A short talk about hints and tools for academic writing that I have discovered during my PhD years.
Hints and Tools
Turn comments like: I advise the authors to find a native English speaker to
proofread the manuscript.
To something like: The paper is well written and well structured.
We aim to
Do not trust me, I’m not a native English speaker
(but, I have got a couple green messages ;))
There are no magical solutions for writing well, but many tools
Do not depend on others’ comments about your text
Do not wait for a deadline to approach to start writing!
Most papers are templates (introduction, related work, method, experiments,
Follow the author’s guidelines of the journal/conference
Books about writing
“writing productively does not require
innate skills or special traits but specific
tactics and actions”
“straightforward tips to help you sort
through your thoughts and make your
“Learning to use these patterns well will aid you
in writing papers using the language and style
accepted by your research community”
A lot about writing starts with
the act of reading others’ work
(This is what works for me)
5. Section headings, figures, captions
How to “skim” a paper
Mindful reading (1/2)
Look up for the meaning of those fancy words!
- Plethora (big quantity)
- Forego (quit to)
- Tailored (adapted to)
- Flawlessly (without problems)
- Hitherto (so far)
The idea: Learning-by-example!
Identify patterns in other people’s writing
(warning focus on good venues and researchers in your area)
- This paper addresses the problem
- Last but not least, [something]
- It is worth pointing out, however, that [something]
- This work builds on Xs work by [something]
- Although there is a growing body of literature characterizing X such as Y
and Z, these works focus on W, and are not V.
- To a large degree, this X subsumes the prevailing X of Y.
- As can be seen from Eqn. X
Mindful reading (2/2)
(Just a few examples from Writing Scientific Papers in English Successfully)
LOOK + preposition = look at, look for
N + N = There is little research data related to ...
N and N = That is the kind of research and development that is ...
Det + results suggest that = These results suggest that future …
Corpus Linguistics (1/2)
Corpus of Contemporary American English:
British National Corpus (BYU-BNC):
Corpus Linguistics (2/2)
Search over millions of papers!
“In this paper, we”:
A secret worth to share :)
Patterns extraction from an English corpus
Search for a word(s)
Write your killing abstract!
1. Introduction to the field
2. More detailed background
3. General problem
4. Main results
5. Positioning of the main results
6. Put your results into a more
7. Provide a broader perspective
● Read and pay attention to those fancy words
● Dissect the papers as you read them. Be a reviewer!
● Identify and reuse textual patterns
● Identify and reuse the templates
Any comments let me know: [email protected]