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Chapter 13 : Good Writing Beats Bad Writing, Most Any Day

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Abstract:

Just when some people believe that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, here I am, ready to make a cheerful personal statement: “” Of course I base this on reading the microbiological literature, but assume that it’s generally true. What makes me say so? Well, more often than not, current research papers and reviews contain a fair share of simple declarative sentences. In my earlier days, typical statements were often in the passive form: “.” The first person form is now accepted, much to everyone’s relief. And titles of articles tend to be informative. Gone is Escherichia coli: . And, although I couldn’t swear to it, I believe that the language in graduate student papers has also improved. Nowadays, even humor is permissible. It has even permeated this blog, as exemplified by the wicked sense of humor of my co-blogger, Merry Youle, who has come up with titles such as and .

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– E.B. White,

Citation: Schaechter E. 2016. Good Writing Beats Bad Writing, Most Any Day, p 47-51. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch13
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Citation: Schaechter E. 2016. Good Writing Beats Bad Writing, Most Any Day, p 47-51. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch13
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References

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1. Rosner JLReflections of science as a product.Nature1990345108
2. A specific marker of the change is the near disappearance from contemporary literature of the “On” that graced the indicative titles of seminal works of previous generations: On Growth and Form (1916) by D’Arcy Thompson, On the Origin of Species (1859) by Charles Darwin, and all the way back more than two millennia to De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things] by Lucretius to name only three. I miss “On…..
3. Woese CRA New Biology for a New Century.Microbiol Molec Biol Revs200468173186
4. Goodman NWSurvey of active verbs in the titles of clinical trial reports.BMJ2000320914915
5. Aronson JWhen I use a word…Declarative titles.QJM20091032079Available online

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