Place capital letters correctly on place names

Geographic names are the proper names of particular Earth features, places, and landmarks. The choice, form, spelling, and application of official place names for Federal usage are determined by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, explains the U.S. Geological Survey. (Foreign names are handled by the Foreign Names Committee of the Board.) Precision is paramount when placing capital letters correctly on place names. Here are some handy rules of thumb regarding the capitalization of place names: In general, all words considered part of a proper geographic name are capitalized, including all adjectives and common nouns: Alva B. Adams Tunnel Big Hill Big Hole Basin Upper Sulphur Creek West Side Pond Mount Ranier Exceptions to the rule of capitalization include articles and prepositions within multiple-word names: Alto de la Cruz Posta de Roque Red River of the North Fond du Lac Rock of Ages Gap in Knob Scarce of Fat Ridge Lake of the Ozarks Unless it is the first word in a sentence, the definite article preceding the specific name is not capitalized either when the generic part of a name (river, mountain, ocean) is included or when it is omitted: the Potomac River; the Potomac the Mojave Desert; the Mojave the Atlantic Ocean; the Atlantic Coined names of regions are capitalized: the Far East the North Atlantic States the Gulf States the Midwest the Western Hemisphere the Promised Land the Temperate Zone A descriptive term used to denote direction or position is not capitalized: central Chile southern California western …

Rick of the Precision Science Editing blog teamPlace capital letters correctly on place names

Wordy phrases and concise substitutes

Conciseness is important in scientific writing, but most writers struggle with wordiness at times. Don’t let excess words clutter your text! Here are some common wordy phrases with concise substitutions and tips: “It is noteworthy that…” If you need this emphasis, write “Of note…” instead. “And in addition…”  And and in addition are redundant. Use one or the other. “It goes without saying that…” Then do not say it. “Research has shown that…” This is implied when you include literature citations. This phrase is pure fluff. “In order to” is used a lot, but “to” says the same thing in fewer words. “In view of the fact that…” or “Based on the fact that…” Substitute “because.” “Fewer in number” Substitute “fewer.” “In the course of…” or “During the time of…” Simply write “during” or “while.” “At the present moment…” Substitute “now” or “currently.” “Up until now” means “To date.” “It is possible that these findings may…” Possible and may are redundant. Write “These findings may…” “By means of” Substitute “by” or “with” or “using.” “Square-shaped” means “square,” “round in shape” means “round.” “The question as to whether” means “whether.” “Small-sized” means “small,” “large in size” means “large.” Choose your words carefully to make every word count, and your writing will have a more powerful impact!

Anne AltorWordy phrases and concise substitutes

EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators

The European Association of Science Editors has compiled helpful guidelines for writing scientific manuscripts. The guidelines include advice for composing standard sections of the paper, with an additional section on writing an effective Abstract. One appendix discusses problems with “empty” words and phrases (e.g., “important,” “high/low,” “large/small”) that lack inherent meaning and require the reader to supply his or her own interpretation. Another appendix provides recommendations for making the manuscript cohesive. Commonly used wordy phrases are listed with recommended substitutes, and an overview of British vs. American English is provided. You can download the guidelines here.

Anne AltorEASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators