Photosynthetica

‘this material, prepared by experienced editors, is certainly very useful’

 

***** A book with very valuable advice, Amazon

‘This book sets as its aim to help the reader writing English of a very high standard. It is especially developed for academic writing, and, according to the back cover, “specially designed for non-native speakers”. It focuses mainly on the formal side of academic writing, and is intended to be used in a wide range of fields and by both students and researchers. The book contains four main parts: firstly, Writing Help, a section of around 120 pages with information on issues that you might be uncertain about when writing, like spelling and punctuation rules, and confusing issues in grammar and vocabulary. The second part, Phrases (110 pages), gives you a wealth of suitable phrases to use in academic papers in English. The phrases are divided into sections that follow the structure of academic papers, therefore labelled, e.g., “The aim of your study and outlining the topic”, “What you disagree with”, and “Hypotheses and probability”. Thirdly, there is a Thesaurus (25 pages) of typically academic words and expressions, and a Glossary containing university and research terminology, as well as Greek and Latin elements used in academic discourse (altogether 40 pages).

This is certainly a book that can be seen as a resource that you can return to in many different situations. It is written in a concise and lucid way, with no long-winded discussions, and the advice is resolute and clear. The Writing Help part helps you avoid formal mistakes, and there is also very valuable advice on stylistic issues, e.g. how to avoid gender bias, and how to avoid colloquial language, not least the word “get” with its different particles.

The main idea of the Phrases section is to give you opportunities to vary your language, and this is perhaps the most useful section, especially for non-native writers. There are many researchers today that use English everyday as their working language, without having it as their first language, and also without having studied it at university level. Consequently, many might experience a perpetual insecurity concerning, e.g., grammar rules, and stylistic matters. The Phrases section with several thousands of words and phrases might be very helpful since it only catalogues items suitable for academic writing; thereby the non-native researcher does not risk using, e.g., language that is too colloquial.

Central for a book of this kind is of course that it is easy to navigate; i.e., that you quickly find what you are looking for. In the PhraseBook, the layout is sober and open, and there is also plenty of space for your own additions. The table of contents is clearly presented, but since it is absolutely crucial for the use of the book, I think it could be typographically even more exposed than now by using different colours or other means, since you return to it perpetually. Tables of contents could actually also start each chapter, and contain even the smallest subsections, which are not covered in the general table of contents now. There possibly cannot be too many indexes in a book like this.

Concerning non-native researchers, not even the hardest study of this book will make it possible to dispense with language correction by a native speaker completely, but the thorough use of it might lower the costs for correction substantially. And getting better self-confidence yourself when writing in English, as well as letting native language correctors concentrate on the really complicated matters, cannot be a bad thing.’

 

Daily Yomiuri, Japan

‘this book has been designed to help nonnative speakers write…in English’