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Today’s agenda: 1) Cutting jargon and useless verbiage 2) Peer editing of Discussion text 3) Student in-class writing 4) Why grammar matters: the comma.

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Presentation on theme: "Today’s agenda: 1) Cutting jargon and useless verbiage 2) Peer editing of Discussion text 3) Student in-class writing 4) Why grammar matters: the comma."— Presentation transcript:

1 Today’s agenda: 1) Cutting jargon and useless verbiage 2) Peer editing of Discussion text 3) Student in-class writing 4) Why grammar matters: the comma The Discussion section, continued

2 Avoid jargon and seek simplicity, brevity, and clarity Robert A. Day How to write and publish a scientific paper (5 th edition). Oryx Press, Phoenix, AZ. Jargon or complex versionSimple, brief, and clear version A considerable amount ofmuch A considerable number of many A decreased amount ofless A decreased number of fewer A majority ofmost A number ofmany A small number of few Absolutely essentialessential Accounted for by the fact thatbecause Adjacent tonear Along the lines of like An adequate amount of enough An example of this is the fact thatfor example

3 In-class activity: Work on the Discussion sections of your papers. Ask for help if you need it, use an outline if that might help, but be sure all the objectives are met, the hypotheses addressed, etc. Remember, start by relating the results to your hypotheses, then interpret in the light of other work, and end by going back to the broad themes that you invoked to begin the Introduction.

4 Why does it matter if I use “correct” punctuation? It just slows me down, and everybody knows what I mean.

5 Please punctuate the following and explain what the words mean: A woman without her man is nothing Lynne Truss Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Gotham Books.

6 Please punctuate the following: A woman, without her man, is nothing. Or A woman: without her, man is nothing.

7 What’s the difference between: No dogs, please. and No dogs please.

8 Are there any rules or is it all arbitrary? Isn’t the language supposed to evolve? (Or at least it does so, whether we want it to or not). Why do the French fight so hard against their language’s evolution? “Everyone has always regarded any usage but his own as either barbarous or pedantic.” Evelyn Waugh

9 Grammar and proper word use are important for at least three different reasons. 1)Proper use of grammar (punctuation, word order, etc.) clarifies the meaning of a string of words so that we can be sure we understand precisely what is meant. In social discourse and in science, the normal goal is communication so we want people to understand us. Unlike oral communication, in writing we cannot use hand gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice. So, the writing has to be precise.

10 Grammar and proper word use are important for at least three different reasons. 1)Proper use of grammar (punctuation, word order, etc.) clarifies the meaning of strings of words so that we can be sure we understand precisely what is written. In social discourse and in science, the normal goal is communication so we want people to understand us. Unlike oral communication, in writing we cannot use hand gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice. So, the writing has to be precise. 2)The English language has a huge vocabulary and many words have similar but not identical meanings. Why not use the right word? Enjoy the richness of the language (though this can be a challenge).

11 Grammar and proper word use are important for at least three different reasons. 1)Proper use of grammar (punctuation, word order, etc.) clarifies the meaning of strings of words so that we can be sure we understand precisely what is written. In social discourse and in science, the normal goal is communication so we want people to understand us. Unlike oral communication, in writing we cannot use hand gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice. So, the writing has to be precise. 2)The English language has a huge vocabulary and many words have similar but not identical meanings. Why not use the right word? Enjoy the richness of the language (though this can be a challenge). 3)Sloppy writing conveys a disrespectful attitude towards the reader and also suggests other forms of sloppiness. If someone cannot take the time to check for mistakes in spelling, can you be confident that he or she collected the data carefully or ran the analyses correctly? Bad writing undermines the reader’s confidence in the whole project.

12 How is a cat different from a comma?, Vs.

13 How is a cat different from a comma? A cat has claws at the end of its paws, A comma’s a pause at the end of a clause. Lynne Truss Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Gotham Books.

14 Why commas matter What is the difference between: The people in line who managed to get tickets were satisfied. The people in line, who managed to get tickets, were satisfied.

15 More on commas 1.Leonora walked on her head a little higher than usual. 2.The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank and swam to the river-bank. 3.The convict said the judge is mad.

16 “Using the comma well announces that you have an ear for sense and rhythm, confidence in your style and a proper respect for your reader.” Or, less kindly: “The rule is: don’t use commas like a stupid person.” Lynne Truss

17 Assignment for next class: Let’s look at whether there is a trend in the number of authors on papers in scientific journals. We will use Science as our example. Go on-line and examine the first 20 papers in the journal for the year designated below and record how many had a single author, two authors, three, etc. Only count research papers, not editorials, obituaries, commentaries or book reviews. Anderson2010Ott1970 Ferguson2005Parilla1965 Huang2000Peng1960 Humphrys1995Reitz1955 Joshi1990Rillera1950 Keeton 1985Ringstad1945 Kim1980West1940 Le1975


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