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How To Write Like a Scientist

Updated on April 21, 2009

You Can Do It

 

You've read the writing on the lab wall. You might not have understood it, but you've read it, and like me you probably thought “that guy's got more brains in his little finger than I have on my sandwich.” See? You can't even get your metaphors right, and therein is your first bonus lesson: Scientists don't use metaphors. Besides, cow-brain sandwiches are illegal now on of account of you might get Mad Cow. Or, as a scientist would write, “Human consumption of the cerebrum matter of the Bos taurus or related bovid mammals is currently interdicted by legislation related to the potential for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy—or BSE—contraction.” Head spinning? Never fear. It's easy.

Scientists nowadays still communicate as they’ve done since the beginning of time, or at least since there was stuff to write about and people who wanted to write about it and come off as being smarter than you and me. Like it’s everybody else’s job to figure out what the heck they’re talking about. Granted, in scientific writing there is a need for absolute accuracy which, at times, can lend an air of pompous pedantry to their efforts, but you can bet your bunsen burner that a lot of it is simply them being a smart ass, or Inflatus Ass Forumen (Oh, yeah, it's always good to throw in some Latin).

As promised, it's easy and I can teach you how, and only in five easy steps. There are just three things you will need to get started. Firstly, change your attitude. No longer is 'science' a body of facts that you learn, but rather you are a practitioner of ,'science'. In other words, science doesn't thrust itself on you, you thrust yourself on science. You'll be surprised how this little adjustment in your outlook will influence your scientific writing. Also, you will need a thesaurus and a dictionary. Got 'em? Good. Let's get started. Here are the five rules for writing like a scientist.

Never Use One Word When Two or More is Better

 

Rule 1: Forget about the word “likely.” That word is way too simple. Instead write “plausible.” OK. Good. But that's still not enough words, so bump it up and flip it around to “it is not implausible.” Now you have what I like to call your “Confusionary Core.” And once you have your CC you can parlay it into “current available evidence would tend to indicate that it is not implausible to hypothesize...” Now isn't that better than just writing "likely?"

 

Now that you have mastered (hopefully) the art of the CC, you're halfway home. Now it becomes a matter of doing this over and over again, sentence after sentence, with a few more tips and tricks thrown in for the full effect of scientific pomposity. Let's continue to...

 

Put Your Basic Thought Into a Multitudinous Assertion

 

Rule 2: Let's say you observe that I often write about really stupid things. You could just say that and everyone would understand what you were talking about, but you won't come off looking any smarter than I. Worse, you might look stupid too. Instead write, “Through thorough quantitative analysis of the subject's body of work, available evidence tends to be indicative that the aforementioned writer (a term loosely applied in the present example), one Christoph Reilly, feels disposed to topics and subject matters universally acknowledged as sophomoric and nongermane to society as a whole.” See? That's a good one. You started out just wanting to say I wrote about stupid thi...Hey...wait a minute...!

 

Here's a couple of quick ones. If you noticed your cat puked on your new carpet, report that “conducting visual investigation into a discolored, viscous substance on the recently acquired wall-to-wall floor covering, led irrevocably to the conclusion that the resident feline of this shared habitat has disgorged a portion of his evening sustenance.” Resist the impulse to say, “So I tied him up by his rear paws and hung him outside in the rain,” and say rather, “The offending creature was subjected to behavioral modification therapy whereby he was secured by his rear pedal extremities and carefully placed outside during a period of heavy precipitation.” See? It's not only easy, but fun.

"You will have your reader scratching his head and reaching for the whiskey bottle."

State the Obvious Unintelligibly

 

Rule 3: Writing “the proven result of the expended efforts of U.S. Postal employees is identical placement of materials designated for specific and individual persons at multi-national locations,” will have your reader scratching his head and reaching for the whiskey bottle secreted under the couch. After an hour or so, he may finally conclude that "a mailman delivers mail to an addressee." Try testing yourself on this one: “You buy gas at a gas station.”

Kudos to you if you came up with something like “motor vehicles and many tools require the use of a liquid energy source, usually gasoline, deisel, ethanol or some alternate derivative, usually and almost exclusively available at fee-based businesses—commonly called “stations”—dispensing said fossil fuels.”

