When you submit a paper to a scientific journal, you want the editor and the referees to focus on the science not the writing, which should transmit your meaning without attracting attention to itself. Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling are important, of course, but your writing should also sound natural to native speakers. One way to achieve this is to avoid subtle errors in word usage. One that I frequently encounter in my ESL editing is the use of “concerning” as an adjective: Continue reading “Concerning” as an adjective
Compound adjectives constructed from a noun plus the past participle of a verb are used frequently in English. Consider, for example, the sentence
The skiers raced down the snow-covered slopes.
Here, “snow-covered” is a compound adjective constructed from the noun “snow” and the past participle of the verb “to cover.” The compound describes the slopes; the slopes were covered. Covered with what? Covered with snow.
The bishop placed the jewel-encrusted crown on the queen’s head.
“Jewel-encrusted” is a compound adjective modifying “crown”; the crown was encrusted with jewels.
Now let’s look a couple of analogous sentence from the scientific literature.
The surface-adsorbed nitrogen was quantified by means of a transient-response experiment.
Here, “surface-adsorbed” is a compound adjective constructed from the noun “surface” and the past participle of the verb “to adsorb.” The compound modifies “nitrogen; the nitrogen was adsorbed. Where was it adsorbed? On the surface. Continue reading Compound adjectives formed with “adsorbed” and “immobilized”
A couple months ago, I posted about unnecessary nominalizations in scientific writing and shared some search strings that you can use to ferret out and revise such constructions. Since then, I’ve been compiling a list of some additional red-flag phrases that tend to signal nominalizations. Here are some of the frequently encountered phrases on my list: Continue reading More red flags