Word usage in Scientific Writing

Largely based on an original article by Leslie Carraway (Associate Editor, Mammalian Species; 1999)

See (Carraway 2006) also.

Introduction to the Original Article

“Listed herein are words, terms and expressions commonly misused or in ways that sometimes produce ambiguous statements; included are explanations of usage and construction advocated by editors of many scientific journals.

The objective of scientific writing should be to report research findings and to summarise and synthesize the findings of others with clarity and precision.  Thus colloquialisms, jargon, contrived acronyms and “faddish” terminology and expressions should be avoided.  Editors recognise that authors are ultimately responsible for all aspects of their publications including grammar, word usage and clarity of precision and construction.  Therefore this list is intended as a guide, not dogma”


I love this article, it is like a concise, science-focused version of the original Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (Fowler 1964; Butterfield 2015).  I have retained the style and content of the original article but have lightly edited and  modified it to include things I have often encountered in undergraduate reports at the University of Hull.  I have also added links to grammatical terms that some science undergrads may find confusing – I didn’t know what a “dangling participle” was before reading this!

In my long experience as a teaching academic I have noticed a deterioration in some understanding of the fundamentals of the English language by British science students.  I feel sure that this must to some degree be caused by the fact that we ask students to start specialising at the age of 16.  Under the UK A-level system all but the very brightest, or most privileged, of kids can only choose 3 subjects.  Most science students do not therefore have the opportunity to study English at A-level.  As a result, I spend much of my effort with 1st year students correcting grammar and spelling.  I do not begrudge this – science depends upon the ability of scientists to be excellent communicators in an international arena where English may not be the 1st language of your reader.  If by helping my students with some fundamental aspects of written communication I make them better scientists, then “job done.”  Any errors herein are mine.

Another useful online resource I have been advised of is the Manchester Academic Phrasebook

A recent paper by Scott Hotaling, https://doi.org/10.1002/lol2.10165 

Hotaling S (2020) Simple rules for concise scientific writing. Limnol Oceanogr 78:550. (open access)

As this is a live document, it will change with advice given from others and as I encounter new issues in scientific writing.  I will be very happy to receive contradictions, corrections, suggestions and additions.

Dr Magnus Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Environmental Science and Occasional Pedant, Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Hull (m.johnson@hull.ac.uk; @nephropseu)

