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Discussion: Overused words in scientific writing

Which words and phrases are scientists guilty of overusing?

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Aug 04, 2015
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33 Comments

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Kang Liu over 2 years ago

The overused words in my daily writing are " use", "get", "improve", etc. Most repeating words are verbs, and some are adverbs like "very", "relatively" and "quite". I have been trying to avoid the usage of the same words in my writing.

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Hoa Nguyen over 2 years ago

Some repeated words:
- results, data, we, trend (n, proN)
- see, prove, show, convince, can, require (v)
- corresponding, about ... (other)

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Erica Pasini over 2 years ago

I try to change words when I have the feeling that I am using the same word to often by using synonyms. I look them up in Thesaurus. However, this means sometimes substituting a commonly used word such as "use" with a more complex word eg. "utilized" to avoid repetition. According to the Masterclass it seem preferable to use the same word more often if it is a short commonly used word and have repetition than looking for a synonym that may be less often used.

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Erica Pasini over 2 years ago

I try to change words when I have the feeling that I am using the same word to often by using synonyms. I look them up in Thesaurus. However, this means sometimes substituting a commonly used word such as "use" with a more complex word eg. "utilized" to avoid repetition. According to the Masterclass it seem preferable to use the same word more often if it is a short commonly used word and have repetition than looking for a synonym that may be less often used.

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Yingqi Hou over 1 year ago

Agree. Using the same word should be easier for the audience since they know exactly that you are talking about the same thing.

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Binyam Mogessie over 2 years ago

A number of phrases put me off when I'm reading papers and so I try to avoid using them myself. But these two really do my head in...
- taken together
- to this end

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Blake Gossard, MWC over 2 years ago

"Have/has been shown to"

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Susana Enríquez over 2 years ago

For me the most repeating words are "therefore", "thus", "hence", "moreover", "furthermore".... they help to link different paragraphs, but are ofter overused

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Erna Sulistyowati over 2 years ago

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Erna Sulistyowati over 2 years ago

My overused words are ; show, get, compared with, significantly, therefore, study, decrease, increase.

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Carla Pinheiro over 2 years ago

In my view, there are many words that we cannot possibly avoid. However, words such as "novelty", "new", "innovation", "crucial" are overused.

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Mwila Hilton Mwaba over 2 years ago

Life would be so much better if 'therefore' had over 10 synonyms.

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Suenne Kim over 2 years ago

For me, respectively and additionally!

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Olive Onyemaobi over 2 years ago

I tend to use the words "however", "significantly" and "it" a lot in my writings but am working on changing that.

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Chandan Narayan about 2 years ago

My comment is more of a different issue! Often I see nature or Science or any other top journals are complex in their writing. I hardly see papers with simple language. But all the editors here ask it to be simple! I am really surprised! And wondering which one to follow. I do not know if all the people taking this course would agree with me?

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Ivan Palomares Carrascosa about 2 years ago

connectors like "therefore, moreover, for example/instance", verbs like "present, describe, outline"...

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Jun Xu about 2 years ago

Some frequenlty and may be over used words: "As a result", "therefore", "It is shown that ".

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EA Guntly about 2 years ago

Scientific writing, like everything else, has its fashion trends, and a word that seems fashionable right now is "unpack."

To speak to Chandan's point, the ideas are complex, and the writing will reflect that. But the editors are speaking against needless complexity, where the writing interferes with the reader's understanding of the work.

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Bing Wang about 2 years ago

The overused worlds in my paper are"therefore", "in addition", "reduced" and, etc.

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Lei Pan almost 2 years ago

and, which, we just like to make long sentences.

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Liliana Layer almost 2 years ago

I often use "significant". However, there is hardly any alternative to this word (if you are referring to statistically significant differences), so I often try to put several things that are significant into one sentence to save some of the "significant"s.

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Kuang Lele almost 2 years ago

use, show

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Yingqi Hou over 1 year ago

I always feel it hard to make 2 comparisons at a time. For example, 'The xxx of A is larger than that of B. The yyy of A is lower than that of B.'  I hesitate a lot whether to combine those together, but xxx and yyy are completely different things.

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Sandeep Singh Jain about 1 year ago

what is the best way to reduce usage of same words again and again?

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FENJUAN HU 9 months ago

Frequently used words are: significantly, use, therefore, moreover, in addition, show, demonstrate,

I always feel bad using the same word again and again in my paper, therefore I try to shift between synonyms, such as 'use, utilize, apply', 'show, indicate, demonstrate, tells us'.

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Larissa Pruner Marques 6 months ago

Passive voice and the word which

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The words "One Health"

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Some words and phrases such as

-is scarce..

-most studies have shown that..

-often

-And finally..

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Winfred Sila 3 months ago

I tend to overuse words such as "proportion", "more than", "fewer", etc

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However, moreover, ascertain, emanate. Sometimes we tend to read scientific writting more than other fields. Developing a reading skill outside chemistry or any other field you are not in can assist.

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Tanre Jauro 2 months ago

I find myself overusing words like "the", "however", "such as", "furthermore". I eventually overuse those words in the bid to create a flow in my write-up.

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Dr Prarthana M S 1 day ago

Most commonly used phrases are: were, whereas, like, such as, etc.

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Machuene Sharlyn about 10 hours ago

I agree that we often overuse some words when writing a paper, but I don't lose interest of reading because of them. I identified words like, "the study" or "the paper" when starting a sentence especially in one paragraph.