A Guide to Effective Scientific Communication

Phrase: It has long been known
Translation: I haven’t bothered to look up the reference

Phrase: It is believed
Translation: I think

Phrase: It is generally believed
Translation: A couple of other guys think so too

Phrase: It is not unreasonable to assume
Translation: If you believe this, you’ll believe anything

Phrase: Of great theoretical importance
Translation: I find it kind of interesting

Phrase: Of great practical importance
Translation: I can get some mileage out of it

Phrase: Typical results are shown
Translation: The best results are shown

Phrase: 3 samples were chosen for further study
Translation: The others didn’t make sense, so we ignored them

Phrase: The 4 hour sample was not studied
Translation: I dropped it on the floor

Phrase: The 4 hour determination may not be significant
Translation: I dropped it on the floor, but scooped most of it up

Phrase: The significance of these results is unclear
Translation: Look at the pretty artifact

Phrase: It has not been possible to provide definitive answers
Translation: The experiment was negative, but at least I can publish the data somewhere

Phrase: Correct within an order of magnitude
Translation: Wrong

Phrase: It might be argued that
Translation: I have such a good answer for this objection that I shall now raise it

Phrase: Much additional work will be required
Translation: This paper is not very good, but neither are all the others in this miserable field

Phrase: These investigations proved highly rewarding
Translation: My grant is going to be renewed

Phrase: I thank X for assistance with the experiments and Y for useful discussions on the interpretation of the data
Translation: X did the experiment and Y explained it to me