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J Athl Train. 1996 Jul-Sep; 31(3): 209–213.
PMCID: PMC1318505

Optimizing Scholarly Communication: 30 Tips for Writing Clearly

Kenneth L. Knight, PhD, ATC
Kenneth L. Knight is Professor of Physical Education at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT and Retiring Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Athletic Training.



To share with potential authors tips for communicating their ideas more clearly in a scholarly manuscript.


Communicating scientific, technical, or medical information so that readers can understand its meaning requires logical organization and proper use of language. These 30 tips review basic English grammar and suggest ways authors can clearly and concisely present their material. We admonish authors to avoid common errors such as writing in the passive voice, overusing abbreviations, and emphasizing unimportant facts.


Attention to matters of writing style enhances clear communication, which must be the prime objective of scientific writing.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (882K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • DeBakey L. Every careless word that men utter. I. The English language. Anesth Analg. 1970 Jul-Aug;49(4):567–574. [PubMed]
  • DeBakey L. Releasing literary inhibitions in scientific reporting. Can Med Assoc J. 1968 Aug 24;99(8):360–367. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Knight KL, Ingersoll CD. Structure of a scholarly manuscript: 66 tips for what goes where. J Athl Train. 1996 Jul;31(3):201–206. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association