Say What You Are Going to Say Before You Say It

 

Rule 4: This is tantamount to Babe Ruth pointing out where he's going to hit a home run before he hits it.  First up, the quick lead in: “In the following section, actions of the board will be categorized, explained, and determinations extrapolated.” Once you've got that mastered, you will have the fortitude for the multi-level introduction: “Perhaps most importantly, a thorough examination of board actions, policies, and inherent resolutions contribute to overall comprehension of the subtle intricacies involved in any complex endeavor and its recognized beneficial properties.”

 

You can also try to old “switheroo,” which simply states what you have said after you have said it. Simply take the above example, tack it on the end of your statement, and remove “perhaps most importantly” and instead begin the sentence with “as clearly evidenced by the facts presented above...”

 

Defend Your Writing Style. You're a Scientist for Crissake!

 

Rule 6: Treat with contempt any clear, concise writing. It is below you. You are doing important things and your reader can either keep up or get off the ride. Like hanging a sign reading “you must be THIS smart to read this paper.” If they can't understand it, then they aren't worthy of your intelligence. Put it thusly: “We in the scientific community must engage in detailed, accurate description of multitudinous criterion targeted at unequivocal conclusions and logical suppositions, presented in factual, art-free, written documentation, utilizing existing nomenclature and unencumbered by accessibility issues.” In other words, bug off!

 

The Verifiable Termination

If you write this way, you will be perceived as serious, studious, and smarter than your average bear. Oh sure, you'll also come off as an Inflatus Ass Forumen, but that's the point. After a few times, it will become second nature to you and you can strut your pompous stuff at school, at work, at home, and at play. Good luck, you scientist you, and happy obfuscation!

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    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 5 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanx, KixKat. Always nice to see a fellow scientist. Mix a drink for me.

    • profile image

      KixKat 5 years ago

      As a scientist who writes quite often, and is in the midst of writing a thesis in which most of the feedback is to write more concisely, I was almost concerned until I realized this is a satirical and absolutely hilarious piece. :D

      I think I need to get out of the lab and go get a drink. :P

      Especially since I noticed that the entire first sentence of my comment is scientific in nature. Excuse me while I go pour myself something alcoholic.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

      It is, Christin, it is! Master the scientific writing principles, and you're on your way to the Nobel prize.

    • ChristinCordle12 profile image

      ChristinCordle12 6 years ago

      Interesting. I think this is my chance to become a scientist somehow.:D

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Izetti: Funny, that's the same place I fell asleep when I was writing it! Glad you woke up for the cat puke though - that's my favorite part. Thanks for coming by and commenting, which always a highlight of my day. Happy to have given you a chuckle!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thank God I write on hubpages where I put little thought into what I write. But seriously, I did some of this for an internship in college. It was certainly different, like learning a new language. I'd sit around with other students making fun of it like you have here. Unfortunately I fell asleep after your first scientific sentence. But then woke somehwere around cat puke. HA! just kidding, it was all hilarious. I totally enjoyed it.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Jill: Thank you for the comment (and compliment to boot!) I'm glad you read this one. Actually, it's one of my favorites, though not other people's idea of great one.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hahaha!!! I enjoyed this Christoph! You are a riot!!!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Gus: He don't? Well,heck, I didn't notice he caint spell.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      CR - Don't bodthur. He dont spil rite anyhow (thats "noway.")

      :-)))

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Gus: What the...? What's a mettafore? You say there's some of them things in here? I'll have to talk to that fella that actually writes this crap.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      CR - Hey, if you really did not get your metaphors "right," let me alert you to a metaphor sale going on this past week (Nov.9,2009...) - $5 off on each metaphor if you buy two similies at the regular price ! AND, they come ready-written, too. (I apologize for having waited all these months to tell you about this but several things intervened to cause the delay. (1) I was not hanging around Hubpages 6 months ago, and (2) The metaphor sale was not available until the week of November 9th. ;-)))

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Writer:  Absolutely a coincidence.  I have never read one of your poems.  So.  You think I insulted you 5 months ago?  Is that what this is about?  I can assure you, I had no idea.  Why in the world would I have said anything against you?  You had never done anything to me.  I don't make a habit out of criticizing other writers, and it would take an awful lot for me to do so.  Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I assure you that's all it is.  If you had said something to me at the time, I could have straightened it out then.  I would like to read the poem you are referring to, please.

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 8 years ago

      "See? You can't even get your metaphors right, and therein is your first bonus lesson: Scientists don't use metaphors"-I had pubished a poem shortly before that. Coincedence?

    • santoion profile image

      santoion 8 years ago

      I believe that YOU are Great !

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Gwendymom: Wouldn't you know it! I was already logged out when you got here. Darn!

      MM: I will go check out that hub.

      Gwendy: Peek a Boo!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      MM: Feel strongly about it, do you? You mean, I trust, that this hub seems to advocate using more and bigger words, but does so in a sarcastic way, which is the way this writer (that would be me) makes fun of pompous, overly intellectual writing. Right? Not that I personally advocate it, which I don't.

      I have written a few technical manuals in my time, where my job was to take the barely decipherable writings of technical people and turn it into something everyone could understand, so I get where you're coming from. I agree with everything you have said.

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      I think he did a hub and run again. He's good at that.

      I will go read it, thanks. BTW how are you doing?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Good idea! Make sure you go and read ChrisA's hubbers/hubbing jokes hub. It's hysterical. You, too, Christoph!

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Hey CR, and MM, how are you guys tonight. It's a rare occasion anymore that all of us are on at the same time. We need to have some fun.

      This all all just too much for me. I'm gonna go try and pridict some celebrities that will die this year.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hell no! I spend my days trying to decipher and translate engineering and other techno-speak into recognizable English. There is no justification for writing that way, none whatsoever!

      KISS mantra is Keep It Short and Simple:-). Whereas you advocate more words instead of fewer, more syllables instead of fewer, KISS is all about streamlining...

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      MellasViews: While the value of research and response to new data cannot be irresolutely discredited, it is not uncommonly viewed as containing a specific "value", whether or not said data leads to undeniable conclusions conducive to study termination.

      In short, at least you gave it the old college try! Not bad. A little more practice and you'll be completely obtuse!

      Thanks for the howdy!

      (P.S. Stop publishing so many hubs. You're making the rest of us look bad!)

      Mighty Mom: I'm not even going to try. You're right! It's too hard just for leaving and responding to comments. Any truth in what you said? Are you wanting to sound more like a scientist in your written communiques? Or something along those lines?

      What is your KISS mantra?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Coincidentally, actively aspiring to modulate my written communications in a manner more closely approximating authentic scientific discourse ranks number one on my list of New Years resolutions. It should be deemed a fortuitious omen that a hub on this very subject reappeared on Hubtivity in support of this stated objective.

      Heck -- this is way too hard. I'm going back to my usual KISS mantra:-).

    • MellasViews profile image

      MellasViews 8 years ago from Earth

      lol. my hypothesis was that this write would have me laughing. The conclusion was correct.

      I think I sounded dumber, but I gave it a go. lol.

    • ASHWINSPGA profile image

      ASHWINSPGA 8 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

      Hi CONSTANT WALKER, You kind of lost me there too my friend, and I'm sorry i just saw your comment and had to reply only now

      Ashwin is my name so you can just call me by that,Spga is my company's name. got it buddy? :=)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Chris I think Constant was sort of having a dig at himself by inferring that he wrote "easy" or "dumbed down" his Hubs but just because he does it does'nt make it right! That is not what I personally think though, just an observation.

      Now were did that little spryte go, we have to have that tete a tete, I've been picking up these dirty french words from Amanda.

      You're not really the gloating type, I've never noticed, much?

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Constant: Uh...you kind of lost me here. I'm not seeing what you are referring to re. Ashwin.

      Agvulpes: (Again, I don't follow the reference to me being in trouble.)

      Why, Ag, I was going to tell you all about it! Yea! Right after it happened! Trust me, you would have been fully informed (I love to gloat!).

      As for the remainder of your comment, I'll just give you and Spryte a few minutes alone...

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Chistoph (notice like mum I only use your full name when your in trouble)

      I nearly missed this great offer from spryte, and you were going to tell me, when?

