What are linguistic devices?

Linguistic devices that attract attention to words, sounds, or other embellishments instead of to ideas are inappropriate in scientific writing.

Avoid heavy alliteration, rhyming, poetic expression, and clichés.

Use metaphors sparingly; although they can help simplify complicated ideas, metaphors can be distracting.

Avoid mixed metaphors (e.g., a theory representing one bunch of a growing body of evidence) and words with surplus or unintended meaning (e.g., cop for police officer), which may distract if not actually mislead the reader.

Use figurative expressions with restraint and colorful expressions with care; these expressions can sound strained or forced.

(adapted from the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, © 2010)


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