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Section I The Building Blocks of Writing Words, sentences, and paragraphs are the building blocks of writing. The first part of this book deals with choosing.

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Presentation on theme: "Section I The Building Blocks of Writing Words, sentences, and paragraphs are the building blocks of writing. The first part of this book deals with choosing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Section I The Building Blocks of Writing Words, sentences, and paragraphs are the building blocks of writing. The first part of this book deals with choosing words. Most of the rest of the book deals with arranging words.

2 Chapter 1 Word Choice

3 I Principles of Word Choice Principle I: Word in scientific research papers should be PRECISE Precise, definite, specific, concrete words evoke a mental image. “dog” and “animal” “pattern of discharge” and “response characteristics” Words that evoke mental images help make writing easy to read Abstractions (such as “animal’ and “characteristics” ) make reading difficult

4 1. Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the arota was obstructed greatly decreased; reduced by 80% 2. The short circuit current remained increased for several hours. 5? 7? 9? 3. The change in short-circuit current produced by 10 -5 M major basic protein was 85% of the maximal response to isoproterenol. increase or decrease 4. The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 h incubated in, grown in, bathed in 5. Animals were studied 4-9 weeks later lambs

5 6. In Xenopus, microinjection of mRNA on the dorsal side ventralized the embryo. This ventralizing effect was rescued by catenin or Siamois prevented, blocked 7. Deficits in Drosophila containing a deletion of its APP homolugue can be partially rescued by human APP695 offset “To rescue” means to free from death or destruction. In example 6, an intervention prevents a process (it does not rescue the process) In example 7, one substance offests the lack of another substance (it does not rescue the lack of another substance).

6 8. Transcription of the promoter of the calcium-dependent protease (CANP) gene is negatively regulated by repeated GC-rich elements. prevented, inhibited, repressed “Negatively regulated” is a vague way of expressing a concept that can be conveyed precisely by a variety of verbs. 9. In isolated, perfused dog lungs, infusion of serotonin was associated with an increase in microvascular pressure. caused OR resulted in OR led to an increase in microvascular pressure, OR increased microvascular pressure “was associated with” is imprecise. It indicated only that some connection exists. If you can specify what the connection is, you should do so.

7 10. We found a linear increase in the percentage of early loss of microspheres with a doubling of coronary arterial pressure. And OR accompanied by 11. With inhalation of amyl nitrate, compliance decreased. during 12. Maximal coronary vasodilatation with carbochromen had other effects induced by 13. The salicylates are rapidly absorbed with a peak plasma salicylate concentration within 2 h. reaching, OR, as evidenced by

8 14. The osmotic pressure of plasma was substracted from the osmotic pressure of plasma with heparin. plasma that contained heparin, OR heparinized plasma, OR heparin-containing plasma “With” is the vaguest, most ambiguous word in English. Sentences 10 – 14 illustrate five different meaning of “with”: addition, time, cause, supporting detail, and component, respectively. Because “with” can mean so many different things, it is clearest to use a precise term whenever possible. The reader should not have to guess what you mean.

9 “With” does have legitimate or standard uses. (1) “in the company of” such as “I went to the movies with my friends” (2) “by the means or agency of” such as “ We measured the desk with a rule” (3) “having as an attribute” such as “patients with diabetes” (4) Some verbs are followed by “with”. For example. “supplemented with”, “compared with”, “ventilated with”

10 Principle II, Words in scientific research papers should be SIMPLE The point is not that big, fancy words are bad and that little, simple words are good. The point is that you must use technical words, and these tend to be big, fancy, and heavy. Therefore, to keep you writing from being too heavy; choose simple words from the rest of the sentence.

11 Simple words usually have few syllables. They are words you would say to child. For example, most people would not say “utilize” to a child; they would say “use”. In general, if an idea is simple, do not make it complex. If an idea is complex, write it as simply as possible.

12 15. Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at ½, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis girls, boys, after, beginning 16. The rapid replication of chromosomes relies on DNA polymerases that initiate replication in response to regulatory signals, achieve high processivity without dissociation from the template, and then disengage rapidly and restart replication elsewhere as need start

13 17. As an initial step toward understanding the relationship between multiple trans-acting factors and GC-rich sequences, we have isolated a cDNA clone for a factor that binds to a GC- rich sequence. first In examples 15-17, the technical terms (dialysis, replication, chromosomes, DNA polymerases, trans-acting factor, GC-rich sequences) are heavy and make reading slow. To keep the sentence light and readable, make the other words as simple as possible. (Note that “female,” “male,” “following,” “initiation,” “initiate,” and “initial” are not “bad words”, they are just unnecessarily fancy in thee sentences.)