      "Aggie!!! LOL! Love the Christmas look :) If I sit on your lap and tell you I've been a good girl ALL year long...err...will you believe me?"

      spryte if you sat on my lap I would ahhhhhh. Now wait a minute raise your minds above your whatevers! I was just thinking what I would do.

      spryte you would get everything your precious heart desires!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Ashwinpga (Geez, could you have picked a harder name!?), please don't stop writing "harder." Expand our intellignece, don't cater to the lowest.

      And just because I've just done it doesn't make it OK... ;-)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Ashwin: Well, believe me, you won't need to. Good to see you here! Glad you stopped in! And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

    • ASHWINSPGA profile image

      ASHWINSPGA 8 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

      I will be damned if i ever write like a scientist. Glad i found this hub. I don't know why nowadays i don't get mails informing me of my fave hubbers new hub releases. Anyway Mr Christoph you know how i adore your writing style and you got me giggling throughout the article. Nice Write. Merry Christmas to you my cowboy friend

      And Spryte i thought you were staying out of trouble to get into Santa's list but i see you are still up to your minxy self. Hi sweetie. Merry Christmas to you..

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Constant:  Here's the lowdown on the Amish heaters.  The questions are best answered at the link at the bottom of the page.  It DOES use less energy than a coffee maker--for the one minute the maker is brewing--then it uses much more.  Can it save you money?  Depends on lots of stuff--what type of heat do you have now, etc.  It will work exactly like any space heater (it is neither more nor less efficient) but it does look cool.  Anyway, this will give you the facts with out the hype (I found lots of testimonials--some good, some bad.  As for the bad ones, the people were dissapointed that they either didn't save money or spent more.  The good ones...well, who can tell if they are even real.  Thet may be hired writers to shill on forums, etc.

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=200711...

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Trish: Oh if you really knew me you would not think that's true. I am sure you are much more pleasant than I.

      Pam: You fold so easy? I must clarify that the kitchen was still standing...it just needed a complete remodel, so if yours was actually...like...misssing after the fire, you might have me. Yes, the flash of fiery fury. I remember it well...like a mini nuclear explosion. I was a funny sight, with my hair suddenly ending a few inches above my ankles. But, damn, I'm writing the whole hub right here. There won't be anything left to tell!

      Constant: Now my curiosity is piqued, and that's trouble because I become obsessed with stuff like that. Bet you a buck right now I blow a couple of hours looking for the answer. Which brings up another matter and maybe you can help. You say in your profile that you play the guitar (I think) and I was wondering if you knew of a program (down-loadable, `free) that would let me record a song on my computer with over-dubbing, so I could play all the instruments recording them individually. Like 4 or 8 tracks (or better). I have an old Tascam mini-studio, but the last time I tried to use it, it either didn't work or I couldn't figure it out (and of course I can't find the manual) but I don't have time to set all that stuff up anyway. Know of anything?

      Sally: Let's see...what was my wager...Oh yea! If I won, I would get to dress like a fireman and come in and rescue you with you wearing only your underwear! Pay up!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. 

      I fold. Clearly, your kitchen fire tops my experiences.  I was saved by one fire department in my undies, and I patched a wall with wet Turkish towels to bring down the heat another time, and another fire department rushed in to extinguish a wax blaze in the aforementioned activity of burning candles in the fireplace.

      You win. Now, what was your wager?

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      OK. I wondered EXACTLY the same thing. "As much power as a coffee maker" ...when? Even if it uses as much as a typical electric heater, great! I'm using that now, and it looks nowhere near that good! I had questions, too, and went to the website (here, see if you can get anything: https://www.heatsurgetv.com/) but couldn't find any info.

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      ROFLMAO! Ok, I say you have it won by a large margin. I actually thought I could top yours till I read the final part about leg hair and the flash of firey fury. Well done! Literally. :D

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      Chris,

      You're a joy for all seasons :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Ag:  Dig the avatar, dude!  What are you saying?  You can't understand this?  Wow...then I guess that...as a writer...I have...it's hard for me to say...SUCCEEDED!  Thanks for dropping by and not reading anything and especially for your touching and heartfelt non-comment!

      Pam:  I'll see your bet, and raise you 2 forest fires, 1 lawn-neighborhood fire, and burning all the hair off my legs (except where my socks were pulled up) in a flash of fiery fury.  What say you?

