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Contents

Preface to the first edition


Preface to the third edition
Acknowledgements

page xi
xii
xiv

PART I PROBLEM: THE ILLNESS

1 Introduction

2 The malaise of medical manuscripts


The writer at bay
The honest writer
Summary

5
6
16
19

PART II SOLUTION: SYMPTOMATIC RELIEF

3 Guidelines to clearer writing


Watson and Crick show how its done
Planning
Getting started
Some grammatical terms
Using a word processor
Spelling

25
25
27
28
29
31
33

4 Is there a better word?


Alternative words

45
46

5 Superfluous words
Some common examples

95
95

vii

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viii

Contents

Unnecessary adverbs
Repetition

101
102

6 Imprecise words and phrases

104

7 Superfluous phrases
Common superfluities
Other examples of repetition

116
116
122

8 Trouble with short words


Following a verb
Expanded to a phrase
Variations of because
THAT, WHICH, WHEN, WHERE, WHEREBY
Words of comment: THEREFORE, HOWEVER,
and others
Words of reference: FORMER AND LATTER,
RESPECTIVELY, SUCH

123
123
126
128
132

9 Use of the passive voice


Some examples
The verb TO PERFORM
Conclusion

139
140
141
143

135
136

10 Consistency: number and tenses


Number: singular or plural?
Tenses

145
145
150

11 Circumlocution, metaphor and cliche


Circumlocution
Metaphor and cliche

152
152
156

12 Word order and pronouns


Missing words
Nouns as adjectives
Adverbs and verbs
A troublesome word: ONLY
Pronouns and nouns

161
161
162
167
169
170

13 Punctuation
Commas between subject and verb

173
174

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Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2009
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Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2015

Contents

Lists
The lazy slash

ix

175
178

14 Constructing sentences
Balance
Simplicity
Emphasis and connections
The first sentence
Avoiding abbreviations

179
179
183
183
187
188

15 Drawing clear graphs


Reprise

193
201

PART III PRACTICE: RECUPERATION

16 Some examples rewritten


Postscript to the examples

205
227

17 Do the experts agree?

229

Appendix: examples to rewrite


References and further reading
Index

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Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2009
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Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2015

231
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244

Cambridge
Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2009
Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online by IP 116.73.145.209 on Sat Dec 05 16:52:15 GMT 2015.
http://ebooks.cambridge.org/ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511543517
Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2015