text and are not as rigidly governed by conventions of punctuation. Read more...
I'm having trouble with "was" vs. "were" in the following sentences: 1. Fuel-stained soil and street waste was discovered south of the site. 2. During the building excavation, 500 kg of soil were removed from the property. Is "was" correct in the first sentence and "were" in the second one?
  • Anonymous
  • Jan 27, 2014
Commonly confused words in research writing: "alternate" and "alternative"
Synonyms are words with similar meanings, although the exact shade of meaning may be different. This post, however, deals with pairs of words that are not synonyms but pairs in which one member is sometimes, and erroneously, mistaken for the other.  
The difference between “almost” and “nearly”
To know what a particular word means, we usually turn to a dictionary. The dictionary could be a general-purpose dictionary, such as the Oxford Dictionary of English [1], or a specialized dictionary if the word is technical and typical of a particular branch of knowledge (botan
Use of pronouns in scientific writing
Novice researchers are often discouraged from using the first person pronouns I and we in their writing, and the most common reason given for avoiding the use of the first person
Word choice in scientific writing
Using such expressions as “for example,” “for instance,” and “including” correctly is important. What the expressions have in common is that they talk about some members of a class but not all of them.
An earlier post discussed the use of tenses in research papers. Here, we will expand on this a bit and discuss tense usage in specific sections.
As a matter of style, most journals advise authors not to start any sentence with an abbreviation or a number. However, acronyms are generally acceptable in that position