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The "art" of scientific writing in English (for a non native)

A simple how-to of frequent errors made while writing an article in English (American)

Wednesday 18 July 2012, by Stéphane Téletchéa

Of course, since I’m French, this article will be far from being complete, so do not hesitate to correct me !

Define the topic of your research publication

http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWstrategy.html

Start your document with well-defined sections

http://geog.arizona.edu/~comrie/geog230/report.htm
http://classweb.gmu.edu/biologyresources/writingguide/ScientificPaper.htm
http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/~smaloy/MicrobialGenetics/topics/scientific-writing.pdf

Checklist of words you should pay attention to while writing

http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/checklist.php

Tips

http://classweb.gmu.edu/biologyresources/writingguide/PracticalTips.htm

Some remarks from teachers

http://classweb.gmu.edu/biologyresources/writingguide/Professors.htm

Be concise when you write

Most often the number of words allowed in a paper is limited (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/biology/ug/research/paper.html). Here is a short list of replacements:

Instead of: Write:
possess have
sufficient enough
utilize use
demonstrate show
assistance help
terminate end
Instead of:Write:
prior to before
due to the fact that because
in a considerable number of cases often
the vast majority of most
during the time that when
in close proximity to near
it has long been known that I’m too lazy to look up the reference

Pay attention to americanism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1095705
http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/jones/differences.htm

Words ending in -or (American) -our (British) color, colour, humor, humour, flavor, flavour etc.
Words ending in -ize (American) -ise (British) recognize / recognise, patronize / patronise etc.
modeller in American, modeler in English
http://www.pe2000.com/canute_spelling.htm
http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/jones/differences.htm

Idiomatic expressions / proverbs

http://www.e-frenchtranslation.com/proverbs.htm
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=475327
http://www.anglaisfacile.com/free/proverbes-2.php
http://www.proz.com/glossary-translations/english-to-french-translations/152
http://www.languagerealm.com/french/frenchidioms.php

The order of words in a sentence is important

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/597/01/

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