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Jargon to avoid in scientific and technical writing

The following is a list of words, expressions and jargon to avoid in scientific and technical writing. The original list was posted on EST-L on the Internet with permission from the author by students of Roy Bowers, Center for Biological Research, La Paz, Mexico and posted on the Web (http://www.cibnor.conacyt.mx/est/day.html). The list was transcribed from Robert A. Day's outstanding books on technical writing:

  • Day, Robert A. "How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper". I.S.I Press, Philadelphia, Penn. 1979
  • Day, Robert A. "Scientific English: A guide for Scientists and Other Professionals". Oryx Press, Phoenix, Arizona. 1992.

Additions added to the original list come from:

  • Day, Robert A. "How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper". 3rd ed. Oryx Press, Phoenix, AZ, 1988
  • Redish, Janice C.; Felker, Daniel B.; Pickering, Frances; Charrow, Veda R.; and Holland, V. Melissa "Guidelines for Document Designers a Product of the Document Design Project Funded by the National Institute of Education". American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C. 1981.
  • Style guidelines from Cynthia Lockley, IBM Corporation, and others.
Avoid Use instead
a considerable amount of much
a considerable number of many
a great number of times often
a majority of most
a number of some
a small number of a few
absolutely essential essential
accompany go with
accounted for by the fact that because
adjacent to near
afford an opportunity let
along the lines of like
an example of this fact that for example
an order of magnitude faster 10 times faster
apparent clear
approximately about
are of the same opinion agree
as a consequence of because
as a matter of fact in fact (or leave out)
as a means of to
as is the case as happens
as of this date today
as to about (or leave out)
as to whether whether
at a rapid rate rapidly
at an early date soon
at an earlier date previously
at some future time later
at the conclusion of after
at the present time now
at this point in time now
based on the fact that because
be advised that (leave out)
by means of by, with
capability ability
causal factor cause
caveat warning
completely full full
component part
consensus of opinion consensus
considerable amount of much
deem think
definitely proved proved
despite the fact that although
due to the fact that because
during the course of during, while
during the time that while
echelons levels
elucidate explain
employ use
enclosed herewith enclosed
encounter meet
end result result
endeavor try
entirely eliminate eliminate
equivalent equal
eventuate happen
evidenced showed
fabricate make
facilitate ease, help
fatal outcome death
fewer in number fewer
finalize end
first of all first
following after
for a period of for
for the purpose of for
for the reason that because
from the point of view for
from the time that since
future plans plans
give an account of describe
give consideration to consider
give rise to cause
has been engaged in a study of has studied
has the capability of can
have the appearance of look like
having regard to about
impact (v.) affect
important essentials essentials
in a number of cases some
in a position to can, may
in a satisfactory manner satisfactorily
in a timely manner promptly
in a very real sense in a sense (or leave out)
in almost all instances nearly always
in case if
in close proximity to close, near
in connection with about, concerning
in lieu of instead of
in many cases often
in my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that I think
in order to to
in reference to about
in relation to about, towards, toward
in respect to about
in some cases sometimes
in spite of the fact that although
in terms of about
in the absence of without
in the amount of for
in the event that if
in the first place first
in the matter of about
in the not-too-distant future soon
in the possession of has, have
in the range of about
in the vicinity of about
in view of the fact that because
inasmuch as because
inception start
incline to the view think
incumbent upon must
initiate begin, start
is defined as is
it goes without saying that I I
it has been reported by Smith Smith reported
it has long been known that (I haven't bothered to look up the reference)
it is apparent that apparently
it is believed that I think
it is clear that clearly
it is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding (I don't understand it)
it is doubtful that possibly
it is evident that A produced B A produced B
it is generally believed many think
it is my understanding that I understand that
it is of interest to note that (leave out)
it is often the case that often
it is recommended that we recommend
it is worth pointing out in this context that note that
it may be that I think
it may, however, be noted that but
it should be noted that note that (or leave out)
it was observed in the course of these experiments that we observed
join together join
lacked the ability to could not
large in size large
let me make one thing perfectly clear (a snow job is coming)
liase with coordinate with
majority of most
make preparations for prepare
make reference to refer to
methodology method
militate against prohibit
month of (leave out)
more or less about
needless to say (leave out, and consider leaving out whatever follows it)
new initiatives initiatives
not later than by
of great theoretical and practical importance useful
of long standing old
of the opinion that think that
on account of because
on a daily basis daily
on behalf of for
on no occasion never
on the basis of by
on the grounds that because
on the order of about
on the part of by, among, for
on the other hand although, however, otherwise
on the subject of about
optimum best
our attention has been called to the fact that (we belatedly discovered)
owing to the fact that because
parameters limits
penultimate next to the last
perform do
permit let
place a major emphasis on stress
pooled together pooled
practicable practical
presents a picture similar to resembles
prior to before
prioritize rank
protein determinations were performed proteins were determined
provided that if
pursuant to about
quantity measure
quite (leave out)
quite a large quantity of much
quite unique unique
rather interesting interesting
re about
red in color red
referred to as called
reference about
regarding about
relating to the subject matter of about
relative to about
remuneration pay, payment
rendered completely inoperative broken
respecting about
resultant effect result
root cause cause
serious crisis crisis
shortfall shortage
smaller in size smaller
so as to to
subject matter subject
subsequent to after
sufficient enough
take into consideration consider
terminate end
the great majority of most
the opinion is advanced that I think
the predominant number most
the question as to whether whether
there is a reason to believe I think
this result would seem to indicate this result indicates
through the use of by, with
ultimate last
utilize use
was the opinion that believed
ways and means ways, means (not both)
we wish to thank we thank
whether or not whether
with a view to to
with reference to about (or leave out)
with regard to about
with respect to about, except
with the possible exception of except
with the result that so that
within the ballpark of about
 
 
 


 
 
 

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