View Full Version : Medical manuscript copy editing help
03-18-2011, 01:39 PM
I've been asked to proofread a medical manuscript. I'm an experienced copy editor, but this is a new field for me. I'm noticing that this author uses the word "whereas" to begin sentences that in ordinary text would be subordinate to a statement in the previous sentence; e.g.
"Previously published cases show excellent results. Whereas, the models in our study show both pre- and post-operative variables."
I just made that up; my examples are much longer, but that's the form. Am I right in correcting this, or is this some specific accepted form for a medical manuscript that I should leave alone?
It just don't seem right, somehow.
03-18-2011, 05:15 PM
Usually medical journals will have a style guide for you to follow, though usually it's about references and tables. Try reading through a few published articles from the journal(s) that the author intends to submit to - this will give you an idea about the style, syntax, and tone the publisher/editor is going for.
I worked for a medical journal for several years, I don't recall seeing this type of sentence construction.
It is just lousy English. You should correct it. Just because someone is a doctor or a scientist, it does not follow that they can write well (or even grammatically). That is why they need copy editors, I guess.
I am not well read in most areas of medicine, but I have read quite a few neuroscience and neurology papers. I have never seen this sort of error in them.
03-19-2011, 04:06 AM
I agree with the previous comments - having read many, many articles in medical and related fields (and written a small number). Just like any specialty subject, you can expect to see weird terms in a medical paper but the basic rules of grammar still apply. I guess that is why they gave it to you.
The style guides can be very comprehensive (for example the AMA guide) but in my experience still follow basic grammar rules: they are more concerned with whether or not there should be a space between numbers and units, repetition of percentage signs etc that give the article/journal a specific look or feel.
03-19-2011, 08:36 AM
I did not have any examples to follow, and I was not given any information about where this manuscript was going to be submitted. I did correct it and put proper punctuation. This author needs to have his comma key taken away and a little sticky put on his keyboard showing him where his hyphen is. Thanks all. I feel better (and vindicated).
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