Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Advice on providing better feedback…

Our advisors coated the drafts of our writing in red ink. And, we, in turn, coat the drafts of our students’ writing in red ink. Does the volume of red ink challenge students to improve their writing, or do they just shrug it off (for any number of reasons)? I was just reading an article […]

“Over” versus “more than”

March 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Reader Russ Schumacher pointed out to me that the Associated Press has now accepted both “over” and “more than” as in “over 500 people attended” and “more than 500 people attended”. The outrage from the community is described here. Where do you stand?

My response to 3monththesis’s “Why some perfectionism is a good thing”

March 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

The original post is here, and the post starts: One of the most common pieces of writing advice is to “just get words down on the page; don’t worry about detail, and don’t think too much”. This is often given as a way of overcoming writers block, or the “fear of the blank page”. Perfectionism […]

More on plain writing in the government

January 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Regular reader Brian Curran sends us this link on the Plain Writing Act and the results thereof, following up on earlier discussions of clear language in government writing. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/11/19/plain-writing-in-government-agencies-plainly-speaking-arent-there-yet/ As the report card from the Center for Plain Language shows, NOAA gets a D for “Plain Writing”, although which documents were used was not stated […]

10 grammar rules you can forget: how to stop worrying and write proper

October 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Jim Steenburgh sent me this article from The Guardian about “what pop music can teach you about building sentences.”

Help readers find your article online: Search engine optimization

August 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing, Writing

The point of writing a scientific article is to get it read. How do you ensure that your article will reach the largest possible audience? Search engine optimization. I found this web page from Wiley about how to optimize your article for search engines. Optimizing your article for search engines will greatly increase its chance […]

Speaking and writing so your audience understands you

August 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Brian Curran forwarded me this article about how to communicate with the public in active voice using straightforward, easy-to-understand language. Reading this article took me back to my time in Finland a few years ago. I loved to use colorful language and turns of phrases when I lived in the U.S. Then, in Finland, I […]

Every sentence in your scientific paper should meet these criteria.

July 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Each sentence should be clear Each sentence should make sense. Each sentence should be supported by evidence. If you can’t defend it, remove it.

An example of eloquent science (V. E. Suomi 1979)

The following text was written in 1979 by Verner E. Suomi from the Foreword of the report Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Truly eloquent science! Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate to the Climate Research Board, Assembly of Mathematical and […]

Why the acknowledgements are important

June 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

This recent slate.com article discusses the increasing prevalance of the acknowledgements section in books. It got me thinking about acknowledgements in scientific papers. Some authors use them, others don’t. Some authors thank the reviewers; others don’t. Some authors even thank the Editor; others don’t. Every once in a while you’ll find authors using weather graphics […]

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