ABOVE(… the above method; …as mentioned above).  A term often used in reference to something preceding, but not necessarily “above”; a loose reference, convenient for writers but not for readers.  Also, remember, if something was mentioned previously, to do so again is redundant.
ACCURATE(…an accurate estimate…). “Accurate” implies complete freedom from error or absolute exactitude. An “estimate” is an approximation.  Try “…a reliable estimate.”
AFFECT;EFFECTAffect is a verb that means to influence.  Effect as a verb means to bring about; as a noun it means result.
ALIQUOTMeans contained an exact number of times in another. Commonly misused to mean “subsample”
ALL OF; BOTH OFJust “all” or “both” will suffice in most instances
ALSO SEE(Also see Johnson et al, 2001). Usually unnecessary as author-date reference is adequate; allow the reader to judge whether perusing the article is warranted
ALTERNATE;ALTERNATIVEAlternate implies first one then the other; alternative implies  a choice among two or more incompatible objects, situations, or courses of action.
AMONGUse when comparing more than two items.
AND HENCE; AND THEREFORE; AND THUS(“The food supply was reduced and thus, the population declined”) Both a conjunction and conjunctive adverb are unnecessary.  Use on or the other.
AND/OR/&Use one or the other, not both.  Use “&” where it is necessary to save space or if it is part of a name,
APOSTROPHESThe cat’s toy (the toy belonging to the cat). The cats’ toy (the toy belonging to the cats).  Best not to use contractions in scientific writing (use they are, rather than they’re; cannot rather than can’t etc)
APPARENTLY;APPARENTMeans obviously, clearly, plainly, evidently, seemingly, ostensibly or observably.  You may know which meaning you intend but your reader may not.  Consider using a specific one of the above to improve clarity.
APPEAR;APPEARSUse “seem(s)”. (He always appears on the scene but never seems to know what to do)
ASA conjunction used in reference to a comparison; always associated with a verb, e.g. “Pocket mice carry seeds in their cheek pouches as [NOT like] do kangaroo rats”.  Do not use “as” in place of the words “that” or “whether”.  Compare with “like”.
ASSUMEAn active verb often used with an inanimate subject to produce a ludicrous statement. (“The hypothesis assumes that”, or “the model assumes” . . ).  Models or hypotheses cannot assume anything!  However, to use a model or to test a hypothesis certain assumptions are often required; the person who uses the model or tests the hypothesis must make the assumptions.
AS WELL ASUse “and”; it means the same thing.
AT THE PRESENT TIME; AT THIS POINT IN TIMEUse “currently” or “now”; they mean the same thing
AVERAGEMeaningless unless presented with the associated standard deviation.
BEEN; BEINGSomeone has “been” (I have been gardening); someone is “being” (I am being sarcastic)
BELOWSee comments about “above”.  Directions do not change ambiguity.
BETWEENUse when comparing only two items.  For more than two, use “among”
BUT SEEOften used with a literature citation presumably to indicate a contradiction. [Verts, (1968) reported that striped skunks in northern illinois commonly were infected with rabies (“but see” Jones, 1972).]  This leaves the reader to wonder about  the nature of Jones’ contributions; did s/he report that skunks were never infected with rabies, rarely infected or always infected?  For clarity, present the nature of the contradiction rather than forcing the reader to search the literature (they may not have the same access as you).
BY MEANS OFJust “by” will suffice in most instances.
CARRIED OUT(… studies were “carried out” at …) This is a colloquial usage.  Try “conducted”, “performed” or “was studied”.
CASECan be ambiguous, misleading or ludicrous because of different connotations. (In the case of Scotch whiskey . . )  Often used in padded sentences.  If absolutely necessary use “instance” for example, “in this instance”. 
CHECKEDImprecise word because of the variety of possible meanings.  Commonly used as a synonym for “examined” or “verified” as in “The traps were checked . . .”  Choose the more precise words.
CLEAR-CUT;CLEAR-CUTTING“Clear-cut” may be used as an adjective to mean precise, definite or distinct, or as a transitive verb to mean “to remove all trees from an aea”.  However the word (commonly with the hyphen omitted) has become jargon among foresters and others to mean clear-cutting or even-aged forest management.  “Clear-cut” may be used only  as an adjective or verb, never as a noun; “clear-cutting”  is the noun that  means the area from which all trees were removed.
COLLECTIVE NOUNSTake singular verbs when the group is regarded as a unit, but plural verbs when the individuals of the group are regarded separately. “One thousand shrews is an adequate sample; however fewer than 500 shrews were trapped”. “To the mixture 10 g was added” v “To the mixture 3 eggs were added”
COMMAS AND PUNCTUATIONNot precisely a matter of word usage except in relation to how words are put together.  The trend is toward less punctuation (particularly fewer commas), but such requires careful writing without misplaced or dangling elements. Use a final comma in series before “and” and “or.”