14 18. The expression of these genes by motor neurons is evident prior to the formation of distinct motor axon pathways and before the segregation of motor neurons into columns. before

15 19. These multiple docking sites guide the saltatory movement of karyopherin-NLS protein complexes from the cytoplasmic to the nucletplasmic side of the nuclear pore complex by a series of docking and undocking reactions. discontinuous, leaping, jumping “Saltatory” is a fancy, abstract work, unlikely to be familiar to native speakers of English, let alone to nonnative speakers. In contrast, “docking” is a simple, picturesque word. “Saltatory” clashes with “docking” “Leaping” and “jumping” create a mental image that works with the image created by “docking.” If these images are not precise, use “discontinuous”

16 20. Prostaglandins are known to enhance nociceptive responses and accordingly indomethacin and aspirin have been shown to reduce pain increase pain “Enhance” is a buzz word. Its meaning is vague. Like “with,” “enhance” is used for a variety of meanings and thus has almost no meaning itself.

17 21. In the somatosensory system, for example, the different somatic sensory submodalities (touch, proprioception, nociception, and thermoregulation) result from the activation of distinct sensory cells that project to specific regions of the brain via topographically segregated pathway. subtypes, functions, senses; pain; heat Either use a simpler word than “submodalities,” such as “subtypes” or “functions,” or simplify “somatic sensory submodalities” to “somatic senses.” It would be best if all the senses could be named by simple words, but since they cannot, use as many simple words as you can.

18 22. These ganglia contained 1-40 neuronal perikarya. cell bodies 23 The Dopper signal displayed continuous, low frequency blood flow that was directed hepatopetally. toward the liver Even though “perikarya” and “hepatopetally” are legitimate technical terms, the simpler terms “cell bodies” and “toward the liver” can be used here. Specialist will not be insulated by the use of the simpler terms, people from other fields will understand the simpler terms more readily than they will the fancy ones.

19 Principle III Words in scientific research papers should be NECESSARY Use the fewest words possible. The more noise, the less message. However, brevity is not the first principle of word choice; it is the third principle. The point is to be as brief as possible consistent with clarity. If it takes more words to be clear, use more words

20 24. After. 4 h of hemodialysis, we abruptly ended the hemodialysis procedure. After 4 h, we abruptly ended the hemodialysis procedure “of hemodialysis” is unnecessary because it is implied by the rest of the sentence 25. Oxygen uptake in response to drugs was examined and found to vary considerably Oxygen uptake in response to drugs varied considerably It is unnecessary to say that you examined a response. If you found a response, you must have examined it. Similarly, it is not necessary in this sentence to say that a response was found. If you say what the response was, this must be what you found

21 26 Wnt inhibits the activation of GSK-3b through Dsh. This inhibition leads to accumulation of a cytoplasmic pool of b- catenin. This inhibition leads to accumulation of b-catenin in the cytoplasm OR This inhibition leads to a pool of b-catenin in the cytoplasm A pool is an accumulation. Since “pool” is a simpler and more picturesque word than “accumulation,” “pool” is first choice here.

22 27. Maximal coronary blood flow further decreased endocardial diameter and increased wall thickness during systole. Both the decrease in systolic endocardial diameter and the increase in systolic wall thickness were greater when the pericardium was closed. Both of these changes were greater when the pericardium was closed The repetition in these sentence is words than unnecessary; it is confusing. To indicated to the reader that these are the same effects, it is clearest to use a category term that encompasses both decrease and increase. The best category term here is “changes.” In addition, add “these” to indicate that you mentioned the changes in the previous sentence.

23 Principle IV Guidelines for Using Abbreviations Abbreviations: make of the first letter of each word or of each important syllable (for example, DNA, deosyribonucleicacid) Standard abbreviations for units of measurement (such as ml, kg, min) are internationally accepted and therefore can be used freely. Abbreviations are deceptive. They make reading easier if you know them already. If the abbreviations are new to you, they make reading a chore. Since a sizable percentage of your readers may not recognize the abbreviations, you should keep abbreviations to a minimum. Readers can usually handle two or three abbreviations per paragraph (and throughout the paper). Ten abbreviations (as in Example 28) are overload. So try to avoid abbreviations, especially nonstandard ones.

