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By Robert E. Berger

A medical method of WRITING

Technical principles should be good or perhaps groundbreaking, but when those principles can't be essentially communicated, reviewers of technical documents—e.g., proposals for examine investment, articles submitted to clinical journals, and enterprise plans to commercialize technology—are prone to reject the argument for advancing those ideas.

The challenge is that many engineers and scientists, completely ok with the common sense and ideas of arithmetic and technological know-how, deal with writing as though it possesses none of those attributes. The absence of a scientific framework for writing frequently leads to sentences which are tough to persist with or arguments that go away reviewers scratching their heads.

This booklet fixes that challenge through featuring a “scientific” method of writing that mirrors the sensibilities of scientists and engineers, an technique in response to an easily-discernable set of rules. instead of basically declaring principles for English grammar and composition, this publication explains the explanations in the back of those ideas and indicates that stable purposes can advisor each writing decision.

This source is usually like minded for the growing to be variety of scientists and engineers within the U.S. and somewhere else who converse English as a moment language, in addition to for a person else who simply desires to be understood.

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Additional resources for A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists

Example text

31 32 EXPLANATORY, PARTICIPLE, AND MAJOR PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES Position and Punctuation of Explanatory Phrases Most explanatory phrases are “by the way” types of remarks and are not essential to the rest of the sentence. Consequently, explanatory phrases are framed by commas. Because the rule is straightforward, only a few examples will be necessary. In the first two ­examples, the explanatory phrase follows the core. [Core] , [Explanatory Phrase] 1. The syngas then moves from the gasifier to the convective cooler, a system of six heat exchangers with associated piping.

Without the such as phrase, the sentence would read thus: These radiation detectors have important applications in commercial areas. But, what commercial areas? Alone, the sentence suggests that important applications would exist in all commercial areas. But this is not true. The important applications exist only in certain types of commercial areas, and these areas include security screening, medical x-ray imaging, and dental imaging. Hence, the such as phrase in Example 1 is essential because it changes the meaning of the sentence.

Of course, the casual phrasing of “by the way” is not appropriate for most technical documents, but my use of the phrase here helps to make the point. Because nonrestrictive modifiers are not essential to the sentence, they are framed by commas to indicate their relative unimportance. Who decides whether a clause is restrictive or nonrestrictive? The author decides. The author makes this determination to let the reader know what is essential and what is nonessential when reading the sentence. Only the author, as the subject matter expert, can control how the information and content is communicated.

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