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Introduction to Watch your Language

Introduction to Watch your Language

In this module, we will cover the following topics:

  • Language features related to publishing in English (and why?)
  • Paragraphs
  • Sentences
  • Words
  • Punctuation
  • Using professional help and becoming a professional

We suggest that you evaluate these topics in your own text systematically. For example, to take one topic at a time and check parts of your text or published text or the text of your peers. Remember, these topics serve as guidelines and as with all our topics, they are by no means exclusive. The beauty of writing is that we can apply rules to our advantage, but there are many more roads that lead to Rome. However, from our experience, and from evidence, being aware of how things can be done, should be done, will make your justification of your choices that much more clear. Sometimes we need to question the rules that school books, teachers, and our native languages have implanted on our value system of the language we need to use for writing.

For example, the assumption that science writing needs to be formal or that we need to write in passives or that we can never use “I” when writing science. All three of these assumptions are not only wrong, they are also right. Wrong because science writing is not informal writing. Right because science writing in some journals will actually not allow you to write in “I”.

In all cases, the goal is to increase the breadth of your writing skills, which include the breadth of your language application skills. Writing in passive is not wrong, writing in active is not wrong, writing long sentences is not wrong, but, question whether when we do so, does it achieve the ultimate aim of our text: clarity!

Let clarity be the driving force of all your science writing, which is rooted in rhetorical structures, but also in language structures.

 

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