Tips for More Effective Technical Writing

Tip #19 Comparisons

Faulty comparisons are one of the most common problems in scientific writing, usually because the comparison is ambiguous or incomplete. Always be sure that the reader can clearly and unequivocally understand what things are being compared. Of course, the things being compared must, in principle, be of equal nature.

1. ORIGINAL
I changed my title from my last presentation.
1. REVISED
I changed my title from that of my last presentation.
I am using a different presentation from my (the) last one.

2. ORIGINAL
Sapporo is farther north from Tokyo than Kashiwa-no-ha.
2. REVISED
Sapporo is farther north from Tokyo than Sapporo is from Kashiwa-no-ha.
Sapporo is farther north from Tokyo than it is from Kashiwa-no-ha.

3. ORIGINAL
Goggles with rubber bands are safer than temples or shanks.
3. REVISED
Goggles with rubber bands are safer than goggles with temples or shanks.
Goggles with rubber bands are safer than those with temple or shanks.
temple: a sidepiece of a frame for eyeglasses that extends along the temple part of the forehead and over the ear.

4. ORIGINAL
The efficiency was somewhat lower than the previous studies on mitochondria using photoluminescence.
4. REVISED
The efficiency (measured in this experiment) was somewhat lower than the efficiency of previous studies on mitochondria using photoluminescence.
The efficiency was somewhat lower than that of previous studies on mitochondria using photoluminescence.

5. ORIGINAL
Our results are consistent with Ruhl 2012.
5. REVISED
Our results are consistent with the results of Ruhl 2012.
Our results are consistent with those of Ruhl 2012.

6. ORIGINAL
Our first study examined 4 pilot whales in captivity compared to our second study.
6. REVISED
Our first study examined 4 pilot whales in captivity compared to 10 pilot whales in natural environment in our second study.

7. ORIGINAL
This may indicate that the translocation efficiency of X per single turnover of Y was enhanced in the mutant compared to the wild type.
7. REVISED
This may indicate that the translocation efficiency of X per single turnover of Y was enhanced in the mutant compared to the translocation efficiency of X per single turnover of Y in the wild type.
This may indicate that the translocation efficiency of X per single turnover of Y was enhanced in the mutant compared to the translocation efficiency in the wild type.
This may indicate that the translocation efficiency of X per single turnover of Y was enhanced in the mutant compared to that of the wild type.

8. ORIGINAL
Healthy turtles in captivity were used as controls in the present study of the swimming behavior of turtle T001. Turtles under natural conditions were monitored by using animal-borne recorders to examine whether 1) the smaller area of forelimbs lower the swimming ability of T001 without the artificial fins compared to the healthy turtles, and 2) the swimming ability of T001 with the artificial fin compared to the healthy turtles.
8. REVISED
Healthy turtles in captivity were used as controls in the present study of the swimming behavior of turtle T001. Turtles under natural conditions were monitored by using animal-borne recorders to examine whether 1) the smaller area of forelimbs lower the swimming ability of T001 without the artificial fins compared to the swimming ability of the healthy turtles, and 2) the swimming ability of T001 with the artificial fin compared to the swimming ability of the healthy turtles.

9. REVISED
Healthy turtles in captivity were used as controls in the present study of the swimming behavior of turtle T001. Turtles under natural conditions were monitored by using animal-borne recorders to examine whether 1) the smaller area of forelimbs lower the swimming ability of T001 without the artificial fins compared to that of the healthy turtles, and 2) the swimming ability of T001 with the artificial fin compared to that of the healthy turtles.

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