5 minutes to better science writing

If your writing is starting to look a little frayed around the edges and lacking that enthusiastic zing you had when you first got to the keyboard, its time for you to up your stylistic game. Three great resources are available to help you improve your writing in five minutes or less.

First, think about your verbs. Far too often our friend the cranky reviewer will lose their mind if they have to read ‘in order to measure exhaustion in reviewers, we measured (number of nodding heads in this section)’. Blargh. Hop over to this handy table of business action verbs from the good folks at Pepperdine that make you want to invest, capture, upend and accelerate programmatic efforts. And if those few hundred words aren’t enough, a search of the googler for ‘business actions verbs’ will get you scads more.

Second, from the land of plant biology, blogger extraordinaire Hope Jahren shares her tips for turning your grant proposal into a hard driving sales pitch your study section will love. All her protips are easily applied to papers, reports and charming letters to your chairman asking for a sabbatical in Fiji. Your mileage may vary.

Finally, our buddy from Harvard, Steven Pinker, wants you to know ‘adverse’, ‘as far as’, ‘criteria’ and dozens of other words and phrases are more often misused than used correctly. He’s put out a book called “The Sense of Style” on the topic, but you can get some great pointers by checking out this cheat sheet.

Happy writing folks, and we’d love to hear any resources you love as well!

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1 Comment

* …the cranky reviewer will lose her mind when she reads… [must be cranky and must edit]*
Thanks for great links!

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