Duke University Scientific Writing Resource

Overused Words

Here's a dictionary of words I think are overused in scientific writing:
  • Mechanism - sometimes means "I don't know how it works"
  • Putative - possible? Often used with other hedging words.
  • Framework - general term that seems to add nothing
  • Utilize - Usually utilized instead of "use" to inflate writing.
  • Elucidate - a prerequisite for every introduction, which describes important mechanisms that "have yet to be elucidated"
  • Broadly - can usually be omitted without consequence.
  • Extremely - how can everything be extreme?
Another one that shows up all the time is respectively...

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