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Writing Science in Plain English (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Paperback – May 24, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (May 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022602637X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226026374
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In these 124 brisk pages, Greene manages to deliver a series of practical, hands-on lessons to make scientific prose more lucid, more direct, more immediately comprehensible, and, yes, more concise."
(Science Editor)

"A great resource for anyone preparing to embark on scientific writing—whether a paper for class or a research article submitted for publication."
(Choice)

"Greene’s feet are placed firmly on the ground. Her recommendations are widely applicable, and the solid ideas presented in this book should influence good use of English in any situation. Scientists should treat Writing Science as a user manual to keep their writing on track."
(Journal of Scholarly Publishing)

“This is the best book of this sort I have read. Anne E. Greene practices what she preaches, writing clearly for a general scientific audience. She comes across as both highly knowledgeable and accessible. Greene makes achieving clarity look simple, and I found myself marveling at her wizardry. Readers will find the text empowering.”
(Gina Maranto, University of Miami)

"Why must the scientific literature be as confusing and dull as an insurance contract or a manufacturer’s warranty? It doesn’t have to be like that!  Writing Science in Plain English can teach any scientist how to write more compelling and lucid papers. Anne E. Greene deserves a round of applause from scientific editors, peer reviewers, and readers everywhere."
(David S. Wilcove, Princeton University)

"Writing Science in Plain English should be required reading for both established scientists and undergraduates who might become scientists. Anne Greene uses plain English and instructive examples from the scientific literature to show student writers how to say what they need to say more concisely, more accessibly, and more effectively. Would that all writers followed her advice."
(John Alcock, Arizona State University)

“This guide echoes the advice I have given to students in scientific writing classes over my career. It rebuts the notion that science writing is different in kind and exempt from the rules that apply to other non-fiction writing: it requires strong narrative direction, active voice, strong verbs, short words where possible, and so on. This lucid, step-by-step book should be required reading for entering graduate students in the life sciences, and will be a welcome addition to the instructor’s reference shelf.”
(Steven W. Buskirk, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

About the Author

Anne E. Greene is a biologist by training and teaches scientific writing in the Wildlife Biology Program at The University of Montana.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Canfield on August 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have a wide shelf of books on writing, but Writing Science in Plain English stands out from the rest. I believe it is an essential resource for all scientists and students. Everyone who writes about science needs to focus on the essentials of good communication, and Greene strikes gold with her approach: she presents material that science writers can actually use. So many times books on writing give long anecdotes and background that readers need to wade through to get to the author's advice, but the format of this book mirrors the brevity and clarity that are the goals of good science writing. Greene gets right to the point, and provides useful information that can be employed easily and immediately. It will earn a place alongside Strunk and White on the shelf of every serious science writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bpilcher on February 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I highly recommend Anne Greene’s book. She devotes each of her very short chapters to one or two key elements, and those elements lead to very clear, concise writing in any field. When writing about science, especially journal articles, authors tend to write in the third person and use passive verbs and abstract terminology. She tells her readers how to overcome these and many more problems. Although most of the principles are simple, they are unfamiliar to many students and professionals I’ve encountered. She also presents the reader with exercises to build skills in their implementation. I am teaching an undergraduate scientific technical writing course; this book does more in less time to improve writing than anything I’ve encountered to date. Whether you are teaching such a course or want a quick way to improve your own writing, you should buy this book. Your students won't believe that it is possible to buy a textbook so cheaply. An added benefit is that you can read it online or with regular e-book applications and are not constrained to reading it in the applications that many publishers require for textbooks.This enables students to read it on campus computers that don't allow the installation of applications.
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Format: Paperback
The book is interesting but it has too many mistakes that really bother me since this is a book on writing well. The author changes the meaning of the text when revising it, makes assumptions and omits parts of the sentences. I have found three such examples and I am only at page 17.

"Understanding seasonal habitat ranges and their distribution is critical for X conservation and management" (16 words) is changed to "Before we can conserve and manage X we must understand their seasonal habitats" (15 words). The author wants to show the new sentence is shorter and completely omits "ranges" and "distribution" which would lengthen the revised sentence.

Edit: Finished the book. It is useful and worth its price. Most of what the author says will not amaze you but it is good advice and it is nice to have everything collected together. Some examples get dry and tiring but most of it can be easily read. I liked it.
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By MayMay on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read and tips for my writing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great simple book to help fine tune your writing to be concise and clear. A nice reference book to have around
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