24 28. This study measured the response of forearm blood flow (FBF) and forearm vascular resistance (FVR) after isometric handgrip exercist (IHE) and related them to plasma norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) in 12 normotensives (N) and 14 primary hypertensives (PH). When to Use Abbreviations The usual reason for using an abbreviation is to replace a term that is long or unwieldy An abbreviation should be used often enough that the reader does not forget the meaning. One exception is that a very long term, such as tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA), should be abbreviated even if it is used only once or twice more in the paper, preferably within one paragraph. Another exception is an abbreviation that is familiar to the readers o, for example, DNA, HEPES buffer. Such abbreviations may be used freely

25 How to Avoid Abbreviations Instead of an abbreviation, sometimes one word from a long term can be used. For example, “isometric handgrip exercise” can be called “exercise”, instead of “IHE” (a nonstandard abbreviation), if only one type of exercise is mentioned in the paper. To avoid “Group A”, try to use a characteristic to name the group, for example, the “hypotensive group.” When inventing new words, try to invent short terms that do not need to be abbreviated. Fro example, “endorphins,” was a good choice – far better than “opiate receptor blocker” would have been.

26 II. Words Carelessly Interchanged 1.ABILITY, CAPACITY Ability. The mental or physical power to do something, or the skill in doing it. Capacity. The full amount that something can hold, contain, or receive. Optimal oxygen transport depends on the remarkable ability of hemoglobin to combine with oxygen. The oxygen capacity of 1 g of hemoglobin is 1.39 ml of oxygen

27 2. ACCURACY, PRECISION, REPRODUCIBILITY Accuracy. The degree of conformity of a measurement to the known or true value of the quantity measured ( 准确) Precision. Broadly, the degree of refinement with which a measurement is made or report. (精确) Reproducibility. The degree to which related measurements, made under the same circumstances, can be duplicated. (可重复性) The accuracy of the polygraphic method for estimating the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation was checked by the conentional manometric technique. The value 3.43 shows the greater precision than the value 3.4, but it is not necessarily more accurate. The reproducibility of the method, as analyzed in 18 series of sequential measurements in 12 dogs, was excellent.

28 3. ALTERNATELY, ALTERNATIVELY Alternately. Following by turns: first one, then the other. Alternatively. Involving a choice between two or more courses of action or possibilities. The mice were alternately fed and deprived of food The dog’s weight can be controlled by diet or, alternatively, by drugs.

29 4. AMONG, BETWEEN Among. In the midst of. “Among” is used to express the relation of one thing to a group of many surrounding things. It is not used to express the relationship of two things. We found one intact test tube among the broken ones. Between. Expresses the relation of two or more things as individuals. There were no significant differences between the three experimental groups.

30 5. AMOUNT, CONCENTRATION, CONTENT, LEVEL Amount. The total bulk, or quantity, of that which is measured. The amount of DNA isolated from the left ventricle of the rats was 600 ug. Concentration. The amount of a substance contained in a given amount of another substance; the strength or density of a solution. Content. The total amount of a substance in another substance. The concentration of DNA in the left ventricle of the rat is 1.5 ug/mg of tissue. The ventricle weights 400 mg. Therefore, the ventricular content of DNA is 600 ug.

31 Level. Position along a vertical axis The chest was open at the level of the fifth rib. Relative position or rank on a scale. Cardiac output and heart rate did not increase above normoxic levels. “Level” is also used a a general term for amount, concentration, or content. Blood sugar levels (that is, concentrations) remained stable throughout the experiment.