COMPARED WITH;COMPARED TOTo “compare with” means to examine differences and similarities; to “compare to” means represent as similar. Usually one “compares with” and “contrasts to”
COMPRISEBefore common misuse, “comprise” meant to contain or include but not to constitute or compose.  The distinction seems useful and worth preserving therefore, “The whole comprises the parts, but the parts do not comprise the whole”
DATAA plural noun that agrees with a plural verb or pronoun. “These data . . . “, “Data were . . .” Not “this data” or “data was.”  “Outliers have not been removed from this data” is just wrong.  Commonly used with an active verb to produce ludicrous images; for example “The data show” Data may be interpreted by an investigator or the investigator may draw inferences from data.  Often the word can be omitted without altering the meaning.  Also, data don’t have size, so avoid “too little data” to describe inadequate samples: try ”too few data”. Much as I agree with Carraway on this, we may have lost the battle over this word and should perhaps give in gracefully (Butterfield 2015)
DECREASEDDo not use in place of “lesser”.  Decreased means to “diminish” (as in size, amount or strength).  Lesser is used primarily as an adjective when making a comparison.
DEEP SEA; DEEP-SEA; DEEPSEAThe “deep sea” is a noun, in the phrase “the deep-sea fish” deep-sea is an adjective. There is no such word as “deepsea”
DEMOGRAPHYA term often applied to the statistical study of animal populations. (The “demography” of a population of Microtus pennsylvanicus . . .)  Strictly, “demography” applies only to human populations.  Try “Changes is attributes of . . .”, or “The dynamics of a population of . . “
DIFFER FROM; DIFFER WITHOne thing “differs from” another although you may “differ with” your colleagues.
DIFFERENT FROM; DIFFERENT THAN“Different from”, always!
DONEResearch was done in the spring.  Could mean completed or conducted.  Use either  “Research was completed . . . “ or “Research was conducted . . .” as appropriate.
DUE TO“Due” is an adjective often mistakenly used as a preposition. “Due to” implies causality when only a relationship may be intended.  Try “related to” or if causality is intended use “because of.”
DURING THE COURSE OF; IN THE COURSE OFJust say “during” or “in” will suffice.
EITHER . . OR; NEITHER. . . NORApply to no more than two items or categories.
EQUALLY AS GOOD; EQUALLY AS GOOD ASJust “equally good” will do
OESTROUS;OESTRUSOestrous is an adjective, oestrus is a noun. “Among species that have oestrous cycles, females are receptive only during oestrus”.
ETC.Avoid entirely!
FAST(Foxes were “fasted”…) To “fast” meaning to starve is an intransitive verb.  You may “fast” but you can’t “fast” another organism, you “starve” it.
FELT(“It was felt that . . .”).  One “feels” cloth, but “believes” ideas.
FISH;FISHESThe plural of fish is fish if they are all the same species.  If one is considering an assemblage comprising more than a single species then fishes should be used. See SPORTSMEN’S PLURALS.
FORMER;LATTERThese words refer to only the first and second of only two items or categories
FREIGHT-TRAIN WORDING(Overuse of adjectives and noun modifiers).  A commonly used system of compounding nouns and adjectives as a shorthand means of communicating with colleagues and subordinates that produces incomprehensible jargon.  Does “current breeding evidence” mean evidence of current breeding or current evidence of breeding?  There could be a difference.  A good rule is to put the precise subject first for emphasis and to use appropriate prepositions to indicate relationships.
GIVEN“At a given time . . . ” “Fixed,” “specified” or “specific”are more precise.  “Given” has several meanings.
HAEMOLYMPH;HEMOLYMPHHaemolymph is the English spelling, hemolymph the US version.  However Butterfield (2015) generally recognises the move from æ to ae to e and seems to imply that as they are all pronounced the same way, for the sake of reducing confusion we should go with hemolymph.
HIGH(ER);LOW(ER)Overused!  Commonly used imprecisely or ambiguously for greater, less(er), larger, smaller, more or fewer.  Sometimes gobbledygook is produced such as, “Occurrences of higher concentrations were lower at higher levels of effluent outflow.”  Guess what that means!
HYPHENATED COMPOUND MODIFIERSHyphenation often is necessary to indicate which adjective or noun modifier is modifying which noun. “A small-grain harvest..” (a harvest of small grain, not a small harvest of grain).  Also, “20 litre samples” is different from “20-litre samples.”  In such situations hyphenate adverbs that do not end in “ly” as “… a well-developed muscle” but not those that end in “ly” as “..an overly obese muskrat”
IMPORTANTSomething simply can’t be “important” without a reason and usually it is the reason that is of interest to the reader. (Dandelions are “important” to the diet of goldfinches) Are dandelions “important” because goldfinches eat more of them? Are they “important” because they provide some nutritional requirement of goldfinches not available from other plants?  Try “Dandelions occurred more frequently than other plants in material obtained from goldfinch stomachs” or “More goldfinches ate dandelion than any other food item.”
