Fighting for breath – Style analysis

The article is published in a radio listing/newspaper, so we cannot expect the same standards for style as in scientific work, which we have discussed in the seminar. The article misses references and shows an overall more casual style. We would see this as flaws in scientific writing but can accept it in this type of literature.

The casual style is expressed in the use of contractions (“isn’t”, “wasn’t, …) and exclamation marks (“near my home!”, “on the back of the truck!”). Furthermore, some vague analogies are used, which might be unfamiliar to non-native speakers (“thick like pea soup”, “political minefield”, “uphill struggle”), to achieve a more colorful description. Naturally the title follows this casual style as well, as it is more catchy than informative. Note that these points are acceptable when writing popular science but should be avoided in real scientific work.

Other guidelines however, hold for both kinds of literature. So in the following I will point out where the article adheres or violates these more general applicable guidelines. The article has a clear read thread which is easy to follow. This is achieved by using simple sentence structure and simple language. Furthermore, the balance of sentence and paragraph length is chosen well, so it is neither monotone nor disruptive to read. But the article also comprises some minor flaws. Sometimes it gives unnecessary information like the numbers of cars, vans and trucks in traffic which merely illustrate the huge amount of vehicles producing exahust gasses. Moreover, the article makes extensive use of parenthesis to give extra information which sometimes breaks the reading flow. Lastly, many words are printed in italics just for emphasis without the need for it.

To conclude, the article shows an overall good style for popular science because it provides a clear read thread and uses simple sentence structure and language but it has minor flaws which can break the reading flow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *