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Writing Scientific and Technical English. Письменный научный и технический английский язык

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This book has been specially designed for students taking courses in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering or technical subjects. It offers comprehensive coverage of the structure of Scientific English at textbook level and a wide variety of written exercises. The approach adopted is flexible. Certain units, such as those dealing with dimensions and properties, definitions, descriptions, tables and graphs, develop along functional lines, while in other areas, such as relative clauses and compounds nominals, the grammatical elements are stressed. The supplementary unit A Glimpse at English Phonetics gives students practice in pronunciation and transcription of English sounds, improves their speaking and listening skills.
  Preface
7
221
Барановская, Л. А. Writing Scientific and Technical English (Письменный научный и технический английский язык) : учебник / Л.А. Барановская. — Моcква : ИНФРА-М, 2024. — 232 с. — (Высшее образование). - ISBN 978-5-16-019342-7. - Текст : электронный. - URL: https://znanium.ru/catalog/product/2110852 (дата обращения: 20.07.2024). – Режим доступа: по подписке.
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ПИСЬМЕННЫЙ НАУЧНЫЙ  

И ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЙ 

АНГЛИЙСКИЙ ЯЗЫК

WRITING SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL 

ENGLISH

Л.А. БАРАНОВСКАЯ

Москва 

ИНФРА-М 

2025

УЧЕБНИК
УДК 811.111(075.8) 
ББК 81.432.1я73
 
Б24

Барановская Л.А.

Б24 
 
Письменный научный и технический английский язык (Writing 

Scientific and Technical English) : учебное пособие / Л.А. Барановская. — Моcква : ИНФРА-М, 2025. — 232 с. — (Высшее образование).

ISBN 978-5-16-019342-7 (print)
ISBN 978-5-16-112011-8 (online)

This book has been specially designed for students taking courses in Phy
sics, Chemistry, Engineering or technical subjects. It offers comprehensive 
coverage of the structure of Scientific English at textbook level and a wide 
variety of written exercises.

The approach adopted is flexible. Certain units, such as those dealing with 

dimensions and properties, definitions, descriptions, tables and graphs, develop 
along functional lines, while in other areas, such as relative clauses and compounds nominals, the grammatical elements are stressed. The supplementary 
unit A Glimpse at English Phonetics gives students practice in pronunciation 
and transcription of English sounds, improves their speaking and listening 
skills.

УДК 811.111(075.8)

ББК 81.432.1я73

Р е ц е н з е н т ы:

Янова М.Г., доктор педагогических наук, доцент, доцент Красно
ярского государственного педагогического университета имени 
В.П. Астафьева;

Стрекалева Т.В., кандидат филологических наук, доцент, доцент 

Сибирского государственного университета науки и технологий 
 имени академика М.Ф. Решетнева

ISBN 978-5-16-019342-7 (print)
ISBN 978-5-16-112011-8 (online)
© Барановская Л.А., 2025
Оглавление

Abbreviations ..........................................................................................................5

Author's notes .........................................................................................................6

Preface ......................................................................................................................7

Unit 1. INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC STATEMENTS .......................................8

 
Be and Have in Scientific Statements .................................................................................................. 8

 
Statements Requiring the Present Simple .......................................................................................11

Unit 2. REFERENCE UNIT ON ARTICLES ..............................................................19

 
The Indefinite Article ................................................................................................................................19

 
The Definite Article ....................................................................................................................................23

Unit 3. DIMENSIONS AND PROPERTIES .............................................................27

 
Dimensions ...................................................................................................................................................27

 
Properties ......................................................................................................................................................33

 
’Fronted’ Statements ................................................................................................................................35

 
Qualified Statements of Dimensions ..................................................................................................37

Unit 4. COMPARISONS AND MODALS ................................................................40

 
Simple Statements of Comparison .....................................................................................................40

 
Qualified Comparative Statements .....................................................................................................48

 
A Note on Modals in Scientific and Technical English ................................................................54

Unit 5. IMPERSONAL SCIENTIFIC STATEMENTS — THE PASSIVE...................58

 
Form of the Passive ...................................................................................................................................58

