The mournful author's Ph.D. advisor objected to the over-poetical use of the word "lone" to mean "only" in the sentence “PvPlm is the lone plasmepsin in the food vacuole of Plasmodium vivax.” It exuded romanticism andThis could almost as easily have been entitled "How to Write Like a Lawyer." One of the federal judges in Houston first engaged my passionate admiration by excoriating the FDIC's evil flunky lawyers' views on sovereign immunity, but I admire him almost equally for his advice on legal writing. He once told a seminar's attendees that no judge was ever going to tell us, "Son, your brief is clear, compelling, and accurate on the law -- but it's just too darn short." He asked us whether it would be too much to ask that we find a place right in the first paragraph that gave him a clue what we wanted him to do. Yes, he was sure our story of injustice was shocking and fascinating, but what kind of piece of paper signed by a federal judge did we expect to alter the sad situation? Just give him a hint. Reverse a judgment? Issue an injunction? Must he wait until page 8 to find this information? And for pity's sake, could we please name the parties something brief and comprehensible? It's easier to keep track of "the Lender" than "the consortium of loan participants for which the First National Commercial Bank, as successor in interest to National First Bank of Commerce, serves as agent for limited purposes." But lawyers agonize over these choices.
conjured images of PvPlm perched on a cliff’s edge, staring into the empty chasm, weeping gently for its aspartic protease companions. Oh, the good times they shared. Afternoons spent cleaving scissile bonds. Lazy mornings decomposing foreign proteins into their constituent amino acids at a nice, acidic pH. Alas, lone plasmepsin, those days are gone.
The science writer also takes on the justly-reviled passive tense:H/t Not Exactly Rocket Science.
Why can’t we write like other people write? Why can’t we tell our science in interesting, dynamic stories? Why must we write dryly? (Or, to rephrase that last sentence in the passive voice, as seems to be the scientific fashion, why must dryness be written by us?)