Blue Writing Paper

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Coming from a half white/half Chinese mongrel background, I’ve never felt like a culturally imperialist oppressor before, but it suddenly seemed very unfair, speaking to an audience of highly intelligent, literate people, to be telling them that their form of written English did not conform to mine, and therefore needed correcting.

And parenthetically, it’s even more unreasonable when journals see fit to impose their dubious “house style”: for example, what right do they have to tell authors they can’t use the word “done” when describing an experiment? Probably, as unless we want to relegate English to a minority language, we need to have a form that is widely understood.

Fortunately, I have a good friend who has done this sort of thing very well indeed for years.

Vivian Siegel is not only a science communications guru but also very generous, and she kindly armed me with materials and advice well beyond the call of friendship (which is all a far too convoluted way of saying many thanks, Vivian! What does one put in a course about science writing?

But from now on, I resolve to be more understanding when I see the first word after a colon capitalised (acceptable in the US; a major punctuation crime in the UK), when “hopefully” is used as an adjective rather than an adverb, and for all but the most egregious examples of the verbalisation of nouns (and by the way, -ize and –ise are both perfectly OK as far as I’m concerned).

Just so you know, I’ll fight to the last for the retention of “data” as a plural noun, and nothing, repeat nothing, will tear me from the apostrophe.

Solid lines have been separated to assist the student to locate the writing area.

Because the paper is simplified visually, letters can be formed and spaced correctly.

Blue has become a standard, and blue ballpoints are probably the easiest and cheapest pens to buy, which is why it’s the “standard” in schools in North America.

That said, I doubt that anyone will turn away work done in a black pen.


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