 
Use of the Passive ......................................................................................................................................61

 
By and the Agent .......................................................................................................................................67

 
Must, Should, and the Passive ..............................................................................................................71

 
Passives and Infinitives ............................................................................................................................73

 
Passive and Active .....................................................................................................................................75

Unit 6. MORE INFORMATIVE STATEMENTS — RELATIVE CLAUSES ..................78

 
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................78

 
Passive Relative Clauses ..........................................................................................................................79

 
Active Relative Clauses ............................................................................................................................84

 
Reduced Relative Clauses .......................................................................................................................86

Unit 7. MORE CONCISE STATEMENTS ..................................................................93

 
Compound Nouns .....................................................................................................................................93

 
Naming and the Possessive Genitive .................................................................................................98
Оглавление

 
Reductions of Passive Relative Clauses .......................................................................................... 101

 
Reductions of Active Relative Clauses ............................................................................................ 109

 
Reductions of Passive if and when Clauses .................................................................................. 111

Unit 8. DEFINITIONS ........................................................................................... 113

 
General Definitions and a Definition Formula ............................................................................. 113

 
Specific Definitions ................................................................................................................................. 125

 
Expanded Definitions ............................................................................................................................ 128

Unit 9. SCIENTIFIC STATEMENTS REFERRING TO THE PAST ........................... 132

 
Form of the Past Simple ....................................................................................................................... 132

 
Use of the Past Simple .......................................................................................................................... 134

 
Form of the Present Perfect ................................................................................................................ 139

 
Use of the Present Perfect in Descriptions .................................................................................... 141

 
Other Uses of the Present Perfect .................................................................................................... 145

 
It + passive verb + that... ...................................................................................................................... 150

Unit 10. EXPERIMENTAL AND EXPLANATORY DESCRIPTIONS ....................... 152

 
Experimental Descriptions................................................................................................................... 152

 
Descriptions of How Things Work .................................................................................................... 158

 
How Things are Produced ................................................................................................................... 164

 
How Things were Discovered or Invented .................................................................................... 169

Unit 11. FURTHER WORK ON DESCRIPTIONS ................................................... 171

 
General Descriptions.............................................................................................................................. 171

 
Descriptions of Objects and Substances........................................................................................ 175

 
Descriptions of Concepts ..................................................................................................................... 178

 
Descriptions of Figures, Shapes, and Plans ................................................................................... 181

 
Thought-connectives ............................................................................................................................. 184

Unit 12. TABLES AND GRAPHS .......................................................................... 189

 
Tables and Graphs Without a Time Reference ............................................................................ 189

 
Tables with a Single Time Reference ............................................................................................... 195

 
As Clauses .................................................................................................................................................. 195

 
Tables and Graphs with a Multiple Time Reference .................................................................. 197

Unit 13. SUPPLEMENTARY UNIT: A GLIMPSE AT ENGLISH 
PHONETICS ......................................................................................................... 205

 
Phonetics .................................................................................................................................................... 205

 
Phonetic Transcription .......................................................................................................................... 206

Selected bibliography ........................................................................................ 220

Appendices ......................................................................................................... 221
Abbreviations

approx. = approximately
1°С = 1° Сentigrade
C1H4 [‘siː’wʌn ‘eɪtʃ ‘fɔː] = methane
Ca [‘siː’eɪ] = calcium
cc. = cubic centimeter
cm-gm wt/sec. = centimeter-gram weight per second
d = diameter
ft-lb wt/sec. = foot-pound weight per second
H2SO4 [‘eɪtʃ ‘tu: sˏəʊ ‘fɔː] = sulfuric acid
i.e. = for example
kph. = kilometer per hour
kw = kilowatt
mph. = mile per hour
Pb = lead
psi. = pound per square inch
100 % =100 per cent
Author's notes

The exercises have been marked *, **, ***:
* exercises are simple and should give little difficulty if the 

explanation and examples have been studied carefully;

** exercises usually require students to produce a certain 

amount of their own work. However, quite a lot of help is given 
in terms of example sentences and in the organization of the 
written material;

