Cheat Sheet For Writing A Scientific Manuscript Page 2


Style and Grammar in the manuscript
Write short and descriptive sentences.
Never hide the subject of your sentence and stick to subject-predicate-object sentences whenever
possible. Use precise language and avoid vague terms.
Bad: To be able to compare the capabilities of the VMI to measure the electron spectra of high kinetic
energy particles, a simulation of the ionization of Xenon with a photon energy of 1200 eV is done.
Better: A simulation modeled the energy resolution of our VMI under realistic experimental
conditions. We simulated the ionization of xenon with 1200 eV photons.
Use the active tense
To compare the capabilities of the spectrometer, a simulation is done. --> A simulation modeled the
capabilities of the spectrometer.
Remove unnecessary words and qualifiers
Much better to be able to describe the fundamental importance in a brief summary.
Stay positive, avoid negation
Apart from fluoride, CTTS states are not accessible. --> CTTS states are only accessible in fluorides.
We show that also for fluoride, the excitation of the CTTS state does not play a role.
--> We show that excitation of the CTTS state is negligible even for fluorides.
Do not give opinions
The reader will not care what you can see in you data, whether you believe in a result, or what you
think about the problem at hand. Use arguments, reasoning and evidence to persuade the reader.
Be precise, be specific
spectrometer capability --> energy resolution of the spectrometer.
High-energy radiation interacts with large molecules. --> 860 keV photons ionize 60 MDa proteins.
Stay scientific
Separate experimental observations (facts) from the interpretation (fiction). Be aware, that many
models can explain the same observation. Decompose your scientific question into Yes/No options.
Can your results answer those questions? A definite answer to a small question may be worth more
than a vague answer to a big question. (The big questions belong into the Introduction and into your
Check your subjects and verbs
Make sure the verb stands in proper relation to the Subject (singular/plural, context).
Repeller and extractor needs to be biased. (Two subjects); To shorten the flight tube enhances the
spectrometer. --> A shorter flight tube enhances the spectrometer. (Missing subject)
Put in the commas
Comma rules:
(Capital Community College);
(Purdue U.).
Put a comma after: However, ... (Introductory word); As last step, ... (Introductory element);
Compared to the Parker VMI, ... (Introductory clause).
Use Dictionaries and Spellcheckers
Further reading
ACS Style Guide ( ); AIP Style Manual ( ); From Research to
Manuscript, Michael Jay Katz (2
Ed., Springer 2009)); The Economist Style Guide.
Berlin, 3.2.2012,
Thomas Schultz


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