Superfluous Wording


Suggested Substitute


the purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis 

in this study we assessed 

we demonstrated that there was a direct 

were responsible for 

played the role of 

on the basis of evidence available to date 

in order to provide a basis for comparing 

as a result of 

for the following reasons 

during the course of this experiment 

during the process of 

during periods when 

for the duration of the study 

the nature of 

a large (or small or limited) number of 

conspicuous numbers of 

substantial quantities 

a majority 

a single 

an individual taxon 

seedlings, irrespective of species 

all of the species 

various lines of evidence 

they do not themselves possess

were still present 

the analysis presented in this paper 

indicating the presence of 

despite the presence of 

checked for the presence of 

in the absence of 

a series of observations 

may be the mechanism responsible for 

it is reasonable to assume that where light is not limiting 

in a single period of a few hours 

occur in areas of North America 

adjacent transects were separated by at least 20 m

in the vicinity 

separated by a maximum distance of 10 m and a minimum distance of 3 m 

the present-day population 

their subsequent fate 

whether or not 

summer months

are not uncommon 

due to the fact that 

showed a tendency toward higher survival 

devastated with drought-induced desiccation 

I (or we) hypothesized

we assessed

we demonstrated direct




to compare

through, by


during the experiment



during the study

(omit by rearrangement)

many (or few)





a taxon

all seedlings

all species


they lack

persisted, survived

our analysis



checked for



may have caused

with light not limiting

in a few hours

are in North America

>20 m apart


3-10 m apart

the population

their fate



may be

(omit by rearrangement)

had higher survival

killed by drought

Words and Proper Usage

  • accuracy (see precision): extent of correctness of a measurement or statement.
  • affect (see effect): verb, to cause a change or an effect; to influence.
  • among (see between): use in comparing >2 things.
  • between (see among): use in comparing only 2 things.
  • cf.: compare
  • circadian: approximately 24 hours.
  • continual: going on in time with no, or with brief, interruption.
  • continuous: going on in time or space without interruption.
  • diurnal: recurring every 24 hours; occurring in daylight hours.
  • effect (see affect): usually a noun, the result of an action; as an adverb (rare), to
    bring about or cause to exist, or to perform.
  • e.g. (see i.e.): for example.
  • enable (see permit): to supply with means, knowledge, or opportunity; to make
  • ensure (see insure): to make certain or guarantee.
  • farther: more distant in space, time, or relation.
  • further: going beyond what exists, to move forward.
  • i.e. (see e.g.): that is.
  • incidence (see prevalence): number of cases developing per unit of population per
    unit of time.
  • insure (see ensure): to assure against loss.
  • livetrap: verb.
  • live trap: noun.
  • logistic: symbolic logic.
  • logistics: operational details of a project or activity.
  • mass (see weight): proper international use for measures of mass.
  • ovendry: adjective.
  • oven-dry: verb.
  • percent: adjective, adverb, or noun. Spell out only when the value is spelled out
    or when used as an adjective. Use "%" with numerals.
  • percentage: noun, part of a whole expressed in hundredths; often misused as an
    adjective, e.g., percent error, not percentage error.
  • permit (see enable): to allow, to give formal consent.
  • precision (see accuracy): degree of refinement with which a measurement is made
    or stated; e.g., the number 3.43 shows more precision than 3.4, but is not
    necessarily more accurate.
  • prevalence (see incidence): number of cases existing per unit of population at a
    given time.
  • sensu: as understood or defined by; used in taxonomic reference.
  • since: from some past time until present; not a synonym for because or as.
  • presently: in the future, not synonymous with at present or currently.
  • that (see which): pronoun introducing a restrictive clause (seldom preceded by a
  • usage: firmly established and generally accepted practice or procedure.
    utilization, utilize: avoid by using "use" instead.
  • various: of different kinds.
  • varying: changing or causing to change. Do not use for different.
  • very: a vague qualitative term; avoid in scientific writing.
  • weight (see mass): should seldom be used.
  • viz: namely.
  • which (see that): pronoun introducing a nonrestrictive clause (often preceded by a
    comma or preposition [for, in, or of which]); the word most often misused in
    JWM manuscripts.
  • while: during the time that. Use for time relations but not as synonym for whereas, 
    although, and similarly, which do not imply time.