How to Not Write Bad !

Science is not just limited to experiments, analyses and interpretations. It demands a fine elaboration through a strong and well written article so that people could understand your work. This is the way we communicate our findings and innovations to the scientific community or any other who is interested in knowing our work. Here, I am no expert or professional advisor to list the instructions. I am just going to share some points that I think work in a great way. In fact, I am not going to limit this piece to just scientific writing. It could be any form of professional communication that involves writing in English (because we all know it’s not just the ‘writing’ part that makes many people nervous but English).
A lot of effort goes into choosing correct vocabulary, knowing correct grammar and crisp sentence formation for academic/professional purposes. Academic English is very different from casual English, and it is normal to feel little nervous or scared by its challenges.

So first and most important thing to be remembered is that you do not have to run away from this. Even the greatest writers got it with time and practice. Trust me, today when I look back at my M.Sc. thesis, I literally laugh and probably I will laugh at this very post at some point of time in future. You hardly get the perfection in writing, you just develop your command over the language with practice and that command and ease with words seem perfect to people who read it.
So, how can you get over the fear of English? Some English course? May be. But JUST English classes? I don’t think so. If just a course or syllabus could have the capability to make you fluent in speaking or writing correct English, I think this fear shouldn’t be existing. We have been dealing with English since our childhood. Still, we face problems in understanding the language’s rules correctly. Have you every thought why? Because we have always taken it as a ‘Subject’ not as a language. Have you ever wondered why we face no problem in speaking our native language? Even a little child speaks his own language without learning it on a paper and pen. You must have got an answer. We all speak our native language without ‘passing any subject’ because we have been listening to it since childhood. We know the grammar of our language. We know the difference of the present, past and future tense. We know which word should be used at a particular place. Take English in same manner. You have to have command over the grammar and that you will have to rehearse many times. Now the question is – ‘ Will this be enough to write good?’ NO! This will be enough to write right which is the first need. Question is now- ‘How to NOT write BAD’.

I will give a small example of what I meant by saying ‘How to not write bad’. Look at the last sentence of above paragraph. Tell me would it be wrong if I say- ‘Now, the question is- ‘How to NOT write BAD’. Sounds more appropriate; right? See! This is what makes a difference in writing. Things usually do not seem to make a difference unless you have a better way to put them in a sentence. Now let me give you an example where it is hard to pick the bad thing in a sentence. Let me say- “I carefully have to hold the glasses”. A usual glance at this sentence would not give you the hint about the word carefully which is more appropriately should be used as- ”I have to carefully hold the glasses”. Okay ! I am going to give one more example (last, I promise!) of a very common thing that I do many times. Pay attention to this sentence- ‘A number of ideas comes to my mind when I intend to write on my site’. Since the rule tells to use ‘s’ or ‘es’ in verb when it is with a singular subject in a ‘Present Indefinite Tense’, I can use comes because number is singular but here in this sentence using ‘come’ is better to use even though the number’ is singular subject. You ask why? That’s because the emphasis is on ‘ideas‘ which is plural. Just like this, if in any sentence, emphasis is on the singular collective, the singular verb should be preferable. Some more examples? Here you go !

  • ‘A bucket of flowers IS (not ‘are’)
  • ‘Priyanka is one of the research scholars who ARE (not ‘is’) given the responsibility of conducting lab experiments.

So, what I have tried to explain in this little post is that it is a different thing to write a sentence in a correct grammar (which is by the way first requirement) but it is whole other thing to use a correct place for an adverb in a sentence or using a more appropriate preposition and punctuation or knowing the words that (or which?) should be avoided in a scientific article or using a correct tone. Practice these things too. One straight way to do it is reading as much as you can. Hearing the language also helps a lot. I hope this little piece helped in understanding the fact that writing is totally dependent to practice and one may conquer the fear of bad writing just by coping up with it. My English guru is my father (who by the way studied in a village and commanded over English on his own). He always says-‘ When you have to write anything; start strong and end strong.’ I do not know how much I justified his words but at last I would say that fearing over English would not help you in your research. Do not feel shy or embarrassed if you have less command over English or writing skills. It is a language and any language is commanded through practice only. At least, I , having all my primary education in my native language medium can say it. If I can, , SO CAN YOU ! (not bragging, saying it in the most humble way possible and I am still learning , still polishing !)

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