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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!
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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
  • 21,221 views
Commonly confused words in research writing: "alternate" and "alternative"
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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”
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
Beginning sentence with abbreviations or numbers
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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
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In scientific writing, I have seen a few sentences where a comma has been placed after "then". For Example: "If I have to type then, I need to switch on my system." And in some other cases, the comma is placed before "then." Example: If I have to type, then I need to switch on my system. Could you please let me know which one of the above sentences is correct?
  • Anonymous
  • Jan 17, 2014
  • 93,865 views
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Is it correct to use comma after etc., at the end of the sentence in American style of English? What if it is a research paper? Example: Various technologies like Java, Microsoft, Unix, etc.?
  • Anonymous
  • Jan 17, 2014
  • 410,279 views
Avoid grammatical mistakes in scientific writing
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Scientific writing often poses a challenge to non-native English authors. While writing papers, authors often face grammatical problems. Let's look closely at one of the most common one in this post.  

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