Academic writing is full of pitfalls. You have to stick to the structure and the formatting style. You should never ever forget to give credit to all your sources. There are plenty of logical fallacies even the most accurate students create which bring them to wrong conclusions. Giving unclear reasoning is one of the most common inaccuracies college students make. If there is a research paper at stake, mistakes with methods used, the credibility of resources, and data analysis are possible as well. To make things worse, there is a bunch of grammatical faults students all over the English-speaking world make again and again.

Fortunately, it is easy to eliminate them in your writing by simply proofreading your piece of text before turning it in. Have a look at our top-10 grammatical mistakes in scientific writing, print them out, stick them near your screen, and never make them again.

1. Time shifts

Describe previously conducted research in the past tense, commonly known facts in the present tense, and how the result you've got will influence science or society in the future tense. Stay consistent in your choice of tense in order to not confuse your readers.

2. Acronyms

Every time you use a new acronym, explain it in brackets first. And don't mix up i.e. and e.g. A kind reminder:

  • i.e. = id est = namely, that is to say

  • e.g. = exempli gratia = for example

3. Difficult sentence constructions

It might seem that the larger the sentence, the more scientific your message looks. It does for those who read academic papers in a superficial manner and don't understand your topic. However, you will not befool your teacher by using difficult constructions if there is no point expressed in your paper. Deliver the most intricate and complex messages in a clear manner, and someday you might be called a new deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, or Stephen Hawking.

4. Common language

A clear manner of composition doesn't mean slang or colloquialisms, though. In scientific writing, sometimes you will have to use official language and bureaucratic balderdash even if you don't like it.

Talking about more common words, opt for "to recover" instead of "to get over." "To expect" is more formal than "to count on," and "the crowd" will look better in your paper than "the mob." We don't ask you to use overly intricate words. To put this recommendation simpler: try to write as if you are writing to your grandma (as if she had a PhD).

5. Parallel constructions

This is about lists. If you make a list of subjects or objects, let them be subjects and objects until the end. If you employ verbs, let them be verbs all the way. For example:

"A research paper should consist of:

  • An abstract

  • The main part

  • The conclusion"

is quite superficial, but correct parallel construction, while

"A research paper should consist of:

  • An abstract

  • The main part

  • Give an answer to the question raised"

is not.

6. Passive voice

Another writing method that, according to the opinion of students, can help you to make your writing more official, is the use of passive voice.

Yes, it can help you to complete an academic-looking piece of writing, and there are situations when you have to use it. But remember that passive voice isn't people-friendly. Think about your readers! It is difficult to comprehend a sentence with no subject.

7. Tautologies

Avoid them. It is true that in scientific writing it can be hard to find several synonyms for a particular expression, but get rid of tautologies at least in other pieces of your paper. If English is not your mother tongue or if you don't have a vocabulary worthy of an Oxford graduate, use dictionaries and a thesaurus.

For example, the word "data" can be replaced by "dossier," "evidence," "information," "knowledge," "documents," "details," etc. The English language is rich with words-don't be afraid to use them all.

8. Plural and singular nouns

You should know whether your noun is a singular or a plural one to use proper articles and the right verb form. There are some irregular nouns that have an uncommon singular-plural form in English. As a rule, they are of Latin origin and widely spread in academic writing:

  • Analysis - Analyses

  • Appendix - Appendices

  • Basis - Bases

  • Codex - Codices

  • Criterion - Criteria

  • Curriculum - Curriculae

  • Datum - Data

  • Formula - Formulae

  • Focus - Foci

  • Index - Indices

  • Medium - Media

  • Nucleus - Nuclei

  • Synopsis - Synopses

  • Thesis - Theses

Also, remember that news and linguistics are singular nouns and should be used with verbs in the singular form.

9. Wrong word usage

There are words that an average spell checker won't mark for you, as they are written in the right way. They are simply not in the right place.

"Their/they're/there" misuse is so common that it was even mentioned in "Friends" by Ross Geller. Just a gentle reminder:

"Their" is something that belongs to "them."

"They're" is for "they are."

"There" is for "some place."

"Its" is something that belongs to it, while "it's" is the subject "it" with the verb "is."

"Whose" is a designation of belonging, while "who's" = "who is."

"Than" is used for comparing several subjects, while "then" is a word to specify a time sequence.

10. Hyphens

Use hyphens in compound adjectives (and occasionally in compound nouns) and know how to differentiate them from two separate parts of a sentence. Hyphens help to eliminate confusion in a sentence too. For example:

  • "Two-dollar banknote" is much clearer than a "two dollar banknote," and

  • "Small-town chores" is more transparent than "small town chores."

However, sometimes you have no time to make a proper scientific masterpiece or to proofread your writing on your own. In these cases, if you truly care about your grades, it is better to ask for professional help. Choose a reliable essay writing service to stay on the safe side and have your paper written specifically according to your instructions.