In this lecture you will learn:
•Abstract and General Language
–Language Biased against People with Disabilities
–Ethnically and Racially Biased Language
–Coordinating Conjunctions Joining Independent Clauses
–Elements in a Series
–Specialized Uses of Commas
–Placement of Commas with Other Punctuation
Abstract and General Language:
••Clear writing consists of specific, carefully chosen
words, not abstract and general
•Prose cluttered with language that is overly abstract,
ornate, or vague
unreadable, either too
or too vague to be understandable.
amount of detail
in your writing will depend on your
facts whenever possible.
•These facts make the difference between vague assertions
and accurate scientific
most direct words possible.
•Used for their own sake, ornate words simply distract the
reader from your main point.
•Technical terms are an essential part of all technical and
•Each field and specialty typically uses a vocabulary that
relays a variety of specialized
concepts by means of technical language.
•These special terms convey concentrated meanings that have
been built up over significant
periods of study of a field.
•Match terminology to the ability of the
•You may use a term with great accuracy and still not reach
•It is important that you be aware of your
audience's level of
•If they are not
in your field, you will need to substitute
more general terms for your
•That means that you may not be able to write with great
accuracy about your topic.
••Avoid language that could be interpreted as biased on the
basis of sex, age,
ethnic or racial identity.
• Instead, use language that is inclusive and avoids
unintended stereotypes, and refer to
people and groups using labels they prefer.
Language Biased against People with Disabilities
Ethnically or Racially Biased Language
•Punctuate your prose in order to help clarify how words,
and sentences fit
•Many scientific and technical organizations have detailed
style guides outlining appropriate
and inappropriate uses of punctuation for technical
documents in their respective disciplines.
•Follow the appropriate style in your particular field.
•Detailed information on punctuation marks is given in the
marks " "
commas to set off transitional words
and phrases, introductory clauses, or introductory
phrases to signal where the introductory element finishes
and the main part
Words and Phrases
–Place a comma after a
transitional word or phrase
that begins a sentence.
•Place a comma after an introductory
Coordinating Conjunctions Joining Independent Clauses
before a coordinating conjunction that joins
two independent clauses.
•However, if the clauses are very short and closely related,
you may omit the comma.
•Lets consider the following example.
Elements in a Series:
to separate items in a series.
•Although placing a final comma before the
is often considered
optional, omitting it can sometimes cause confusion.
•Consequently, most scientific and technical writing
routinely uses a final comma in a series
to prevent possible ambiguities.
•Use a comma between coordinate modifiers.
are coordinate if they modify the
•You can test to see if the modifiers are coordinate by
• If the description still makes sense, then the modifiers
••Use commas to set off
•A nonrestrictive modifier is usually introduced by
and contains information that is not
essential to establishing the meaning of what it modifies.
commas to set off parenthetic
to indicate the omission of a word or words
readily understood from the
Specialized Uses of Commas
numbers with five or more digits,
Anglo-American usage dictates that there be
before groups of three digits, counting from the right,
except for a group of three digits at the
beginning of the number.
–Customers reported a total of
–In 1994, 212
cases had been diagnosed.
••Except after an
clause, do not use a
to separate a
dependent clause from a
unless the dependent clause provides
•Consider the following example
Placement of Commas with Other Punctuation: