Common mistakes in scientific writing

Common mistakes in scientific writing

In scientific writing course, the professor gave me a quiz about common errors in English writing. Followings are sentences made me confuse.

Several researches examined the question, and suggested different solution. (X)
Several studies have examined the question and suggested various solution. (O)

In order to check the performances of the system, we carry out several tests. The result is shown in Fig. 4. (X)
To check the performance of the system, we carried out several tests. The results are shown in Fig. 4. (O)

The studies have either been qualitative or highly dependent on survey data. (X)
The studies have been either qualitative of highly dependent on survey data. (O)

The financial statements of IT companies were included in the study until 2012. (X)
The financial statements of IT companies until 2012 were included in the study. (O)

Of the 30 subjects, 18 are female, and 12 are male. (X)
Of the 30 subjects, 18 were female, and 12 were male. (O)

The receiver included a LNA.
The receiver included an LNA.

This technology remained dominant over the years.
This technology has remained dominant over the years.

The voltage stress of the additional capacitor was same with that of the conventional capacitor.
The voltage stress of the additional capacitor was the same as that of the conventional capacitor.

The report wasn’t clarified enough.
The report was not clarified enough.

A strong RIS(resource information system) is necessary.
A strong resource information system (RIS) is necessary.

[1] proposed a better technique.
In [1], a better technique was proposed.

 

  1. We produced a small (amount / number) of automobiles this year, even (fewer / less) than last year.
    –> Automobiles are countable.
  2. All the bombings involved explosives (that / which) contained the chemicals PETN and RDX.
  3. All the bombings involved Semtex (that / which) contains the chemicals PETN and RDX.
    –> You should use ‘which’ when you explain something, while use ‘that’ when you specialize something.
  4. Following those descriptions, the criteria for assessing each system (are / is) given.
    –> Criteria is plural. The singular form is criterion.
  5. (54 / Fifty-four) sets of data were taken in all.
    –> Use word form when a number is at the front of a sentence. Otherwise, use word form for small numbers (less than ten) and use numeral form for large numbers (larger than ten).
  6. Over the past three weeks, our team made (continual / continuous) improvements to the design.
    –> Continuous means something happens without any break. The sentence means that the team worked without sleeping or eating, if we use continuous.
  7. The airfield looked much (as / like) it did when the Hindenburg exploded almost fifty years ago.
    –> Use ‘as’ with a verb, and use ‘like’ with a noun. (In this case, ‘did’ is the verb).

 

Above this, run-on errors and misplaced modifier errors are also common.

Run-on error: Conjunctions should be in following forms when they concatenate two sentences.

  • [S + V], (and / but / so) [S + V]. (O)
  • [S + V]; (thus / however / otherwise / therefore / hence), [S + V]. (O)
  • [S + V], thus, [S + V]. (X)
  • [S + V]; and, [S + V]. (X)

Misplaced modifier error:

  • After studying English, we had coffee. (O)
  • After washing the samples, they were analyzed. (X)
    –> The subject of the phrase is researchers which is omitted. However, the clause’s subject is the samples, so they are not matched. We can think of following fixes.

    • After washing the samples, we analyzed them. (O)
    • After the samples were washed, they were analyzed. (O)

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