Paul L. Caron

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Academics Really Use Way Too Many Adjectives and Adverbs

Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn (Rutgers-Camden), Cluttered Writing: Adjectives and Adverbs in Academia, 96 Scientometrics 679 (2013):

When you catch an adjective, kill it. Mark Twain

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. Stephen King

Scientific writing is about communicating ideas. Today, simplicity is more important than ever. Scientist are overwhelmed with new information. The overall growth rate for scientific publication over the last few decades has been at least 4.7% per year, which means doubling publication volume every 15 years. I measure simplicity/readability with proportion of adjectives and adverbs in a paper, and find natural science to be the most readable and social science the least readable.

Proportion of Adjectives and Adverbs in Published Research by Academic Discipline Group Relative to the Field With the Smallest Proportion.


(Hat Tip: Inside Higher Ed.)

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Qualifiers are directly related to the "softness" of a knowledge discipline and lack of a "hard" methodology. Not surprising.

Posted by: David | Aug 29, 2013 6:03:20 PM

I honestly, sincerely disagree with this simple, direct, and yet somehow very irritating blog post.

Posted by: michael livingston | Aug 29, 2013 3:50:15 PM

The legal education you need to know for driving schools in Vancouver isn't too hard. But i feel like it also keeps people safe.

Posted by: Avery Schlacter | Aug 29, 2013 10:01:15 AM