more english

Elizabeth Kiser kiser at ANDREW.CMU.EDU
Thu Mar 9 11:05:56 CST 2000

> I do not think that scientists should defer to literary stylists on an
> issue of science.

I completely disagree. When you're talking about writing something that
will be published, it is absolutely necessary to refer to "literary" style.
This does not mean that you would use the same rules for a scientific
document as you would for, say, a fictional book for children. That's why I
used the CBE Guide and not a book like the Chicago Manual (though I don't
see why their guidelines wouldn't also be correct, since a piece of writing
is a piece of writing, and scientific writing in particular is far more
technical than creative).

It may not make sense that families should take a plural verb. Perhaps it
is somewhat arbitrary that taxa at family level and above should take a pl.
verb, while those below take a singular one. However, this IS the rule and
the standard for scientific writers. Therefore, no matter how strongly you
feel that this is a ridiculous way to do things, you will not be correct
unless you follow it.

Beth Kiser, English Major, Editorial Coordinator, and Freelance Editor

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