      Constant:  You are mistaken.  There is no sarcasm.  I do seriously want one and have wanted one ever since I saw the commercial for the first time.   Everytime the commercial comes on I stop what I am doing and watch it.  I think they are totally cool.  And you can push it from room to room!  I do have some questions about it, though.  I wonder just how much heat it puts out.  I doubt, but wish, that there was a way to make it run without putting out heat, just for the visual effect.  More importantly, I wonder how much electricity it uses.  Now they say that it uses no more energy than a coffee maker, but is that while the coffee maker is brewing?  I think that would be a lot of energy expended.  If it only uses as much as a coffee maker when just the warming plate is on, that is not so bad, but they would clarify that, wouldn't they.  I think they would say that, and their claim that it uses less power than a Mr. Coffee machine is a bit misleading.  Still, if you don't have a problem with expending lots of energy (and paying for it) so be it.

      No sir, no sarcasm there.  I really think you should get one because, when all is said and done, they are cool (and those Amish know how to craft great mantle).  You can get me one too!

      P.S. I read some of scienceguys stuff. Awesome!

      Spryte:  You can sit on my lap, little girl, and I will believe you.  Santa has candy!  (Only 18 or older need apply and you must privide proof of age.)

      Trish:  I'm sure your ass isn't that inflatus.  And methinks you understand very well.  Otherwise, I would not have pondered your comment for such a lengthy time, with a gentle tear in my eye--a tear of joy, mind you--at the practical applicating of the very principles I hold dear.  Thank you.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 8 years ago

      Well. As I perch on my inflatus ass forumen, my thalamus seems to be malfunctioning in routing the above incoming data to the appropriate higher brain centers. I likewise deduce my reticular activitating system is also inoperable, thereby making it implausible for me to ignore all comments so as to render the portion of my central nervous system enclosed in my skull futile in comprehending this scientific method of writing :)

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Aggie!!! LOL! Love the Christmas look :) If I sit on your lap and tell you I've been a good girl ALL year long...err...will you believe me?

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Christoph (say the following sentence in your best Forrest Gump voice): I'm not a very smart man, but I know what sarcasm is...

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      Christoph, I'll see your one burned down kitchen and raise you a burned down kitchen, two trash can fires, and a toaster oven blaze. ;)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Mate if I could understand what the f*** you were talking about I may be able to leave a sensible comment. But then again why should I be the only one?

      Great Hub (well everyone else says so, who the hell am I to argue)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Spryte: Why...yes. Let me see....hmmm...why...three of the episodes involved the fire department. And that's not all but I have to save something for the hub!

      Constant: Yea, the Amish fireplaces are totally cool (or is that hot?). I want one. You should definitely treat yourself to an Amish fireplace!

      Sally: I'll see your fire departments and raise you one burned down kitchen! It's your deal!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Spryte, you are so savvy. Fire departments were involved. Happy holidays to you! May our fire places be safe.

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Christoph, I just saw a commercial for those Amish "fireplaces." I am totally getting one of those! The cherry finish, with the matching hearth.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Chris - You're welcome :)  Did it involve burning down the house or smoking yourself out?  :)

      LOL! And you're welcome too Sally. Should I put the fire departments on standby for the both of you?

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Your comment to Spryte cracked me up. In your sentence, *I wish I had a fireplace*, in an instant I thought, what about one of those Amish things? And there it was. Then I started thinking about why, although I have a working fireplace, I never, never, never use it, except to burn candles in it. And there it was, again. I think there's a Hub for me there, too. Thanks, Chris and Spryte!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Sally:  Thank you.  You inspire my "mental gymnastics," when usually I am just "mental."  It is my pervasive fear of people discovering that I am a dolt, but if I can fool you I can fool anybody.  Those really are real books, by the way.  Very funny!  Thanks again for your compliments...you know how I feel about that.

      Spryte:  You know, your "brand."  Your inimitable style.  Like you write something then sprinkle Spryte dust on it and it sparkles and hypnotizes the reader.  I can indeed picture you settling by the fire with a hot cider (spiked) and weaving your magic carpet of words.  I wish I had a fireplace.  Maybe I should get one of those fake Amish fireplace things they sell on late-night TV.  As for real fires, I have a bit of history regarding fires and it is not good.  Say...that gives me an idea for my next hub!  Thanks!

