John Dixon, independent medical writer and trainer in scientific writing skills, provides a useful tip for medical writers who work in MedComms.

John’s Linkedin page is at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndixonlmm/

John’s web page is at https://librasciencecomms.co.uk

Note these “bites” are recorded online using the zoom.us platform and hence quality may be affected by variability in internet connectivity and quality of webcams. The tips, however, are always first class!

Recorded 29 October 2018. Produced by NetworkPharma.tv

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Transcript

Hi, I’m John Dixon, a trainer in scientific writing, and here’s a bite that I hope may help you with your writing.

Keep subject and verb together and put lists at the end of the sentence [NEXT SLIDE]

Here are two common errors that make understanding a sentence more difficult … separating a subject from its verb … and putting lists at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. Let’s take an example:

All steps in management, including the criteria for selecting patients, surgical approach, intraoperative technique, and postoperative nursing care, affect morbidity rates.

By the time you get to the end of the sentence, you may have forgotten exactly what it was you started with that affected morbidity rates. [NEXT SLIDE]

The list separates the subject, ‘all steps in management’, from its verb ‘affect’.

So, let’s rewrite this by keeping the subject close to its verb and putting the list at the end of the sentence: [NEXT SLIDE]

All steps in management affect morbidity rates, including the criteria for selecting patients, surgical approach, intraoperative technique, and postoperative nursing care.

Your sentence is clearer, your list at the end of the sentence, and your list can then be as long and as complicated as you wish!

I hope that’s helpful. For more bites to help your writing, visit networkpharma.tv.

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[For the avoidance of doubt: this video is intended to be freely accessible to all. Please feel free to share and use however you like. Cheers Peter Llewellyn, Director NetworkPharma Ltd and Founder of the MedComms Networking Community activity at http://www.medcommsnetworking.com]