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Academic writing, explained.

Have you ever wanted to know

 How to use a particular aspect of English grammar correctly?
 What writing conventions you should follow in your field?
 How to follow a particular journal's instructions correctly?
 Which word is most appropriate to use in a given sentence (e.g., 'demonstrate', 'show', or 'present')?
 How to handle a problem during the peer review process?
 Why a peer reviewer suggested you change your wording?
 Specific points to improve your English writing grammatically and stylistically?

Ask an editor

Our specialist editors will answer any questions you have about writing in English in science, medicine, and the humanities. In 5 simple steps you'll receive a personalized answer.

Some example questions


Why was there no "the" before "height" and "weight" in this sentence: "Height and weight were measured at baseline"?

I was told that this sentence is correct: "Ten grams of sample is required for this experiment." Shouldn't it be "Ten grams are required..."?

Vocabulary and word choice

I thought "effect" was a noun and "affect" a verb, but I read is "effected a change in policy." Is that correct English?

What's the difference between "increase of and "increase in"?

Publication ethics

I heard that to avoid plagiarism I should reword a sentence published by another author even though I cite their work. Is that true? Do I have to reword everything I reference?

Can I put a link to my published paper on my website? Am I breaking copyright?

Writing conventions

What's the difference between Oxford and Cambridge spelling in British English? The journal says use British English. Which one should I choose?

How many times do I have to use a term in the abstract and main text before I can use the abbreviation?

I was told that two spaces were needed after a period. Is that correct?

Sometimes I see "follow up" and other times I see "follow-up". Is there any difference?

Guidelines for authors and style guides

The journal guidelines say I should use "title case" for my table captions. What does that mean?

The journal says use a serial comma. What is that?

The Information to Authors says "use a ragged right margin". Can you give me an example?

Individual advice

I can't finish my revised paper by the journal's deadline. What should I do?

I found out I made an error in my data analysis, but I already submitted my paper. Should I contact the journal or just wait until I get the referees' comments?

The journal editor said my paper had problems with "logical flow" and a native speaker should help me improve this. What does this mean exactly?

The reviewer told me the grammar was wrong in this sentence: "xxxx." I don't know what is wrong. Can you tell me?