INCREASEDDo not use in place of “greater.”  Increased means an”addition” or “enlargement” (as in size, quality, extent, number, intensity, value or substance).  Greater means to be larger in spatial dimension, or remarkable in intensity, magnitude, power or effectiveness.
IN FACT; AS A MATTER OF FACTUsage tends to weaken preceding and subsequent statements by implying that they might be less than factual.  If a lead word is essential try “Indeed…”
IN ORDER TO“To” will suffice, the remainder is padding
INTERESTING; INTERESTING TO NOTEPresumptuous!  Let the reader decide what is interesting.  What is interesting to you may not be to the reader.
IN VIEW OF THE FACT THATOverly wordy, try “because”.
IRREGARDLESSThere is no such word!  Use “regardless” or “irrespective”
IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED (NOTED, POINTED OUT, EMPHASIZED)Such phrases add nothing but words.  Get to the point, omit the padding.
IT WAS FOUND (DETERMINED, DECIDED)Could be evasive; write frankly and directly.  Instead of “It was found that some skinks have more than 12 mammae” write “Some skunks have more than 12 mammae”
LATIN PLURALSBe careful to distinguish between plurals and singulars. “Mental foramina were examined.” “The  mental foramen was examined.”  Other examples are uterus (uteri), spermatozoon (spermatozoa), testis (testes), vagina (vaginae), pinna (pinnae), naris (nares), phalanx (phalanges) and radius (radii).
LESS(ER); FEW(ER)Less refers to quantity; “few” refers to number. “He drank less beer today, so there were fewer empty cans”
LIKEA preposition, always associated with an object (nouns, pronouns or noun phrases). Used correctly when it replaces the phrase “similar to”, or “similarity to”, e.g. Grasshopper mice howl like [not as] coyotes.  Compare with “as.”
LIVETRAP; LIVE TRAP; LIVE-TRAPLivetrap (as one word) is a verb, whereas live trap (two words) is a noun.  Therefore, animals are “livetrapped” in “live traps”.  Hyphenate  “livetrap” only when it is a noun modifier as in “live-trap” grid.
MAJORITY; VAST MAJORITY“Majority” means more than half. “Vast” suggests immensity of extent.  In almost all cases “most” will be more precise.
MASSOften confused with “weight.”  Bodies have mass, where forces are measured in units of weight.  Thus “The average ‘mass’ of adult Microtus oregoni from the Coast Range is 19.1 g” or “The pregnant Peromyscus weighed 6 g more that n the heaviest nulliparous specimen.”  That is the pregnant one exerted a force greater than the heaviest nulliparous one equivalent to the Earth’s pull on a 6 g mass.
MEANCan impart different meaning than intended if not careful.  “Mean deal lengths” (Are these longer than the docile deer lengths?) Try “mean lengths of deer.”  Be careful of “average” for the same reason.  Average deer may not be longer than exceptional deer.  Of course you should never present the mean of anything without its accompanying standard deviation. 
MEASUREMENTSMeasurements are recorded; they are never “taken” or “made.” Dimensions of characters are measured.
MOISTERBetter to use “more moist”, “more mesic”, or simple “wetter”
MOLLUSC; MOLLUSKMollusc is a scientific term consisting of a phylum consisting of soft bodied organisms with a generally unjointed shell.  Mollusk is a non-scientific american-english term that includes both molluscs and crustaceans.
NON; NONEA prefix, usually not hyphenated.  Avoid overuse.  Do not use “non” to substitute for established negative prefixes or where        “not . . “ will serve…….  Use “incorrect” or “not correct” never “noncorrect”.  Similarly use “unreliable” or “not reliable”, “uninfected” or “not infected” and “not significantly different.  “Non” is never spelt “None.”
NOT INCORRECT; NOT INCONSISTENT WITH; NOT UNCOMMONDouble negatives become incomprehensible.  Use “correct”, “consistent with” or “common” to express positive concepts of correctness, consistency or commonness.
OCTOPUSES/OCTOPIDefinitely octopuses unless you want to go really old school and use octopodes.
ON AVERAGEA colloquial usage.  Probably unnecessary in science writing.  Write “The average length of . . was greater.” or “The distance between traps was on average 1.5  ± 0.3 m greater on the new grid.  Never present a mean value without its accompanying standard deviation.
ONCE; WHENAvoid use of “once” to mean when as “once” can mean one time, formerly, simultaneously or immediately.  When (not “once”) the mouse located the cache it began to fill its cheek pouches.
OUT;IN(…14 “out” of 17…….), (…14 “in” 17…), or (… to find “out” if…). In most instances “out” and “in” can be omitted    without altering the meaning.  Use of “..14 of 17…” and “… to find…” or “… to determine… .”
PARAMETERA perfectly good word that means an arbitrary constant each of which values characterizes a member of a system or a characteristic element or constant factor.  However, the word has been misused in so many ways that it might be better to avoid using it.  Try “characteristic”, “dimension” or “distance.”
