Practical Science Editing : Making “Good” Better 科学编辑：使文章“好”上加好 ISTIC Conference August 28, 2007 by Chad Walker ( 王可杰 ) ( 理文编辑总编辑 ). Writing in General ( 写作总则 ). The Better You Can Write English, the Better You Can Edit It ( 英文写的好则编的更好 ). Words ( 用词 ). Commonly Confused and Misused Words
The Better You Can Write English, the Better You Can Edit It
Commonly Confused and Misused Words
“A new species of Escherichia was identified.”
(other species also exist)
“The organism responsible for the outbreak was Escherichia coli.”
Experience using and reading them is the key!
( “effect” 作为动词时，意思为“引起变化”)
•“impact” should be used only to describe “striking of one body against another” and should not be used as “affect”.
( “impact” 只用于描述“一件事对另一件事”产生的冲击，不能作为“affect”使用)
“Ingesting massive doses of ascorbic acid
may affect his recovery.”
(influence the recovery in some way)
“Ingesting massive doses of ascorbic acid
may effect his recovery.”
(produce/cause the recovery)
Luckily, the medicine did not adversely affect the patient.
Many scientists believe that global warming is the effectof greenhouse-gas emissions.
“As we were completing the paper,
new evidence came to light.”
“Five participants could not complete the follow up questionnaire
because they had moved out of the target district.”
"Sincewe completed the study, there have been 3 additional outbreaks."
"The problem was due to mechanical failure."
“The problem occurred because of mechanical failure.”
*Tip: Use “attributable to” and “as a result of” to determine thecorrect one.
(使用过程中，可以借助“attributable to” 和“as a result of”帮助判断。)
“Because the methods are different, the statistics are not comparable.”
"The mortality rates in Sweden and Chile are similar."
*Tip: “Same” is sometimes mistakenly used when “similar” is the correct word. “Same” means exactly the same, or “identical,” which is not often the case when comparing scientific results, especially when comparing the results of two different studies.
(“Same” 有时会与“similar”混淆。“Same” 指完全一样，或“identical”，通常不用于科研结果的比较, 特别是两项不同研究的比较)
*1) active verb meaning to form, to make up a single object, to go together.
“Twenty-three provinces compose the People’s Republic of China.”
*2) passive verb meaning the same as “comprise”
“The People’s Republic of China iscomposedof 23 provinces .”
“The People’s Republic of Chinacomprises23 provinces.”
“There are currently no available studies on Han Chinese populations.”
“Presently, we will go to the Forbidden City
*Tip: “Now” is often mistakenly used in manuscripts when “currently” or “at present” is better.
(最好使用“currently” 或“at present”，“Now”经常被错误使用 )
“The technician demonstrated how to operate the pH meter.”
"He exhibited the mineral specimens at the last congress."
*NOT used to mean passively carrying something.
×"The patient exhibited a rash" ○ "The patient had a rash.”
“reveal” is an action to make visible what has been hidden. It is not a synonym for “report.” (显示原本隐藏的事物，但并非“report”的同义词)
“The X-rayrevealeda tumor in the lower part of the stomach.”
*Tip: Non-living things cannot “demonstrate” anything; sentences like “The data demonstrated that...” should be avoided
(“demonstrate” 的主语应该是生命体，像 “The data demonstrated that...”这样的用法应当避免).
“The mean blood pressure was significantly lowered, with a P value of 0.05”
“The results of this research will be of great value to all nanotechnology researchers.”
*Tip: Use the other words onlywhen statistical significance is not intended.
“An autorefractor wasused to measure refractive error.”
“employ”: can also mean to put a person to work or put an object to use.
“All of the subjects had been employedat the company since 1997 or earlier.”
*Tip: There is really no reason to use “utilize” in scientific writing.
When writing science, it’s important to be clear and use as few words as possible.
fewer in number
for the purpose of examining
has the capability of
in all cases
in connection with
in the event that
in the near future
It has been reported by Wang
it is often the case that
can, is able to
it is worth pointing out that
it would thus appear that
large amounts of
large in size
large numbers of
located in, located near
on the basis of
oval in shape, oval-shaped
prior to [in time]
the cause may be
from, by, because
Short is the Key
The trend in scientific writing is toward shorter sentences with less punctuation.
In 1600 the average length of an English sentence was 40 to 60 words.
In 1900 the average length was 21 words.
In 1970 the average length was 17 words.
Now the average length of an English sentence is 12 to 17 words.
Chinese uses long sentences.
English—particularly scientific English—uses very short sentences.
Short sentences are the NORM.
They don’t sound childish.
New descriptors of local environment and atomic state, the X and Y indexes, can accurately reflect electron distribution around atoms in different chemical microenvironments, therefore when these are applied to characterize local chemical environment and atomic self-state, a satisfactory result was obtained to simulate and predict 13C chemical shift of 22 natural amino acids and 4 non-natural amino acids.
Even though the grammar can be similar sometimes, Chinese sentences can be very different from English sentences
For example, Chinese is a head noun language; all modifiers precede the elements that they modify.
In English, some modifiers go in front of the noun
and some are placed after the noun.
The book that I bought here yesterday.
A modified soil’s single sorption … .
The single sorption of a modified soil … .
Correcting sentence structure:
If possible, don’t translate from Chinese.
Write in English from the start.
An important rule:
ONE SENTENCE, ONE IDEA
Has the Power to Completely Change the Meaning of a Sentence
The equipment that we used was made by the XX Company.
The equipment, which we used, was made by the XX Company.
The equipment, which was made in Shanghai, was very expensive.
August 28–29; pp. 2–5.
These two cities—that is, Beijing and
Shanghai—are developing rapidly.
1. The introduction is written on pages 3■6.
2. The ISTIC conference will be held August 28■August 29 in Beijing, China.
3. Mr. Wang had tried asking, begging, and even demanding cooperation from his staff■all of whom were busy with other things■before he gave up and wrote the report himself.
4. No one■not even his professor■thought that his article would be published in Nature.
The presentation covered three topics: grammar, punctuation, and format.
The patient had no prior history of disease; however, he presented with many common symptoms.
The biggest offenders:
、 ， ； ： ( ) × % ＜ ＞
Good online dictionaries to help with spelling:
but remember that it won’t catch mistakes like from/form, trial/trail…
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