*** exercises are rather more advanced and require students 

to produce passages of continuous scientific or technical English.
Preface

I have attempted to give practice in a series of structured 

contexts through which the master students of engineering 
and postgraduates can develop their abilities to express their 
technical and scientific knowledge in English. To begin with,  
this course should be useful for students who are required to 
use English in the course of their higher studies in engineering  
and science, but whose knowledge of English is limited to what 
they have learnt in a general English course. I hope that this 
course will do something to resolve the problem of teaching 
 engineering master students and postgraduates how to communicate technical and scientific information in the most widely 
used language of science.

The scope of this book has been restricted in a number of ways. 

Firstly, it is designed to improve written English. The models 
of sentence and paragraph organization, therefore, have been 
drawn up to help students, especially weaker students, to write 
more correctly and more within the style best suited to technical 
and scientific subjects.

Secondly, the types of exercises have been limited to those 

requiring the student to produce no more than fairly short, fairly 
straightforward descriptions, explanations and interpretations.

Thirdly, the student will not find any detailed discussion 

of grammatical items. The main grammatical difficulties are 
encountered in descriptive work.

Finally, the content of the examples and exercises has been 

limited to the fields of engineering, chemistry, physics.

Larisa Baranovskaya
Unit 1 

INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC  

STATEMENTS

BE AND HAVE IN SCIENTIFIC STATEMENTS

In scientific English the main verbs of sentences are usually 

in the Present Simple tense. It is not difficult to see why. Scientific textbooks contain information about the present state of scientific knowledge. They describe experiments showing how this 
knowledge can be obtained. They also show how this know ledge 
is used in the service of man. As a result, you will probably use the 
Present Simple in most of your scientific writing.

As the Present Tense is so common, it is important to make 

sure that the subjects and verbs agree.

*Exercise 1. Underline the subjects of these sentences and 

cross out the verbs which do not agree. (Underline all parts of the subjects, not just the nouns.) 
Here is an example:

This gas has/have a greater density than air.
This gas has/have a greater density than air.

1. 
Water boils/boil at 100° centigrade.

2. 
A thermometer measures/measure temperature.

3. 
Oxygen and hydrogen is/are gases.

4. 
Mathematics is/are an important subject for an engineer.

5. 
The light bulbs in this room produces/produce 100 watts 
each.

6. 
The liquid in those bottles is/are dangerous.

7. 
The results of the experiment proves/prove the law.

8. 
Everybody recognizes/recognize the importance of practical 
work.
Be and Have in Scientific Statements

9. 
Some substances, most of which are metal, is/are good conductors of electricity.

10. Most kinds of wood floats/float on water.
11. At least one kind of wood sinks/sink in water.
12. The average monthly rainfall figures for this area shows/show 

a small decline in annual total over the last thirty years.

The last two sentences are examples of an important fact about 

scientific writing: the main verb is often simple but the rest of the 
sentence complicated. In 12 the verbs consist of only one word. 
How many words do the subjects contain?

In spoken English the noun parts of a sentence are often simple 

and the verb parts complicated. The opposite is true of written 
scientific English. In fact, about a third of all scientific statements 
have is or are as the main verb. This causes difficulty for students 
who speak languages in which it is not always necessary to use 
a verb like be.

The difficulty arises because English is one of those languages 

in which all written sentences must contain at least one main verb.

*Exercise 2. Rewrite these 12 sentences putting in the main 

verb is or are. (This is the first writing exercise 
in the Unit. Therefore you should try to get it 
right. This also means:

 
• starting each sentence with a capital letter;

 
• finishing each sentence with a full stop;

 
• making sure you copy the words accurately).

1. 
These test-tubes.

2. 
Oxygen necessary for all growth.

3. 
Oxygen and hydrogen gases.

4. 
This solution a mixture of chlorine and sodium.

5. 
Angles measuring 90° right-angles.

6. 
The natural water in many parts of the world hard.
Unit 1. Introduction to Scientific Statements 

7. 
Gold and silver not radioactive elements.

8. 
One of the machines out of order.

9. 
Two of the three pieces of metal copper.

10. A beaker or a small glass necessary for this experiment.
11. The breaking strain of the rope 200 kilos.
12. 200 kilos the breaking strain of the rope. (Be careful!)

