Author(s): George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan Source: American Scientist, Vol. 78, No. 6 (November-December ), pp. Published by: Sigma Xi. *Examples and explanations from Gopen, George D. and Judith A. Swan. “The Science Writing,” American Scientist 78, no.6 (November-December ): pp. Gopen, G.D, Swan J.A (). The Science of Scientific Writing. American Scientist Vol. 78 pgs. Add to My Bookmarks Export citation. Gopen, G.D .

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In place of the word-limit concept, we offer the following definition: As a result, the reader focuses attention on the arrival of the verb and resists recognizing anything in the interrupting material as being of primary importance.

In revising the example passage, we made certain decisions about what to omit and what to emphasize. Here is our first example of scientific prose, in its original form: We never have to wander too far into a sentence without being told sciientist we are and what former strands of discourse scientisr being continued.

As communities of readers, however, we tend to work out tacit agreements as to what kinds of meaning are most likely to be extracted from certain articulations. It is relatively long, 42 words; but that turns out not to be the main cause of its burdensome complexity. Thus, sentences can be extended effortlessly to dozens of words, as long as there is scoentist medial syntactic closure for every piece of new, stress-worthy information along the way.

The Science of Scientific Writing | American Scientist

Our expectations are frustrated, however, when those effects are not mentioned in the next sentence: Along the southern segment of the San Andreas fault the recurrence interval is years with variations of several decades. Those well-wrought serpents all had something in common: Readers have relatively fixed expectations about where in the structure of prose they will encounter particular items of its substance.

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Bibliography Colomb, Gregory G.

If these structural expectations are continually violated, readers are forced to divert energy from understanding the content of a passage to unraveling its structure. Improving the quality of writing actually improves the quality of thought. Let the buyer in ordinary course of business beware: When added to the nuclear extract, the egg extract affected the efficiency of transcription in two ways.

A writer’s personal style is the sum of all the structural choices that person tends to make when facing the challenges of creating discourse. When the sections are confused—when too much experimental detail is found in the Results section, or when discussion and results intermingle—readers are often equally confused.

A Summary of “The Science of Scientific Writing”

Since “triisopropylsilyl groups” is new and important information here, create for it a stress position. Is the functional significance of URF’s still “elusive”?

It appears that the passage is trying to tell several stories simultaneously, allowing none to dominate. Here first is a list of what we perceived to be the new, emphatic material in each sentence:.

We put subjects and verbs together to lessen the reader’s syntactic burdens; we put the material we believed worthy of emphasis in stress positions; and we discarded material for which we could not discern significant connections.

As a result, americsn chances greatly increase that reader and writer will perceive the same material as being worthy of primary emphasis.

This refrain of “recurrence intervals” constitutes the major string of old information in the paragraph. Readers do not simply read; they interpret. Thus a whole list, numbered and indented, can occupy the stress position aerican a sentence if it has been clearly announced as americaan all that remains of that sentence. Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

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Sdan also expect the material occupying the topic position to provide them with linkage looking backward and context looking forward. Here are two possibilities: As we recognize that the sentence is drawing toward its conclusion, we begin to exhale that mental breath.

Let us say that in tracking the temperature of a liquid over a period of time, an investigator takes measurements every three minutes and records a list of temperatures.

A Summary of “The Science of Scientific Writing” — Lawrence A. Crowl

We cannot tell whose story the passage is. There can be no fixed algorithm for good writing, for two reasons. Here is one version of what we think the authors meant to say, with two additional sentences supplied from a knowledge of nucleic acid chemistry: Once again, if our decisions concerning the relative values of specific information differ from yours, we can all blame the author, who failed to make scientust intentions apparent.

On first reading, however, many of us arrive at the paragraph’s end without a clear sense of where we have been or where we are going. Beginning with the exciting material and ending with a lack of luster often leaves us disappointed and destroys our sense of momentum.

From isoperibolic titration measurements, the enthalpy of dC: Second, the egg extract destabilized transcription complexes formed by oocyte but not by somatic 5 S genes. The original failed to communicate its ideas and their connections clearly. In reality, the fault lies not with us, but with the author.