Style Guide for Chemists

Style Guide for Chemists

Style Guide for Chemists

Style Guide for Chemists

Excerpt

This book is based upon a set of notes on grammar, rhetoric, and style prepared by one of us (M. F.) in 1945 for incorporation into a pamphlet of suggestions for contributors to Organic Reactions. The guide was limited to problems involved in the writing of chemical papers, and principles were illustrated with examples of correct and incorrect usage taken from chemical writings, real or imagined. A book along these lines seemed desirable and, since no authority on English usage is likely to write one, we decided to reorganize and extend the original notes. We thus present, with apologies, a book written by chemists for chemists. The principles of usage set forth are those defined by authoritative scholars, and the exhortations are theirs, not ours; we have merely supplied examples from our specific field.

Our prime authority is H. W. Fowler Modern English Usage (Oxford University Press, 1926, 1958). Other particularly valuable source books are H. W. Fowler and F. G Fowler, The King's English (1926, 1954); Margaret Nicholson, A Dictionary of American-English Usage (1957); Bergen Evans and Cornelia Evans, A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage (1957). Webster New International Dictionary and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary provide a wealth of information. A book which we recommend to fellow scientists and from which we have quoted (with permission of the publisher) is W. Strunk Jr. and E. B. White The Elements of Style (Macmillan, 1959). A number of other references were consulted, and a few are identified in footnotes.

The index includes both words whose usage is discussed and words that appear in lists of spelling, word-division, and pronunciation. Some of the words in the latter two lists are included merely because the correct spelling is easily forgotten. Since the principles and illustrative examples of this book may be of service to scientists other than chemists, the word lists include a number of words and names specific to biochemistry, biology, physics, and medicine.

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