Thursday, August 27, 2009

Banned Words in Science Reporting

Writing a paper or article on, in, or about science anytime soon? Read this first:

The Index of Banned Words

Carl Zimmer has started a list of words he deems inappropriate for use in science journalism, because of misuse, overuse, vagueness, or other annoyingness. Listen to him, and take his advice. He’s a science journalist who knows what he’s doing.

Some of them, like utilize, are science words that should not be allowed to escape scientific journals. But others, like breakthrough, are words that both scientists and non-scientists alike may be tempted to use like steroids, to artificially boost their writing. These words often end up being just wrong, and in some cases–like referring to a preliminary experiment in mice as a miraculous cure–they can be cruel by raising hopes in the sick that may later be dashed.

At Discover: The Index of Banned Words

1 comment:

marsha said...

Know what needs to be banned from all written language everywhere? Writing out a number and then putting the numeral in parenthesis following it. I don't need to see "two (2)" to understand that what is being communicated is the number two. I fail to see any purpose for it, except to make the writer look like a pompous ass.