- Word Choice. Failure to select the most appropriate word
made prose confusing, ineffective, and sometimes actively misleading.
I marked some, and indicated others by sentence's unsatisfactory
- Lack of real characters as subjects. Many sentences died
before the verb because subject was a "nonentity." As bad were those
where subject was so long that reader quit waiting for verb. In both
cases, new material never had a chance to be noticed.
- Grammar problems. All over the map. To my surprise the
dangling participle is alive and well. I keep hoping HS teachers and the
first two writing courses will eradicate it. See below.
Dangling Participle (DP)
From an example this quarter, I have changed
all nouns/verbs to protect the guilty.
Watching the car's speed an accident occurred.
And it wouldn't be any better if last verb were "avoided." In neither
case would reader know who is watching (or not watching). Note that it
doesn't get any better with
Watching the car's speed, the oncoming car kills its driver.
More details can be found at
Damen. Please note last two paragraphs that focus on two
bad actors in scientific prose.
Standard typos and such
- Number and accompanying unit. View the number as an adjective;
then you will insert a space as in 3 min, and not 3min.
- Captalizing elements and their abbreviations. Unless the
first word in the sentence, elements are lower case; abbreviations
have first letter capitalized. Write silicon for element and Si for
The font style of abreviations is normal, not italic; thus
- Use emphasis sparingly. When using italics or bold face or
- Use only one form at a time. Use one emphasis is o.k., but
use many emphases and use many emphases
- Use sparingly, no more than a few words, not whole lines or
paragraphs. To do so is like screaming. Done in short bursts it might
be effective; if you persist for minute or more, most will think you
have lost control (and you have).
Your comments and
suggestions are appreciated.
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