Films and Slides for Lesson 3
An ambiguity is a word, phrase, or sentence that can be interpreted in more than one way. Whereas poets win awards for ambiguity, engineers and scientists are sued for ambiguities. This lesson teaches you to be sensitive to four common sources of ambiguity in scientific writing: word choice, word order, pronouns (particularly it and this), and missing punctuation.
Overall perspective on avoiding ambiguity.
Avoiding ambiguity, particularly with word choice and word order.
Avoiding ambiguity, particularly with pronouns and punctuation.
Exercises for Lesson 3
In the following excerpts, circle the words that cause ambiguities. For each excerpt, identify the source of ambiguity: (1) improper word order, (2) missing punctuation, or (3) unclear pronoun reference. Where possible, correct the error.
References for Lesson 3