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“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug”—Mark Twain

In editing your document, I will of course read it first as an interested scientist. While some principles of scientific writing are universal, each and every field has its own specialized vocabulary and conventions. While the process of linguistic editing will change your document directly, technical editing on the points listed below will usually take the form of comments and suggestions rather than corrections.

The goal of linguistic editing is to perfect the following aspects of your document (note that word processing programs only handle the first three items):

  • Punctuation, spelling, & grammar
  • Word choice (especially important for non-native speakers)
  • Proper use of idiom and prepositional verbs (also important for non-native speakers).
  • Sentence structure: sentences may be grammatically correct but still awkward.
  • Disambiguation: clearly identifying uncertain pronouns, clarifying vague sentences.
  • Structural cohesion: parallel construction, organization of paragraphs and sections.
  • Appropriate style: adapting your language to the expectations of your audience.
  • Conversion to American or British English

Sentences or even paragraphs may be restructured in linguistic editing, but the flow of your arguments and personal style will be preserved. In technical editing, I examine such issues as the presentation of calculations, the clarity of your method, and data representation in figures and tables. If necessary, I will provide recommendations in the following areas and more:

  • The abstract: does it accurately represent the most important aspects of the work?
  • Consistency of data presentation: notation, units, significant figures, and uncertainties.
  • Legibility of tables, figures, and diagrams
  • Clarity of mathematical derivations
  • Clarity of specialized vocabulary
  • Typesetting of equations
  • Statistical analysis
  • Mathematical appendices

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