ClinicalPosters Writing Style Guide

ESTIMATE 4-MINUTE READ

For Writers, Reviewers, and Editors

ClinicalPosters places pending articles in a private preview section. This allows multiple writers to offer comments for improvement. Here are a dozen tips that help elevate the quality of article submissions. This, in turn, encourages visitors to return and read more blog content.

  1. Research article. Some authors are able to write about topics without any research. This website encourages readers to login for access to references. So, where possible, list them at the bottom of your article. Include the corresponding number within square brackets after the punctuation.
  2. Link to local articles. Your research should include searching this website for parallel articles. Some points are worth repeating. But if there is already another comprehensive article, you can refer to it in your text.
  3. Anatomy posters. Each article relates to one or more anatomy poster categories on this website. When referencing human anatomy or ailments, use a bold link to the product page. Link references to other blog articles on this site without bold letters.
  4. Vary sentence structure. This is an example of a repetitive paragraph. This is a sentence that begins in the same manner as the prior. This is the end of thought. Reading is more interesting when you vary the structure of sentences and phrasing.
  5. Correct spelling. You can paste text into Microsoft Word and look for the squiggly underlined words. This may not alert you to correctly spelled wrong words. You might type coma instead of comma or cuff instead of cough.
  6. Formatting numbers. It is grammatically correct to spell out numbers under 10. But there are some exceptions for context and math equations. If a number falls in the range of one to ten and is not a whole number, write it as a numeral. When two numbers come next to each other in a sentence, spell out one of these numbers to avoid confusion. If a sentence combines small and large numbers, spell out all the numbers or write them as numerals.
  7. Sentence length. Avoid run-on sentences. Cognitive overload occurs when reading something several times to comprehend it. Readers will leave the page if they don’t understand the article. Dial back those commas, semi-colons, and long dashes. A simple period will often suffice.
  8. Consistent punctuation. Consider your article as a chapter in a much larger book. Thus punctuation should be consistent throughout the blog. A long dash (instead of two hyphens) should have a space on either side. The website will close the gap for you. Use a short dash (not a hyphen) when specifying a range of numbers like 2–4. This site uses curly quotes instead of inch marks. Unless the word “percent” begins a sentence, use the % symbol. Single space between sentences. Follow standard rules for use of italics.
  9. Article and paragraph length. Some grammar rules have changed in the internet era. Short paragraphs are appealing on the narrow width of a smartphone. They may look anemic on a wide screen desktop computer. Two to four paragraphs represents a comfortable length for most digital devices.
    Aim for article length between 700 and 2000 words. The only reason to read long health articles is that it addresses a problem a visitor is researching. Most readers prefer short articles.
  10. Hemingway reportMinimize passive voice. The English language permits the combining of present and future events in the same sentence, using the passive voice. Bad example: This weakens the force­fulness and will be discouraged by gram­mar checkers. Good example: Grammar checkers dis­courage this since it weakens the forcefulness.
  11. Check grammar. Grammar is subjective so apps that check grammar offer different suggestions. Hemmingway Editor high­lights a half dozen common gramma­tical faux pas. It does not correct spelling or suggest how to rephrase complex sentences.
  12. Listen to your article. While following along, listen to a text-to-speech reading of your article if available. Look for missing words or repetitive phrasing.

ClinicalPosters has an in-house art department and sometimes includes illustrations. Various stock photo websites offer free images. Others require attribution. Still others charge a licensing fee. ClinicalPosters subscribes to Adobe Stock and uses other free services. To prevent violating possible licensing restrictions, guest authors should not submit images.

An article is more than a compilation of grammatically correct words. It should engage, inspire, and inform. Make this your aim, as you write, review, and edit articles for this website. Though the internet is global, most visitors read American English. Understand the differences from British English in spelling, phrasing, and word use. Identify your audience. Then speak to the reader as a person.

References
  1. The Rules for Writing Numbers in English. scribendi.com
  2. When to Use Italics. natureofwriting.com
  3. Avoid Using the Passive Voice—Here’s Why. thewritelife.com
  4. Where To Find Stock Photos. ClinicalPosters.com
  5. Write Health Articles That Inspire. ClinicalPosters.com
Kevin Williams is a Shopify Partner that has been program­ming data­base systems since 1990 and writing since 2010, before main­tain­ing an e-commerce site in Perl. Along with him, explore the Shopify platform and Liquid programming with marketing and writing tips.

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