      Constant Walker:  Thanks again.  I'll most definitely check out that link.  Thanks for posting it!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Wow, thanks Christoph. You're very welcome. Here's Science Guru's "latest" link. I'm pretty sure you'll get a kick outta his stuff:

      http://hubpages.com/author/Science+Guru/latest/

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Christoph: Ruh roh...my "brand" of writing. LOL! That scares me :) I have a lot of things composing themselves in my head, but nothing has found its way to my fingertips yet. Perhaps in the New Year...or over the Christmas holidays when I'm stuck, snowbound, in New Hamsphire visiting my family and friends. :) I can just picture myself, nestled cozily by the fireplace, with my laptop in my uh...lap...drinking myself into a state of writing euphoria...can't you?

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I'm not sure which is funnier, your Hub or your comment. You are such a joy to read.

      As for the books, thanks so much for wanting to gift me with them, but I already have them in my library. On the other hand, I do forget where I put *Everything You'll Need to Remember About Alzheimer's*, or maybe a friend borrowed it. And, unfortunately *Letting It Go: a History of American Incontinence* got flushed down the toilet by mistake. And who couldn't use an extra copy of anything featuring Pooh? Guess you might as well send them, then.

      Oh yeah, and I just adore the mental gymnast who can justify ANYthing, given just a smidgen of an excuse.

      You rock.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image
      Author

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Constant Walker:  Thanks for the visit and your learned and flattering comment.  I haven't read the science guy's stuff, but you have piqued my curiosity and I will definitely check him out.  Furthermore, you're comment that "you wish you had written that" is about as high a compliment as one can get. Thank you. I appreciate your time.

      Sally:  Oh, Sally, Sally, Sally.  You make the same mistake often made by young, intellegent, eager readers, in that you assume the writer actually knows what they are talking about.  I will say that I show the use of the passive voice without actually pointing it out, teaching instead by example.  The reason is two-pronged:  Firstly--and you have hit on it directly--if one emulates my examples and puts into practice my lessons, the passive voice will take care of itself.  Similarly, the sun will rise. It is not necessary that I know why. Secondly, I have been actively trying to reduce the length of my hubs, so something has to be eliminated. Well, that, and I didn't think of it.

      As for the missing Rule 5, I don't know what you are talking about.  I count five.  (OK, I just changed it.  Oh yea, now I remember.  When I edited out "Passive Voice," that was Rule 5 and I forgot to change the numbers.)  Alright, here's the truth:  It was a test.  Since you are the first to recognize this omission, you win the prize of three books for your library:  "Cooking With Pooh," from Disney,  "Letting It Go: a History of American Incontinence," and "Everything You'll Need to Remember About Alzheimer's," real books all.  I hope you enjoy them!

      I am glad you stopped by and even gladder you're not on the grant committee, for under your keen eye and intellect, I wouldn't stand a chance!

      I remain your most ardent fan,

      Chris

       

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      It surprised me considerably that the mandatory use of the passive voice was not included as a rule in your excellent Hub. As it is known to be an instrument of confusion, it is deserving of a place of honor. Or, possibly, subsuming the passive voice under Rule 1 could be in order simply by virtue of the word count generated by its use. That would be a decision to be made by you, of course.

      Where's Rule 5? Or is that the *switheroo*?

      Delightful!

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      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      "Multitudinous"? Very good! I had to look that one up, I was sure you'd made it up. Excellent prose, my good man. Anomalous, yet chuckle-worthy.

      One of those hubs that one reads and thinks, "Wow, I wish I'd written this."

      Have you ever read any of Science Guru's stuff? The guy is just the epitome of a scientist. I like to read his hubs because I'm sure to learn something new, but - like reading Scientific American magazine - I typically understand about half of it, and am determined to learn the rest.

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Well....OK. As soon as I untie him from the front porch and bring him in from the rain. My apologies to Schroedinger.

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      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Perhaps you could make amends, by kindly placing Schroedinger's cat back in the box. In this particular experiment, observation obfuscates the result.

