1. Mistake number one deals with the use of location statements in the text. When giving statements, when talking about tables, talking about figures in the text, it’s important to use the present tense. If I were to say the baseline characteristics of all subjects were summarized in table 1. If I were to just use the past tense there, that would look strange. That would mean that possibly table 1 is going to change.
Is that right? Is table 1 going to change? No. We don’t live in Harry Potter’s world. And so, the baseline characteristics of all subjects are summarized in table 1. Or figure 4 shows the results.
You need to use the present tense when talking about the images in your text because they are not going to change. In your result section, you talk about your results in past tense because this is what you found. But these location statements need to be in present tense. That’s another common error.
2. Mistake number 2 is something that as especially a non-native writer, it’s something you have been facing since you have been studying English.
It’s to make sure that the subject and the verb agree. And so, if I were to just say the ratio of positive cells per 1000 cells were defined as the positivity index. The ratio of positive cells “were” defined. It looks like cells. Cells is plural. “Cells were?”
But cells is not the subject. The ratio is the subject. And so, I need to focus, “The ratio was defined as the positivity index.” And so, “It’s the ratio of positive cells per 1000 cells ‘was’ defined.” The subject verb needs to match. And this is something that when you are proofing your paper you need to check for.
3. And the final mistake is having too many simple sentences and not just having too many simple sentences. It deals with having repeated information back to back in simple sentences. And so, as an example, we have the baseline characteristics are shown in table 1. Table 2 shows the body temperature of all female subjects.
And so we have table 1. We have table 2. We have – characteristics are shown. Table 2 shows… All of this information is repeated. And it’s back to back in two simple sentences. An easy way to fix this is to say that tables 1 and 2 show the baseline characteristics and body temperatures of all female subjects respectively.
This use of respectively is another common error. If there is table 1 shows A, table 2 shows B, then there is no need for respectively. And as an editor, when I am reading papers I see respectively it looks like almost put in random places. There is a format for that. 1 – 2 – 3 A – B – C There needs to be match in there. I hope these tips have helped you.
I look forward to speaking with you in a future event. If you want more tips, if you need more help, please go to editage.com/insights. And we will talk more there. Thank you very much.