Sentene structure of medical ENglish (2)

2. Avoid noun clusters

Noun clusters like “trauma patient” “ulcerative colitis serum sample” “respiratory tract corrosive burns” are usually hard to understand, since we can hardly figure out which is the key word.

The method which can help us avoid noun clusters is untangling noun clusters and we can use preposition to help.

Noun can be used to describe noun directly, but if the describing noun has its own adjective form, we should use the adjective form. We should be more careful when using three or more noun clusters, use preposition or other linking words to connect them.

3. Writing short sentences

Writing short sentences means do not string ideas together and talk about one thing at a time. Don’t try to tell the readers all the things in a long sentence, that would make readers confused.

For example, long sentence like this one: In one patient who had numerous vegetations, the echocardiogram correctly predicted a large vegetation (15mm) attached to the right coronary cusp but failed to detect 4-5mm lesion found at surgery on the retaining two cusps, whereas in another patient, the echocardiogram correctly predicted lesions on all three cusps.

There is no doubt that readers need long time to figure out its main points. Some readers even get lost and don’t know what this sentence is talking about.

Let us try to revise the long sentence into two.

Revision 1: In one patient who had numerous vegetations, the echocardiogram correctly predicted a large vegetation (15mm) attached to the right coronary cusp but failed to detect 4-5mm lesion found at surgery on the retaining two cusps. However, in another patient, the echocardiogram correctly predicted lesions on all three cusps.

Revision 2: In one patient who had numerous vegetations, the echocardiogram correctly predicted a large vegetation(15mm) attached to the right coronary cusp. It failed to detect 4-5mm lesion found at surgery on the retaining two cusps. However, in another patient, the echocardiogram correctly predicted lesions on all three cusps.

4. Using clear pronoun

We can use clear pronoun with the following three methods :

First, repeat the antecedent, like “this+ procedure/method/…” or “these + changes/differences/…”. Second, change sentence structure. Last but not the least, pronoun+ category words

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