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Author's Guide: Writing Style
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Fo g idance on he mechanic of i en comm nica ion, con l he c en edi ion of The Chicago Manual of Style (Uni e i of Chicago P e Fo pelling and o d age, ASCE follo he c en edi ion of MerriamWebster s Collegiate Dictionary and Webster s International Dictionary, Unabridged. Fo le of g amma and age, efe o Words into Type (P en ice-Hall) o New York Public Library Writer s Guide to Style and Usage (Ha pe Collin ). Fo g idance on enginee ing e m , efe o McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, Wiley Dictionary of Civil Engineering and Construction, o Means Illustrated Construction Dictiona .


Fo a i ance in he p e en a ion of ma hema ic , efe o Mathematics into Type (Ame ican Ma hema ical Socie ). Fo a i ance i h he e of SI (me ic) ni , efe o IEEE/ASTM SI-10, Standard for Use of the International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System ( hi anda d eplace he fo me ASTM E-380 and ANSI/IEEE S d 268-1992) o o Metric Units in Engineering: Going SI (ASCE P e ).

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avoid language that arbitrarily assigns roles or characteristics or excludes people on the basis of gender. humanity. or religious background. Avoid using man or men to refer to groups containing both sexes. workforce. Tr : As a manager. Or: As a manager. If you are working with coauthors. sexual orientation. Instead of: It should be noted that the flow was interrupted by a surge… Use: A surge interrupted the flow… Instead of: It is common that the steel rebars are weakened by oxidation… Use: Oxidation commonly weakens steel rebars… Instead of: There are many reasons that concrete may fail… Use: Concrete may fail for many reasons… Instead of: There are three kinds of bolt that can be used in these circumstances… Use: Three kinds of bolt can be used in these circumstances. ethnic. Substitute words and phrases such as humankind. Other types of indirect statements may begin with to be statements such as there are or it was . they should consider… Or: When beginning to design an overpass. my. use we to refer to your collective actions or opinions. our) should be sparing in technical material. Inclusive Language Writing without bias may feel stiff or unnatural at first. staff. asce. Use of I and We While the use of first-person pronouns (I. employees. imperative verb forms. people. Therefore. racial. If you are the sole author. do not assume that staff will alert you to potential problems. concise. and staff hours. the use of I and we is preferable to awkward constructions such as the authors or this researcher. avoid the use of we in other contexts. he should consider… Tr : When engineers begin to design overpasses. Direct versus Indirect Statements Direct statements are clear. you should not assume that your staff will alert you to potential problems. but usually results in greater precision and consideration for your readers. Avoid the use of masculine pronouns to refer to both sexes. physical or mental capabilities. Instead of: When an engineer begins to design an overpass. or other sorts of stereotypes.4/4/13 Author's Guide: Writing Style Use: The forensic investigation identified six possible causes of failure. Use plural pronouns. If you use we to refer to yourself and your coauthors. or secondperson pronouns. workers. a locution that carries no /Author-s-Guide--Writing-Style/ 2/4 . use I to indicate your actions or opinions. such as referring to other people or humankind in general. Indirect statements are those that begin with phrases such as it should be noted that… or it is common that…. Use last names to refer to the actions or opinions of individual coauthors. an engineer should consider… Instead of: A manager should not assume that his staff will alert him to potential problems. and do not wear on your reader. we.

9-3 …. translation. Fig. 9-1B…. One exception is recognized for ASCE Press titles. as the primary system of weights. 9-1. as adjectives. and boxes containing lists or case studies are included to support or augment what appears in the text. For example: "The results of the stress tests (Fig. In other words.. Several very common abbreviations (U. When your manuscript is typeset. Language Cleanup Services For a list of companies offering language editing. dimensions.. Fig. For journal articles and conference proceedings volumes. Spell out Table and abbreviate Fig. and /Author-s-Guide--Writing-Style/ 3/4 . 1(a). examples.. The call-outs must be worded consistently throughout your manuscript. the chapter number is left out: Fig. For books. lb (customary) and m. it is acceptable to alternate metric and customary units in cases. These include: ft. such as NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization or AASHTO for "American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The first reference to a figure. and that this information is provided only as a courtesy to our potential authors. figures. visit the Web sites of the U. All ASCE publications use SI units in text. Inc. If a figure or table has parts. and ASCE for American Society of Civil Engineers.S. Fig.K. Fig. Fig. a capital or lowercase letter is used to identify the parts: Fig. and tables. SI versus Customary Units ASCE publications use Système Internationale (SI) units.S.S." Abbreviations and acronyms in text must be spelled out the first time that they appear in each chapter or paper. Table 3 must be called out in text before Table 4. the shortened form should be used throughout the chapter. Tables. Case studies. Thereafter. 9-1A. or problems. 1. for January . Figures. Metric Association (USMA). Basic units of measure do not need to be spelled out on first usage. Fig. if the author chooses. Fig. or the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or consult the book. for United States. Me ic Uni in Enginee ing: Going SI. For more information about SI units. Note that these services are not offered or endorsed by ASCE. with a reference to the element and its number. Table 7-2 …. the most widely and officially recognized system of metric units. Box 10-1. do not use subheading numbers for figures and tables. mm. and cleanup services for manuscripts. kg (SI). 2. DNA and PVC for nouns) do not need to be spelled out on first usage. tables. An acronym is formed when the abbreviation forms a pronounceable word. table. Table 7-1. examples. Therefore.4/4/13 Author's Guide: Writing Style Acronyms and Abbreviations An abbreviation is a shortening form of a word or phrase. such as Jan. 1(b)… In books. in. This practice is awkward and confuses readers. the element will be placed on the page on which it is called out—or as soon as possible thereafter. each element should be numbered consecutively with the chapter number and an Arabic numeral: Fig. U. or box is the call-out. and problem sets can become difficult to use when both systems of units are presented. Tables and figures must be numbered in the order in which they are discussed in text so that call-outs also appear in numerical order. Customary (also known as English or imperial) units may be included in parentheses. which do not have chapter numbers. 9-2. asce. Every element must be discussed in text. with the shortened form appearing immediately in parentheses. and other physical measures. 3. 1) clearly demonstrate…" and "Table 6-2 presents a range of planning options along with…".. and Other Supporting Materials Elements such as figures. please visit the Language Cleanup Services list. Box 10-2 …. /Author-s-Guide--Writing-Style/ 4/4 .4/4/13 Author's Guide: Writing Style Copyright Contact Us 1996 . American Society of Civil Engineers Copyright FAQs Privacy Questions Terms & Conditions asce.