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Craft of Scientific Writing

Michael Alley
I already mentioned the Penn State University website which provides  grammatical exercises. Many of these advise the reader to look for answers in particular chapters of Michael's 1995 book. You will find more information on the book on the amazon webpage, including some eloquent reviews of the book.

When I was asked to conduct scientific writing seminars, at the turn of the last century - it's not that long ago :-) , this was the first book I selected to prepare the course. Being French (we don't like rules, but we love principles), and having discovered that participants sent to the class felt as if they had been sent to the gulag, I decided to move away from the dryness of grammar. Michael's book was a refreshing departure from grammar and sentence structure books. Like the book of Professor Feibelman, the pages in this book are small and the large text readable. The grammatical part is pushed back to the appendix "avoiding the pitfalls of grammar and punctuation". The examples are not too technical and the author frequently mentions the readers, thereby balancing reader and writer points of views. The book gave me the idea to change the focus of attention from the writer to the reader. All participants are expert readers.They can relate better to the solutions proposed to improve their writing after they understand what writer-created problems cause inefficient reading. Later on, the book by George Gopen allowed me to refine my understanding of the reader and I was able to improve on Michael Alley's chapter 9  ("Language: Being Fluid).
The book focuses on structure (chapters 2 and 3), language (chapters 3 to 9), and illustrations (chapter 10 and 11). These chapters help you identify the difference between good and bad writing. The remaining chapters are only brief introductory chapters on presentations, writing genres, and the writing process.