45 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

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 ...
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  • 2,952
36 votes
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How should I quote American English speakers in a British English essay?

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 ...
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32 votes
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In academic writing why do some recommend to avoid "announcing" the topic?

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 ...
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  • 92.2k
21 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

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 ...
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17 votes

How should one refer to knights (& dames) in academic writing?

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 ...
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16 votes
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Is using first person in academic/technical essays always bad?

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 ...
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  • 3,573
16 votes
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How to avoid introduction cliches

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 ...
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15 votes
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Difference b/w Abstract and Introduction writing for a research paper

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 ...
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14 votes
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How do I stop using 'which' to explain things

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 ...
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  • 3,257
14 votes

How to avoid introduction cliches

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 ...
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  • 1,152
12 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

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 ...
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  • 502
12 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

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 ...
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  • 221
12 votes

In academic writing why do some recommend to avoid "announcing" the topic?

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 ...
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11 votes
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Citing two sources in one sentence

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 ...
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  • 3,767
9 votes

Abbreviation for "figures" in scientific papers

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. ...
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9 votes
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In English non-fiction, should I try to place the important parts at the beginning of the sentence?

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 ...
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9 votes

Can I use "I" in an essay?

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 ...
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9 votes
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Is the word "coloured" offensive when writing about Apartheid?

I live in South Africa. The word "coloured" here is used extremely commonly to refer to both a general group of multiracial people living in South Africa ("Coloureds") and a ...
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  • 234
8 votes

When using freewriting, should I avoid correcting typos?

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 ...
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  • 2,078
8 votes
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If I unnofficially create a theory and use it in my story, will it have any validity that I'm the author of such theory?

Generally the manner of publication makes no difference. If you have published it, you are its author and have the right to get credit for it. This is actually one of the rights that are covered by an ...
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  • 1,865
8 votes

Best practice for academic writing: write and cite or write first?

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 ...
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  • 23.5k
8 votes

Using "her/him" twice in a sentence

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 ...
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  • 731
8 votes
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After submitting a "complete" manuscript, what role does the author take?

This will vary by publisher, but you can expect some or all of this to happen: they will give you their word template (or equivalent) so you can tag/style paragraphs and the like according to their ...
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  • 2,596
7 votes
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What is the purpose of using Roman numerals as page numbers?

Translator's notes, prefaces, and introductions are numbered using Roman numerals so those pages can be safely cited without duplication or ambiguity. It is customary to number the primary text with ...
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  • 126
7 votes
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Repository of My Academic Writing - Which License to Use?

You should have a look to the Creative Commons website. They have a tool to help you choose the most convenient license for your works. In your case, I think the best one is the BY-NC-SA, which allows ...
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