The "art" of scientific writing in English (for a non native)

, by Stéphane

A simple how-to of frequent errors made while writing an article in English (American)

Of course, since I’m French, this article will be far from being complete, so do not hesitate to correct me !

Rule 1 - Define the topic of your research publication ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWstrategy.html

Rule 2 - Start your document with well-defined sections comrie/geog230/report.htm smaloy/MicrobialGenetics/topics/scientific-writing.pdf

Checklist of words you should pay attention to while writing

Rule 3 - The order of words in a sentence is important

Rule 4 - Be concise when you write

Most often the number of words allowed in a paper is limited ( Here is a short list of replacements :


Words to replace for a better understanding or concision of your sentences
Instead of ... Write
possess have
sufficient enough
utilize use
demonstrate show
assistance help
terminate end
prior to before
due to the fact that because
in a considerable number of cases often
the vast majority of most
during that time when
in close proximity to near
it has long been known that I’m too lazy to look up the reference


Some remarks from teachers

Pay attention to americanism wwwesl/egw/jones/differences.htm

Words ending in -or (American) -our (British) color / colour, humor / humour, flavor / flavour, ...
Words ending in -ize (American) -ise (British) recognize / recognise, patronize / patronise, ...

modeller / modelling in American, modeler / modelling in English wwwesl/egw/jones/differences.htm

Idiomatic expressions / proverbs