Random tips for academic writers

  • Use verbs instead of nouns
    • “There is the need for a contextual analysis of the findings.”
    • “The findings must be seen in context.”
  • Use this/these for what is near and that/those for what is far:
    • I have powers and the right to use these They have other powers. I don’t have the right to use those.
  • Use the active voice:
    • “Measures were taken by the government”
    • “The government took measures”
  • Only use hyphens for compound adjectives, but not for compound nouns or adverbs:
    • “municipality-level budget” – “municipality” and “level” are nouns, but form an adjective of “budget”
    • “municipally registered budget” – no hyphen, because municipally is an adverb
    • “water-basin-based management” but “water basin management” – first case is compound adjective + noun, the second is a compound noun
  • Use perfect/continuous past tenses (“had/has been”) only when explaining sequences in the past:
    • “The law had just been passed when President XYZ fell off a chair.”
    • Otherwise use the simple past: “The law was passed. President XYZ fell off a chair.”
  • Don’t randomly line up verbs & nouns:
    • “The right to decide about how to allocate the distribution of revenues.”
    • “The right to distribute revenues.”
  • Avoid phrasal verbs and prepositional phrases:
    • “Take up measures” – “take measures”
    • “Start to take measures” – “Start taking measures” (better yet: “Take measures”)
    • “Before the introduction of laws” – “Before introducing laws”
  • Write straight:
    • “The laws have changed municipality administrations’ endowment with formal power resources”
    • “The laws reduced municipality power.”
  • Use simple verbs. “To have” and “to be” are usually preferable.
    • “They are endowed with…” – “They have…”
    • “A house exists…” – “There is a house…”
  • Concentrate on the core content of sentences:
    • “In the nearest future practical measures should be undertaken to implement a program on creating new milk and meat cattle breeds.”
    • “There should soon be a program for milk and meat cattle breeding.”
  • Do not use more nouns than necessary:
    • “decision making” – “decisions”
    • “municipality administration” – “municipality”
    • “newly acquired” – “new”
    • “the implementation of measures” – “measures”

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