Have you met a scholar who has had a manuscript returned with a comment that it needs to be reviewed by a native speaker? It is sure that he will not be in the best of his moods! It is rather frustrating to get your research work rejected after months of hard work, on the mere basis of not being in the correct style or tone. This phenomenon is very common, although you have had your scientific research paper translated or reviewed by a native speaker.
Writing in English is one thing and writing well in English is another. Despite the great involvement of native speakers in refining your paper sometimes you fail to dodge this remark as scientific writing has its own style and rhythm. Passive voice, for example, is considered bad English in various forms of writing, but they are acceptable in scientific writing. Here are some errors you should avoid while writing a scientific manuscript:
Beginning should not be with “It is”
You may be tempted to start a sentence with “It is”, for instance, “It is important to highlight these outcomes that were noticed during experiments”. Although the sentence is grammatically correct, repeated use of this structure allows of the impression of immature writing. Instead, you should begin a sentence like this, “These outcomes are essential to bring to your notice”. So avoid expressions like “It is common” and “There is little attention”. Try to introduce a subject directly in your sentences like “Little attention was given…”
Know the use of “The”
“The” is followed by a noun as long as it is specific. If you are referring to general nouns you should not use ‘the”. For illustration, don’t write “the cells were arranged…” Write “Cells were arranged…” instead. To know other rules of “the,” refer to a good dictionary or a grammar book.
Stay up to date with capitalisation rules
Capitalisation rules are too vast and they keep changing, so it is crucial that you stay in touch with a good dictionary and online links. Capitalise all words within a title barring articles (a/an/the), prepositions (to/at/on), and conjunctions (but/and/or). Capitalise the first letter of department, faculty, division if they are used as a part of title, for example, The Department of Computer Science, The Faculty of Humanities, and The Medical Sciences Division. Another common mistake committed is writing regions and directions. Capitalise the first letter of regions only if they refer to specific region names, for instance, Middle East but west Delhi.
Do not overuse “That”
“That” is only used when you are introducing a subordinate clause, or when you refer to a subject/noun again. However, in some sentences you can skip “that”. For example, “The results showed HCA extract slowed down metabolism.” This sentence doesn’t connect the subordinate clause with “that”, but it is still correct as it doesn’t change the meaning of a sentence and break the flow in reading. However, this is an informal style to write a sentence.
Try to use passive voice
The use of passive voice in writing is often rebuffed as active voice is to-the-point. However, scientific writing embraces the use of passive tone. If your subject is “I” or “We” and you are using it repetitively, you should use passive voice to avoid the overuse of these terms. However, if your subject is other than “I” or “We” like “The experiment showed…”, “The results were…”, and “Insulin sensitivity was….”, don’t use passive voice. If you want to emphasise an the action but not the subject, you should use passive voice.
A scientific research paper can be made presentable if you try to be a bit cautious while writing. Following these rules can help you deter a comment by your doctoral committee to have your paper reviewed by a native speaker. Yet, you are advised to contact professional editors.