32 6. CONTINUAL, CONTINUOUS Continual. Intermittent, occurring at repeated intervals. The experiments were hampered by continual infections in the rat colony. Continuous. Uninterrupted, unbroken continuity The machine made a continuous hum

33 7. INCIDENCE, PREVALENCE Incidence. Number of cases developing per unit of population per unit of time According to data from the American Lung Association, the incidence of tuberculosis is 100 cases per 100,000 persons per year. Prevalence. Number of cases existing per unit of population at a given time; more loosely, the degree to which something occurs (how widespread, hot common it is) The prevalence of tuberculosis in the Bay Area at the present time is 300 cases per 100.000 persons

34 8. INCLUDE, COMPRISE, CONPOSE, CONSIST OF Include. To have as a part or member; to be made up of, at lease in part; to contain. “Include”often implies an incomplete listing Conditions that increase intra-abdominal pressure also increase the likelihood of significant reflex. These conditions include obesity, ascites, and pregnancy. Comprise. To consist of “Comprise” implies a complete listing. “Comprise” is not used in the passive. The Union comprises 50 states.

35 Compose. To make up the constituent part of. “Compose” is frequently used in the passive The Union is composed of 50 states. Consist of. To be made up of, to be composed of Pre-prolactin and ovalbumin consist of 228 and 385 residues, respectively.

36 9. INCREASE, AUGMENT, ENHANCE, IMPROVE, SPEED Increase. A general word that means to become or to make greater in some respect, such as size, quantity, number, degree, value, or intensity. Although the insulin concentration increased, the insulin/glucose ratio decreased Blood pressure was increased by intravenous injection of epinephrine Augment. A more formal word that generally implies to increase by addition, often to increase something that is already of a considerable size, amount etc.

37 Confiscation of the monasteries greatly augmented the resources of the crown. Enhance. An evaluation word that means to add to something already attractive, worthy, or valuable, thus increasing its value. The neat polished floors were enhanced by fine Arabian carpets. Improve. To advance to a better state or quality; to make better The patient’s condition did not improve after chemotherapy. Speed. To hasten Lying in bed for 10 days speeds recovery from a back injury.

38 10. INTERVAL, PERIOD Interval. The time between two specified instants, events, or states. Period. The time during which events or states occur. Electrical testing was performed at 5-min intervals for a period of 30 min after the administration of insulin.

39 11. LOCATE, LOCALIZE Locate. To determine the position of something; to find its location We located a fetal hindleg and delivered it through a small incision in the uterine wall Localize. (With an object) To confine or fix in a particular area or part. (Without an object) To collect or accumulate in or be restricted to a specific or limited area Hot applications helped to localize the infection Iodine tends to localize in the thyroid

40 12. MILLMOLE, MILLIMOLAR, MILLIMOLAL Millimole (mmol). An amount, not a concentration Millimolar (mM). A concentration, not an amount A 0.5 millimolar solution contains 0.5 millimole of a solute in 1 liter of solution (or, a 0.5 mM solution contains 0.5 mmol/liter of solution). The final volume is 1 liter.

41 13. MUCUS, MUCOUS Mucus. The noun. Mucous. The adjective Mucus is a viscous secretion of the mucous membranes.

42 14. OPTIMAL, OPTIMUM Optimal. The adjective, never used as a noun. Optimum. The noun; often used as an adjective. An organism will grow best under optimal conditions The optimum is the most favorable set of conditions for the growth or reproduction of an organ

43 15. PARAMETER, VALABLE, CONSTANT Constant ( 常数 ). A constant is a quantity that is fixed, that is, the dame wherever it is found. Parameter ( 参数 ). A parameter is not fixed absolutely, as a constant is. A parameter can change. But a parameter is fixed for a given system. Thus, a parameter is a characteristic, that is, a difiner, of a system. Variable ( 变量 ). A variable is a quantity that can change in a given system. Thus, a variable is not a characteristic (definer) of a system. Pi is a constant; 2 is a constant.

44 Parameters from saturation experiments (the dissociation constant, KD, and the receptor concentration, Bmax) were determined by an analysis of bound ligand as a fraction of free ligand. The concentration of a drug in the blood plasma as a function of time after injection is variable. Note. The mean and standard deviation of a given population are parameters. Estimates of the mean and standard deviation (obtained from a random sample from that population) are statistics. Example in Page 20 – 21 is excellent

45 16. PRONE, SUPINE Prone. Lying or placed so that the face and the belly are downward. Supine. Lying or placed on the back (supine) with the face and the belly up We placed the dog prone on the table so that we could examine its back. We placed the apnneic man supine and applied rhythmic pressure to his rig cage.

46 17. REPRESENT, BE Represent. To serve as a sign or symbol of; to take the place of Be. Equal, constitute. Each data point represents one measurement of airway resistance Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system

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