45

One comment he repeated several times was that parts of my text sounded "too conversational." I think meant that I didn't sound professional or academic enough. You'd be better off asking for clarification instead of guessing at the meaning. He also suggested revisions that increased the word count and complexity of the sentences without adding any ...


34

Usually no. When quoting, it is assumed that you are using the original writer's dialect and spelling, since that is a part of what they wrote. The style guides I consulted agree on that point. APA has a blog post confirming that spelling standards pertain only to your own manuscript, not quoted material: The Publication Manual’s spelling guidelines apply ...


32

In this answer, I am going to explain to you why you shouldn't announce what you are about to write anyway. It is boring and redundant and a waste of real estate on the page. Start with a claim, or a key observation. Those can be interesting. Don't talk about your paper in your paper, get to your paper! A sentence saying "The goal of this work is XYZ." can ...


25

Your first option is, really, Pandoc, which was already mentioned. Its usage is quite straightforward. I've done some converting along these lines myself, and it's brilliant. It's included in Debian repositories, so I'd think acquiring an installation wouldn't be a problem. You indeed want to convert to HTML first: pandoc OdtFile.odt -o HtmlFile.html and ...


21

I'll start with something of a confession - I've been (and often still am) a supervisor who suggests changes to technical reports, instruction manuals and guides to functions which appear to have been written in a conversational style. It's worth mentioning that there's a huge grey area between obscure and conversational language. In some cases it's as ...


17

Usage will vary based on the style guide. Some will ask writers to omit the title. Others will conform closely to standard English usage. In MLA 8, under 1.1.2 (Titles of Authors), it recommends that titles "such as Dr., Saint, or Sir" be omitted from works cited lists and "usually" omitted from text discussion. Among the examples is &...


15

The best way to avoid overly general openers is to write them. Go ahead, write them all down. Get them out of your system. If you don't, they're gonna be on your brain distracting you. Once you finish your opening paragraph, go back and cut it ruthlessly. That first line is out of there. Maybe the second and third line too. Start at the line that ...


14

An abstract should cover the whole paper. It reports what the paper is for, what you did and the conclusion. E.g. This paper explores the hypothesis that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The experiment classifies new tricks as tricks the dog hasn't learned before. Six dogs were used in the trial. Three old, three not old. Two tricks were used. One ...


14

This depends on your style guide and potentially your teacher/school/boss/etc.'s guidelines. If your teacher (for example) says to avoid using the first person you may be able to negotiate to change their position, but ultimately they are the ones evaluating your work so you need to follow their rules. None of the three major American style guides forbids ...


13

If your problem were only with the single word which, it would be routine to solve it by simply using a different word: I have been working for the past seven years as some form of interface designer, making me a practitioner in the field of usability studies. But there are other ways to avoid the problem you have identified. I do not think that ...


13

Get to the point? In the field of mathematics, there are problems that present an exceptional level of difficulty. Isn't really the point of your paper is it? This is just fluff. You lose nothing getting rid of it. So what's the second sentence? Maybe that should be promoted to the first?


12

When I wrote user manuals and so on, for A Big Company, they had a corporate style guide for technical writing. Part of it said to minimise the "reading age" or "grade level" of text: to maximise its readability. There was a tool, built-into the word processor software, to evaluate the text's complexity. It preferred shorter sentences. One reason it gave, ...


12

How should you respond? Take a careful and critical look at your own writing, and - in effect - do as your supervisor has suggested. We all get attached to our own writing, word choice, phrases, and so on. Writers (novelists) are often given the advice to root their favourite, overused phrases and kill them off. As far as academic/technical writing is ...


12

There are reasons to repeat yourself, but they differ to what you imply. Academic readers are usually skimming through hundreds of papers to find the results relevant to their current work, so Try to tell them everything they need to know in the title If that fails, try to tell them everything they need to know in the abstract, including results and ...


11

Since we don't have the sample text that was analyzed, it's hard to answer this question in any specific sense. But I'd guess that this overuse of prepositions is actually the overuse of prepositional phrases. You can't eliminate prepositions, since English depends on them so heavily, but you can minimize them. Background Let's back up here: What's a ...


11

That depends on where the two separate statements come from. If Smith says the price decreases, while Watson says the industry grows, the first one is correct. On the other hand, if both authors note the correlation of price and industry, the second is right. It happens very often that the same statement is contained in more than one article, so you need to ...


10

In everyday writing, (say on the web, or an email) I'd use bullets where possible. I think they're more accessible and quicker to scan. Unless there were some reason to actually number things. The Wikipedia style manual spells this out well: Use numbers rather than bullets only if: A need to refer to the elements by number may arise; The ...


9

It's often seen as too casual Consider the following phrase: As I stated earlier, Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy. The use of "I" in this statement implies that the author has a connection to the reader and that it's fairly casual. That's not always the case. If you were writing that on your AP Language test, the test taker isn't anybody who has ...


8

Personally I can't concentrate if I leave bad spelling behind me. the solution to that for freewriting is to either go back and fix it (which isn't according to the 'rules' of freewriting) or write about the fact that you can't go back and fix what you've written until something else comes to mind. The concept of freewriting is to limber your mind up, if ...


8

No. The familiar information should be placed first, and the important new information should be placed last. These two positions are the most prominent places in a sentence. And placing familiar information first creates a connection from one sentence to another that greatly improves the readability of prose. This article, The Science of Scientific Writing ...


8

My answer is that you should read widely and then write and cite, because you want the foundation you're building upon to be rock solid. The risk of writing first and inserting later (which is a common approach and easier) is that if you write your paper first, (telling yourself you want the flow of it), you'll find yourself wanting to cherry pick citations (...


8

Both works, but the first one is more consise so it is better. The general rule of thumb when using pronouns multiple times in a phrase is that the pronoun should refer to the same noun. That being said, there is an even better sentence: "This part of the book highlights her kindness and self-confidence." I hope this helps, please comment if you need ...


7

In general, the rule is that when an abbreviation ends with the same letter as the word written out in full, a period (full stop) is not used. For example, Prof. Smith, but Profs Dupont and Dupond. However, in the case of Figures, both Fig., Figs., and Figs are acceptable and used. Therefore, you should follow the example used in the journal, i.e., check the ...


7

I can think of an exercise which might help - although I'm not sure how efficient it would be - if the students would be able to solve it. Chose a set of sources for them and give them a task that forces cross-referencing, comparing and binding them. For example, give the students a task of examining and proving or disproving a claim in source A (which you ...


7

In my humble opinion, it's a good idea in a persuasive essay to at least acknowledge counter-arguments. If you simply ignore counter-arguments, and a reader is aware of them, his response is likely to be, "Well, he just completely ignored the fact that X." As Paul Clayton says, if you give the pro, then the con, then with no rebuttal or reply to the con you ...


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