Perhaps the majority of people do not even realize how difficult it is for non-native speakers to correct and edit any language written by its native speakers. Actually that is a part of my job. I wonder how all my friends manage to do it (as many of them do similar jobs to mine).
I am curious if there is any standard way, or methodology, of doing it. The way I do is to set a clear rule of writing, and ask my students and researchers to follow it.
This is a note on technical writing that we use in our lab. This note is constantly revised and improved -- any suggestion is welcome 🙂
Hashimoto Group – Style of Writing
- Avoid using a noun as an adjective. If you have to do so, please convince me why the meaning becomes clear in that way.
- Typically, when you connect multiple nouns to describe anything, you are making up a new word with which readers have no clue.
- School choice -> choice of schools, choice by school, choice in school?
- Similarly, rephrase an adjective to “preposition + noun” if that expression clarifies its meaning
- Do not use this and that as pronouns. Always put some noun to clarify what they refer.
- “This suggests that…” -> “This observation suggests that…”
- Do not use comparative and superlative adjectives without references. Always include phrases of references (e.g. more negative than the other groups, the largest in this group).
- Avoid using significant without statistics.
- Please, understand the difference between a main clause a subordinate clause.
- Pay attentions to tense and tense matching.
- Please, understand the difference between a conjunctive and an adverb.
- Hence, therefore, and however are adverbs, not conjunctives.
- Deliver only one message in one sentence.
- Please, identify and fix all running sentences. Separate them into short sentences.
- Please do not use abbreviation without explanation. Equally importantly, once you set an abbreviation, use that abbreviation for the rest of the text.
- This rule applies to expressions as simple as 2D, PDMS, etc.
- Put one space before a parenthesis.
- Put one space between a number and a unit. This rule applies to numbers in figures.
- Units do not become plural in their abbreviated form.
- Please use correct tenses.
- Results/observations of experiments are in past tense.
- Interpretations and inferences are in present tense.
- Widely accepted facts (theorem and norm in the field) are in present tense.
If you think I am wrong (which might well happen), I am open for discussion on the basis of proper references in writing, grammars and styles. Please help me elaborate and improve the list. Happy writing.