Friday, October 04, 2013

Rules of Writing

The quality of scientific writing would be enhanced enormously if only scientists would learn to adhere more carefully to seven easy rules. These rules can be illustrated by applying them to a simple declarative sentence such as:    Modern Minnesota barns have roofs.
  1. Every sentence should begin with a passive verb:
    There are modern Minnesota barns which have roofs.

  2. The verb "to have" should always be replaced by the verb "to be characterized by":
    There are modern Minnesota barns which are characterized by roofs.

  3. Every sentence should begin with a conjunction; "and", "but", and "yet" are quite acceptable, but "however" is preferred:
    However, there are modern Minnesota barns which are characterized by roofs.

  4. Terms such as "occur in", "are located", and "presence of" should be used as often as possible:
    However, there are modern barns located in the state of Minnesota which are characterized by the presence of roofs.

  5. The noun "time" should never be used without the prefix, "period of":
    However, there are barns located in the state of Minnesota in the modern period of time which are characterized by the presence of roofs.

  6. Important points should always be emphasized:
    However, the attention of the reader is called to the fact that it is important to note that there are barns located in the state of Minnesota in the modern period of time which are characterized by the presence of roofs.

  7. Every scientist should use such terms as "spatial", "factors", and "environment" as often as possible, to demonstrate that he really is a scientist, and he should also use such terms as "socioeconomic" and "perception" to show quite clearly that he is a behavioral and social scientist, but such old-fashioned terms as "parameter" should be avoided like the plague:
    However, the attention of the reader is called to the fact that it is important to note that there are barns spatially located in the socioeconomic environment of the state of Minnesota in the modern period of time which are perceived to be characterized by the spatial presence of roofs.

The improvement is obvious. A serious scientist, of course, would replace such ridiculously simple and patently unscientific terms as "barn" and "roof" by a vastly more impressive and scientific terminology.


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