Writing Scientific English

by Christopher Yukna

Writing is usually an exercise in maintaining clarity. Often being concise or brief is extolled. This is not the case with Scientific English. Newcomers to the field often don’t comprehend that the objectives of writing good Scientific English have little to do with communication . Let’s look at common reasons for writing Scientific English.

1. To be published without embarrassing questions on the content of the article
2. Because the boss wants his name on a paper
3. To get a raise
4. As egoboost (see to be published)
5. To keep others scientists, reporters, the general public outside the field
6. .To further Science (I put it in to be fair)
professor why can't anyone understand scientists

An Excellent Example of How Scientific English Can Be Used to Confound and Bewilder

Read the paragraph below and render this into common English :

In the course of a 24 hour period it often behooves one to locomote in three dimentional space where it is not proscribed but is on limited access. These aforemention regions are wontedly circumscribed by devices that inherently consist of either processed plant matter, modified petrochemicals, any of a large class of materials with highly variable mechanical and optical properties that solidify from the molten state without crystallization , are typically made by silicates fusing with boric oxide, aluminum oxide, or phosphorus pentoxide, or various metals. The form or accepted mode verges on a one meter span, a two meter elevation and a profundity that is exceedingly variable but usually is limited to 3 to 6 centimeters. It has been said that * use of these contrivances is fundamentally rudimental with no or non complexity the norm. With an extension either of the prehensile appendages that are attached to one’s torso one simply seizes the protuberance that extends for the surface of these devices and rotate the aformentioned protrusion either clockwise or anti-clockwise then one either thrusts forward or draws toward oneself the device and therefore initiating the breach which allows one to continue to perambulate.

(* Notice the use of passive voice. This allows the researcher to avoid making a statement that could be attributed to his or her self thus evading any blame later. In this instance the reader does not ask the question who said, he or she assumes that large numbers of scientists did because the passive voice was used. A consensus is implied. Use of the passive voice was severely restricted in this example of Scientific English. Normally 80% of all Scientific papers are in passive voice.)

Here is the secret to understanding this passage.

© Copyright 1997 by Christopher G. YUKNA

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