telegraphic style

Thayer thayer at FMNH785.FMNH.ORG
Thu Nov 18 19:38:32 CST 1993

I don't know of a reference (does the CBE Style manual cover it? I don't have
a copy in my office), but telegraphic style is pretty straightforward:

Strings of nouns and adjectives (frequently including a high incidence of
both present and past participles), with adverbs and prepositional phrases
as required; no verbs; articles kept to the absolute minimum needed for clarity.

Details such as what gets combined into a "sentence" and a paragraph probably
vary considerbly among disciplines, since they deal with quite different
morphologies, but even within entomology (my field), I don't think that's
particularly standardized.  It might be that a sample (or a few samples) would
suffice to help authors pick up the style.  My impression is that learning
telegraphic style is one aspect of taxonomic practice that is still basically
in "trained monkey" mode.  I'm a little surprised if someone is preparing
to write a new taxon description without having *read* enough such descriptions
to have an idea of what the style is; it's been around for a long time.
Margaret Thayer       thayer at
 Zoology-Insects, Field Museum of Natural History
 Chicago IL 60605, USA

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