Manuscript language refers to the specific conventions and guidelines that one must follow while preparing a manuscript for scientific publication. These guidelines and conventions are set by various publishers. By following these guidelines, writers can ensure that their work is presented professionally and has better readability for a wide spectrum of readers. Here, we will explore the key aspects of using proper manuscript language and provide useful tips to improve your writing.
Why Proper Manuscript Language is Important?
Scientific writing is not easy; especially when the author who is writing the manuscript got his formal education in vernacular language. A manuscript with poor language, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors will probably not be rejected, but the publication will be delayed. Even though your findings may break new ground, if the editors and reviewers do not understand the English, then they will not be able to comprehend the message of your work. This might eventually block publication of your work, if not addressed properly on time. Therefore, it is very critical to use proper manuscript language throughout your entire manuscript, including figures, charts, graphs, and photos. Remember, you should always:
“Write with clarity, objectivity, accuracy and brevity.”
Inconsistent writing style is the killer of the quality of a paper. This occurs when there are multiple authors with varying degrees of English proficiency individually contribute to the different parts of a manuscript. There is nothing wrong in splitting up the task, but the primary author should make sure that the overall writing style is consistent throughout the whole article. One of the common outcomes of inconsistency is the shift in tone. To avoid such type of issue, the primary author should revisit the final draft and make the necessary changes accordingly.
Manuscript Language – Sentence Structure and Grammar:
You should always write your manuscript in formal English language. This ensures clarity of your writing. Here are some tips to make your writing formal:
- Write in direct, short and factual sentences. All sentences should have a subject and verb.
- Do not start a sentence with a conjunction e.g. “and” and “but”.
- One idea or piece of information per sentence is sufficient.
- Avoid multiple statements in one sentence.
- Do not use contractions. Always use full form. For example, instead of don’t write “do not.”
- Avoid cliched expressions and colloquialisms such as “first and foremost.”
- Always write in active voice form.
- Minimize use of adverbs such as however, in addition to, moreover.
- Use transition words wisely.
- Eliminate redundant phrases.
- Double-check unfamiliar words or phrases. Replace them with simple words.
Manuscript Language – Tenses:
You should be consistent with the tense of your manuscript language. Follow is the quick guideline:
You should use
- Present tense for known facts and hypotheses: “The average life span of a red blood cell is 115 days.”
- Past tense for the experiments you have conducted: “The alumina ceramic samples were sintered at 1600 C for 4 hrs.”
- Past tense when you describe the results of an experiment: “The average flexural strength of the porous alumina ceramic beams were found to be 115 Mpa.”
Figures, Tables and Appendices:
You should present the figures, tables or appendices in a clear and organized manner. Here are some tips:
- Number and title each figure and table. Provide a clear and concise caption that explains the content.
- Ensure the figures and tables are placed near their corresponding mention in the text or in a separate section following the references.
- Provide clear labels and headings for any appendices. Organize them logically and refer them appropriately within the text.
- Make sure all figures, tables, and appendices are referenced within the manuscript. Prove proper explanations and interpretations, if necessary.
Always check target journal guidelines:
All journals provide specific guidelines for authors to follow regarding manuscript preparation. Check whether the journal prefers American or British English. Also, look for the referencing style, internal structure, preferred headings, words to avoid in title etc. Remember that every journal has a different guideline, therefore, always check for the particular journal guideline before you decide to submit.
Disclaimer: ChatGPT was used to do initial research. The content reflects the original write up from the author.