Scientific and technical writing

Use sentences which are reasonably short and not too complex.

Too much information in a single sentence makes it difficult to understand. It also increases the likelihood of grammatical errors and ambiguity.

This graphic is of a person, a heading and a speech bubble. The heading reads - Vary the sentences. The speech bubble says "Use a mixture of short, simple and longer, more complex sentences."


Work through the following activities to check your understanding around writing appropriate sentences.

Avoid ‘roundabout’ phrasing.

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Be as specific as possible.

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Avoid excessive pre-modification.

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Avoid excessive use of nouns as pre-modifiers.

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Use active verbs rather than abstract nouns.

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Avoid excessive nominalisation.

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Avoid excessive use of passive voice.

In some situations the use of passive voice is required, but overuse increases ‘roundabout’ phrasing and length.

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Avoid ambiguity.

The most common causes of ambiguity are careless use of pronouns, poor punctuation and vagueness.

This graphic has a person with a speech bubble that says "How did you go with your self-check?

If you did well, then you can congratulate yourself!

If you did not get all of the activities correct, then you might need to re-read the information and take the activity again.

Sometimes it helps to take a break, so go for a walk, have a stretch, and revisit the information with a clear head.

Practice brings awareness to your writing which will help you succeed!

Scientific reports