Blog of Andrés Aravena

# Rules for writing

08 December 2021

Scientists are writers. Papers, reports, projects, and so on. It is important to write clearly to be understood. If you write in manuscript, you need to use a good calligraphy. There are also rules for typing a text in the computer. Here are these basic rules.

• Start every sentence with uppercase, and end it with period (.).
• Write a space ( ) after each comma (,), period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), question mark (?), exclamation point (!) and closing parenthesis ()).
• Never write a space ( ) before a comma (,), period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), question mark (?), exclamation point (!) and closing parenthesis ()).
• Never write a space ( ) after an opening parenthesis (().
• Use the spell-and-grammar checker and correct each underlined text.
• Red underlines are spelling error. That word does not exist. Fix it.
• Blue underlines are grammar errors. That word exists, but it is not valid in that context. Rephrase it.
• Most of the times, bold and italic text should be replaced by structural elements, such as sections.
• Check all your document and find the places where bold and italic letters are misused instead of a section marker, and correct it.
• There are some exceptions. The most important one is that scientific names of species must always be written in italics. For example: Homo sapiens, Escherichia Coli. See this article on “how to write scientific names” and the CDC Scientific Nomenclature guideline.
• Italics is also used for gene names, like copA. The corresponding protein name is in normal text, starting with a capital letter, like CopA.
• Sometimes italics or bold are used to emphasize part of the text, like when a new concept is being defined. Use it sparingly.

# Checklist

• Search for “.” and replace all of them by “.
• Search for “,” and replace all of them by “,
• Search for “;” and replace all of them by “;
• Search for “:” and replace all of them by “:
• Search for “?” and replace all of them by “?
• Search for “!” and replace all of them by “!
• Search for “)” and replace all of them by “)
• Search for “(” and replace all of them by “(
• Search for “.” and replace all of them by “.
• Check the first word of every sentence. Change it to upper case if necessary.
• Correct all spelling errors (words underlined in red).
• Rephrase all grammatical errors (words underlined in blue).
Originally published at https://anaraven.bitbucket.io/blog/2021/rules-for-writing.html