      Thank you

      The Scientific community at large

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Upon conscientious examination of your enumerated beliefs, it is not unreasonable to postulate with some authoritativeness that the ailurophilia has indeed been released from the haversack. To this, I can only offer my guileless apologies, however, allowing that an individual knows HOW to compose a technical communique like a lettered scientist, in no way does this knowledge guarantee --either explicit or implied--that the aforementioned personage will DO so. Such dauntless action requires one component which can not be inculcated, which is the spheroids to actually do it.

      I think you're safe. Thanks for dropping in and the note, which just goes to show, jackalopes know a lot more than we think they do (who knew they wrote dissertations?) Thanks!

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      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Allow me to congratulate you on having demonstrated your mastery of the language. It reminds me of a dissertation I once wrote on the mating habits of the Cuterebridae Diptera (Bot Fly). I must, however, protest. It would seem that you have released a creature from the phylum - chordata, class - mammalia, order - carnivora, family - felidae from the proverbial collapsible container; thus unmasking our charade.

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Lita: That's how my head feels after reading some of the forums. Actually, I think my brains are leaking out my ears right now....

      Legali: You have "science speak" down pat! Thanks for the comment.

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: No, no, not at all. That particular item of discourse had been successfully concluded is all. I find you a delight always!

      Denny Lyon: Yes, sometimes described as "mental masturbation." It can be rather tiresome. Thank you for the comment. Your accolades are overextended, I'm afraid. Thanks!

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      Lgali 8 years ago

      very good hub

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      Leta S 8 years ago

      My brain hurts!

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      Denny Lyon 8 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

      Considering I've known or met waaaaay too many folks like this and they can be downright boring - since they are visually "one hand clapping" - "do ya think?!"

      Very funny hub! Bravo! (standing ovation) More! (crazy people waving wildly and cheering loudly) and hey! down in front! (scientists waving white flag of surrender) - what can I say? I'm a bit out of practice - you take it from here...

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      ah well it was fun while it lasted - sorry if I wore you out!!....lol

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      No, no...Cheers to YOU!

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Christoph - as the conclusive and immutable speculation is terminated this naturally leads me to pre-suppose that the unwarranted appraisal has disintergrated, dissolved into a Life Quietus, so that the now dormant yet organic form is suspended in animation from which mortification no longer exudes......cheers

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Pam: I would be disappointed if you changed one little thing about yourself (and I would never refer to you as a flat ass, as where I come from this is something of an insult.) Thanks for coming by and having a read. It's always nice to know you've been here and to get a comment from you. Thank you!

      pgrundy: I have not read Immanual Kant but you've got my curiosity up. Maybe I'll pick up a pocket copy, but then I'd probably find that I can't read Kant. But seriously, maybe I can find an example on the internet.

      I know what you mean about "meaning to exclude," like children making up words for their secret club. When I was doing a little research on this--looking for fodder--I came across a couple of papers by science teachers where they expounded on the necessity to teach current science students to write science papers. It was unclear exactly what they wanted to teach them though, whether to teach them to make their writing more accessable or less so. Under the circumstances, I found this funny because neither of the papers actually said anything!

      Thanks for the comment!

      CW: Nice to see you again and, as usual, most welcome you are! Drop in anytime! You make me laugh!

      Spryte: My goodness, you have been a stranger. It is really great to hear from you. I have never seen "Big Bang" so I'll have to check it out. We are missing your particular brand of writing around here. Anything coming down the pike?

      And a great big bear hug to you!

      Lita: Thanks for stopping by. To tell the truth, I do poke my head into the forums now and then, but usually get the hell out real fast! (Unless somebody's have a nervous breakdown - then it's interesting!)

      Thank you for the comment. You can expect my grant request very soon!

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: It is probable that gratitude is in order relative to your response above, wherein the blights on my writing history are exculpated and expunged. According to available data, current evidence may or may not buttress your theory, and a consortium of scientists, researchers, and bartenders presently labor on this esoterical conundrum, their objective being to satiate your trust and resolve this matter in an expidited fashion, terminating speculation conclusivly and immutably. To briefly synopsize, Thanks!

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      Leta S 8 years ago

      Dang, Christoph, have you been hanging out in the forums just a'laughin at us? Lol. But I know very well that of which you speak!

      You'd make a very effective grantwriter, I can tell this, :)

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      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Hola Christoph!

