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Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0897747226
ISBN-10: 0897747224
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Scientific English also does a very good job of showing how one can improve individual sentences. Its chief virtues are its wealth of examples (new in this edition) and the special care it gives to the trickiest parts of scientific writing. . . . Scientific English overall is an excellent guide for those people writing scientific English, from peer-reviewed journals to blogs, online comments sections, grants, and social media." - Technical Communication

"This book is an excellent one for reference. It should be a welcome addition to the medical writer's library." - American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert A. Day is professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Nancy Sakaduski is a writer and consultant based in Chadds Ford, PA.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Oryx Pr (June 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897747224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897747226
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,312,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm a technical writer by profession, and taught technical writing for 10 years. I've used this book and Day's "How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper" as textbooks, as well as in the workplace. This is the most succinct, practical, and helpful guide for scientific and technical writing on the market -- and I've looked at an awfully lot of guides! It's easy to use, and often very funny. Also, it's a good example of the clarity and brevity he advocates (this is not, unfortunately, true of many technical writing textbooks). Finally, I heartily concur with Day's belief that "Simplicity of expression is a natural result of profound thought." I've heard many scientists deplore the poor state of scientific education in the U.S. and the rise of "bad science." In my opinion, this is the fault of scientists themselves for not making their methods and results more accessible to the general public. Day's guidelines are an important step in the right direction, and I hope more scientists follow them.
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By A Customer on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have worked as a science writer and editor for years and purchased this book with the intention of using it when working with investigators writing papers, grants applications, etc. (especially with those investigators for whom English may be a second language). Overall I think the book is quite good, and provides clear and concise advice and guidance (as well as numerous examples) on proper English language.
Perhaps it is just a pet peeve of mine, but I take issue with Mr. Day's discussion of the use of the words "that" and "which." Although he provides examples of how the meaning of a sentence can change with the alternate use of "that" and "which," his conclusion is that, if it doesn't change the sentence, use either. To quote from the book, Mr. Day says, "Who gives a damn?"
Well, I do. I'm not a "which-hunter," as Mr. Day describes some, but there are specific instances where these words are to be used, even if the meaning of a sentence doesn't change with either use, and he acknowledges this. Advocating a dismissive attitude about the rules is tantamount to propagating poor English in a society already replete with poor speakers and writers.
Despite this, I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to improve his command of the English language.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals is a complete, clear, and forthright book--wisely written even for nonnative writers, like me. While reading, I'm inspired by the witty epigraphs, the grammatical explanations, and the opportune examples. The authors, themselves, followed their stated guiding principles of scientific writing: (1) to educate, (2) to inform, (3) to record, and (4) to persuade.

Equally appealing is Dr. Day and Ms. Sakaduski's writing tone. Their engaging chapters on the nine "pigeonholes"; the punctuation; the redundancies and jargon; and the voice, person, and tense provide detailed and amiable explanations. For instance, in the tense usage they wrote the following: "In scientific writing, only two tenses are normally used: present and past. Occasionally, the future tense might be used, in pointing to the need for further experimentation . . . ." This advice and its examples--e.g., "Jones (2010) showed that the first quinone to be reduced is tightly bound," "Figure 1 indicates that . . . ," "Table 4 shows that . . . ," "I found," and so on, clarify how to cite and report research findings.

This book contains important scientific writing details. For example, do you know which dash is appropriate between two numbers? In pages 146-148, you'll find the answer. Also, why sometimes you have to write commas and periods inside the quotation marks and sometimes outside? Well, you'll find that that depends on the country of origin of your selected journal: American or British; in the American system, commas and periods always go inside closing quotation marks.
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I'm a medical writer, so this book is far too elementary for my use as a writer; however, as a teacher of students of English as a foreign language (EFL), I've come across few books that can match this one. I spend a lot of time in writing books, style guides and the sort, and this one takes the prize for its readability and accuracy of information. For anyone just starting out as a professional writer (you needn't be a science writer or even "professional" to benefit from this text), I say it's a must-have. Or even if you're looking to break into writing, at any level, you'll find it hard to put down. And unlike most books on grammar and writing, it is written in a style that makes for easy, enjoyable reading. So you could actually read it from cover to cover without feeling as if you've just been hit over the head with a textbook. Hands down, it's five stars!
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Format: Paperback
An excellent aid for scientists whose native tongue is not English, but also a useful aid for any person that wishes to improve their written English skills. I mostly like the witty fashion and simplicity in which is written. In fact, the main message from this textbook is that in simplicity lies the secret to adequately express your ideas, whichever is the language. Furthermore, it provides useful rules and hints for the proper use of expressions, words, adverbs, adjectives, etc. Mandatory!
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