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Breathing Life Into Medical Writing

Arch Surg. 1983;118(7):882-883. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1983.01390070090023.
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In bygone days when there was not much to read or new to learn, physicians could afford the luxury of bad writing. But now we are flooded with compulsory reading and resent the impudence of an author who wastes our time by writing badly. This book is designed to help physicians write well. It is the medical counterpart of Strunk and White's Elements of Style, which has been my handout to all colleagues who aspire to publish.

As a medical editor, Peebles-Sheen obviously has harbored pet peeves against sloppy authors for years and, in this crisp little book, vents her spleen so that future authors may avoid common errors. It is all there: organization, revisions, rewriting, passive v active voice, vague words, and gobbledygook. When the text gets a little dry, like cold cereal, she sweetens it with samples and problems. Unlike previous texts on medical writing, such as those


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