      This piece reminds me of how the characters speak on "Big Bang Theory" (especially Sheldon). Are you writing for them?? :) If not...you should be!!

      *hugs*

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      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Repeated empirical studies conducted on this subject matter has made you arrive at the plausible conclusion which has resulted in gramercy even for the subject. Looking forward to more such symbiotic relationships.

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      pgrundy 8 years ago

      LOL! You know what the WORST is though? Literary criticism--the academic variety. It's unreadable. Philosophy is pretty bad too. Curl up with a nice 40 pound volume of Immanuel Kant sometime and you'll see what I mean. I still don't believe anyone has actually read his books all the way through, but no one knows it because... no one has read his books all the way through!

      So much of this kind of language is meant to exclude. That is its sole purpose. Thanks for a really funny and accurate hub!

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      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      I tried and I tried and I can't talk like a scientist. :( I wanna be one a them flat ass formen too. Wait, maybe that's flatus ask formen? In flatass formen... ;)

      My favorite section was "Defend Your Writing Style." :D Too funny! LOL! The whole thing was a fun and nice read!

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Christoph - s and s never!! - I think you just suffered from an overactive temporary but fertile febrile typing finger which managed to cause typus wordus collidus.....lol -

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: Oh, putz! In my response to you above, the sentence was supposed to read "nor your linguini with your lingerie, which..." Now I feel all stupid and stuff. The real me...EXPOSED! News at 10:00!

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks, Shalini! Always a pleasure and a compliment from you is double-felt! Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you!

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      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      oh Christoph - you are sooooo entertaining - loved this! So ridiculous and yet so many preen and parade their pomposity and pedantry for the world to laud! Thank heaven for the Christoph Reillys of this world!! :)

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      CW: Well, your participation has made stimulation not only plausible, but not improbable, indicated by case histories culled and analyzed from your recorded and documented participation in multiple forums, hubs, and covert surveillance of your circadian noble and credible actions. And for that, gramercy is due your personage, which I do hereby offer.

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: Your surprising return engagement to this page is both welcomed and rejuvinating and by all means do not co-mingle your lingua with your linguini, nor your linguini, which, repetitive case studies have demonstrated, can function as the anticedent of a disheveled, cream sauce appearance, particularly stressful during actions of intimacy. Cachinnating out sonorously to you too!

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      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Christoph- Thorough analysis of your intellectual output has made it plausible for many to engage in intellectual stimulation. Further empirical proof isn't needed to establish my hypothesis that Christoph is a genius....LOL

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Indeed most laudable of you Christoph, to commend me on my intended use of the vernacular of the lingua. I would naturally endeavour to separate my lingua from my linguine and present factual representations of the discourse in the monolingual communication; however this would be strictly for the linguistic purposes of enhancing intellectually perceptive reasoning by the non - inflatus ass forumen !     I truly thank you for this incredible opportunity....

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      ajcor: Howdy! Thanks for coming by and your promise to become an "inflatus ass forumen". You will wear it well, I'm sure. Thanks too, for the compliment.  Your linguistic propensity for the multi-syllabic charms of complex sentence structures persists even as our discourse continues to enthrall and captivate my penchant for same!

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Well Christoph as I have always wanted to become an "Inflatus Ass Forumen" I am going to work on my language so thoroughly you will never know that it is me writing this pompous linguistic "mushroom" type pendantry - I know I am just going to love it....cheers and thanks for another beauty!

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Misty: Thanks so much! Appreciate your comment. By the way, the cat story is true!

      MM: I have to agree. Pgrundy touched on it as "corporate speak" in her "do you speak American" hub, so much so that it got me to finally write this one.  She could easily do the same for corporations.  Yes, promulgate is a good word. In fact, I'm going back through all my hubs and work it in somewhere, otherwise I won't ever be happy.  Thanks for the visit!

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I believe this same language technique is learned and applied by lawyers and bureaucrats. For me, the test of a good sentence is whether you are able to weave in the word "promulgate." Promulgation, obfuscation, consternation -- it's all good! Thanks for the elevating my writing prowess along with my mood! MM

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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hilarious and very clever as usual Christoph, I just loved the translation about your cat being hung up in the rain. Sheer genius :)