Not that these expressions are grammatically wrong. It’s just that they make the text bad.
Many of them don’t add anything and make a simple statement unnecessarily complicated. Pinker call them “morbidly obese phrases.”
For example, there’s nothing making “mRNA is capable of being translated” more scientific or more precise that simply “mRNA can be translated.” Then, “is capable of being” just make my banned list.
Other expressions in the list are victims of a personal, somewhat unjustified, grudge. This is the case of “respectively.” Most of times I meet it, the order relation is pretty obvious.
“Figures 1 and 2 show the spectra measured by UV and visible fluorescence, respectively.”
Serious? Do we really need to patronize the reader with a “respectively?” Even if I couldn’t guess that UV was in Figure 1 and visible was in Figure 2, it would be enough to quickly glance at the graph axes.
Anyway, you may adapt the list according to your taste. Maybe even to create your own “Banned List.”
|make an appearance with||appear with|
|is capable of being||can be|
|is dedicated to providing||provides|
|it is imperative that we||we must|
|have a facilitative impact||help|
|were in great need of||needed|
|brought about the organization of||organized|
|significantly expedite the process of||speed up|
|X is of particular usefulness||X is useful|
Crutch and Redundant Phrases
|on a daily basis||daily|
|all of a sudden||suddenly|
|for the purpose of||to|
|in order to||to|
|in the event that||if|
|in matter of||about|
|in view of the fact that||since|
|owing to the fact that||because|
|relating to the subject of||regarding|
|at such time as||when|
|it is widely observed that X||X|
|note that X||X|
|it is worth mentioning that X||X|
|to accomplish that, X||X|
|in this frame / in this context||(drop it)|
|X and Y are related to A and B respectively||X and Y are related to A and B|
Confusing and Unclear Expressions
|X and/or Y||X or Y or both|
|in many cases, X happened||X happened in N cases|
|in a number of cases, X happened||X happened in N cases|
|it suggests that||it shows that|
|previously, we have discussed||in Section X, we have discussed|
|it was shown above||it was shown in Table X|
|has been done (by us)||we did|
|we did (single author)||I did|
For convenience, you can download a print-friendly PDF of this list.
- More about writing papers.
- More about preparing talks.
- More about organizing the research.
- Do you have any other expression that should be banned? Tell us in the comments.