The other very common verb in scientific statements is the main 

verb have. Again this can cause a problem because of the grammatical differences between English and many other languages.

*Exercise 3. Put either is or has into the spaces.
1. 
Water …….. a boiling point of 100°C.

2. 
The boiling point of water …….. 100°С.

3. 
Stainless steel …….. a metal alloy.

4. 
Stainless steel …….. rust-proof.

5. 
This car …….. a maximum speed of 140 kilometers an hour.

6. 
The maximum speed of this car …….. 140 kilometers an hour.

7. 
The angle of reflection …….. 9°.

8. 
The simplest hydrocarbon …….. methane which …….. one 
carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.

9. 
In chemistry each element …….. its own symbol, which …….. 
usually a capital letter followed by a small letter.

10. If a plane figure …….. three straight sides, it …….. a triangle.

*Exercise 4. In the following sentences the main verbs have 

been left out. Rewrite the sentences putting 
in either is, are, has, or have.

1. 
A triangle a figure which has three straight sides.

2. 
The Dead Sea a high salt content.

3. 
There several types of pump.

4. 
Most kinds of stainless steel a small percentage of chrome.

5. 
Stainless steel the property of resisting corrosion.

6. 
Modern bridges often several kilometers long.
Statements Requiring the Present Simple

7. 
A modern bridge sometimes a length of several kilometers.

8. 
Isosceles triangles two equal angles.

9. 
The total population of the world about 7,500 million.

10. A hexagon a plane figure with six sides.

Read this description of a car.

The Moto 1100

The Moto 1100 is a small family car. It has a small engine which 

is in the front. The engine has a capacity of 1,100 cubic centimeters. 
It is a front wheel drive car. The gear lever is on the floor. There are 
seats for four or five people. It has four forward gears and a reverse. 
It has a maximum speed of about 130 km an hour. One advantage 
of this car is that it has a very low fuel consumption.

Notice how it is possible to write a simple technical description 

using only be and have. Notice also that the sentences are short.

**Exercise 5. Write a simple factual description of any ve
hicle you know about. Use mainly be and have. 
Keep most of your sentences short. (A vehicle 
is any car, bicycle, lorry, etc.)

STATEMENTS REQUIRING THE PRESENT SIMPLE

(a) The Present Simple is used for regular actions and regular 

processes:

He studies physics six hours a week.
(b) It is used for general statements:
Area equals length times height.
(c) It is used for factual statements and observations:
This type of vinegar contains about 3% acid.
(d) It can be used in descriptions of experiments:
The temperature rises until it reaches 100, but after that it 

remains constant.
Unit 1. Introduction to Scientific Statements 

In other words, always use the Present Simple unless there are 

good reasons for using another tense.

Form of the Present Simple:

it
he
she
produce
S






+

 

they
we
you
I

produce










An S has been used for two reasons. First it is a reminder, 

so that you remember to add it on after a subject in the third 
person singular.

An S has also been used because it is not always a simple 

matter of adding an s to the base form of the verb. Sometimes 
spelling changes are necessary:

Verbs ending in ss, sh, ch, x, and о add es to the base.
they pass 
 he passes

they push 
 he pushes

they watch 
 he watches

they mix 
 he mixes

they go 
 he goes

Verbs ending in Y after a consonant change у to i and add es.
they hurry 
he hurries

they magnify 
it magnifies

Verbs ending in Y after a vowel follow the main rule (add s).
they obey 
it obeys

they say 
he says

*Exercise 6. Rewrite these sentences putting the verbs 

in brackets into the correct form.

1. 
He (study) biology.

2. 
The current (pass) along the wire.

3. 
This ring (weigh) 125 grams.

4. 
Sound (travel) at a speed of 333 meters a second.

5. 
Rain (wash) salt from the soil.
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