PARTIALLY;PARTLY“Partially” implies bias in favour of one or the other.  “Partly” is the more precise term when the concept of proportion or portion is meant.
PERCENT;PERCENTAGEUse the percent sign (%) with numerals; use percentage in reference to proportion of the whole expressed in hundredths. Compare with proportion.
PREDOMINATE; PREDOMINANT“Predominate” is a verb, “predominant” and adjective.  The adverb is “predominantly” not “predominately”
PREVALENCE; INCIDENCE“Prevalence” means the number per unit of population at a specific time, “Incidence” means the number in a population per unit time. “The reported incidence of rabies in skunks in Northwestern Illinois averaged 23 cases per year.”  The prevalence of rabies in skunks in 1961 was 23 per 1000 examined.”
PRIOR TO; PREVIOUS TO“Previous” and “prior” are adjectives that modify nouns.  There are “prior” and “previous” events, that occur before something else.  Likewise there are “subsequent” events that occur after something else.  However, events do not occur “previous to” or “prior to” or “subsequent to” something else.  Use “before” preceding” or “after” as the situation requires.
PROBLEMIndicates a question open to inquiry or a proposition stating something to be done.  Often misused.  £The potassium problem in deer caused . .”  The sentence needs to be rewritten.  Perhaps a better way to express the meaning would be “Inadequate potassium in deer caused. .  .” or “Failure to meet the potassium requirements in deep caused”
PROPER NOUNS AS MODIFIERSAvoid by use of appropriate prepositions and by emphasising the precise subject. Instead of “Peromyscus metabolic rates..” try “Metabolic rates of Peromscus..”  Instead of “North Carolina faunas . . .” use “Faunas of North Carolina . . “
PROPORTIONUse in the sense of “part”, e.g. the relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity or degree.  Compare with percent.
PROVEN“Proven” is an adjective, but “proved” is the past participle.  Be careful of this word; rarely is anything “proven” in science.  We test hypotheses and sometimes fail to reject one, but this is not proof.
PROVIDED; PROVIDING“Provided” usually followed by “that” is the conjunction; “providing” is the participle.
RADIOCOLLARHyphenated when used as a noun, e.g., “Researchers equip animals with “radio-collars.”  But, one word when  used as a verb, e.g. “Researchers radiocollar animals”
REASON WHYOmit “why.”  The “reason” is the “why.”
RESPECTIVE; RESPECTIVELYAvoid use if possible.
SAIDOften used incorrectly as “Ward (2019) said  .” Nothing was “said” so use “write”, “reported”, “suggested”, “noted”, “recorded” or some other term.
SCATCommonly used as a synonym for faecal dropping but imprecise because of numerous other meanings.  Consider substituting “faeces”, “faecal droppings,” “faecal passage,” “faecal pellets” or excrement for greater clarity.
SEE[See Smith (1980)] Superfluous! The reference alone is adequate.
SIGNIFICANTThe word “significant” has a specific meaning in science writing.  A “significant” effect usually means that a statistical threshold has been reached (e.g. p< 0.01).  Try “definate” or “important”.
SINCE“Since” has a time connotation, from some time in the past to the present.  For clarity do NOT use as a synonym for “because”.
SMALL IN SIZ\E; RECTANGUlAR IS SHAPE; GREEN IN COLOUR; TENUOUS IN NATUREAll superfluous.  Use “small”, “rectangular”, “green” and “tenuous” alone.
SPECIEThere is no such word as “specie” when referring to a single species.
SPECIES NAMESSpecies names are always in italics and only the species is capitalised; Acanthephyra stylorostratus, Homo sapiens.
SPORTSMEN’S PLURALSHunters and anglers regularly use “zero plurals” by omitting the “s”, “es” or “ies.”  Always use zero plurals for “bison”, “cattle”,”deep”, “moose” and “sheep”; both zero plurals and plurals formed with a suffix can be used with “elk”, “fish” [see entry under FISH] and “trout” but the suffix indicates a diversity of kinds (The northern “elks” are larger than the southern races.), but use the appropriate suffix to form the plurals for “antelope”, “bear”, “beaver”, “buffalo”, “caribou”, “cat”, “cougar”, “coyote”, “ermine”, “fisher”,”fox”,”hare”,”jaguar”,”lemming, “lion”, “lynx”, “marten”, “mink”, “muskrat”, “opossum”, “otter”, “peccary”, “pig”, “pronghorn”, “puma”, “rabbit”, “raccoon”, “rat”, “seal”,”skunk”, “squirrel”, “walrus”, “weasel”, “whale”, “wolf” and “wolverine.”
SWITCHING TENSES“Wilson (1980) and Genoways (1979) ‘have reported’ that grammatical errors ‘are’ common in manuscripts that ‘were’ submitted for publication” Use the simple past tense – “found”, “were”, “had” and “occurred” – to report the findings of others; use the present tense for describing organisms.  However do not change tenses within paragraphs.  Avoid the use of the emphatic mood (When they “did” occur . . .” and be careful to use the subjunctive (If the bair “were” fresh, it would attract animals.)
TAKEN[Data were “taken” from Smith (1984).]  Smith’s data may have been used but they were not “taken” (extracted) from Smith!  Likewise one does not “take” or “make” measurements, “dimensions”, “characters” or “features are measured.
TAXA AND VERB AGREEMENTScientific names of all taxonomic levels (kingdom, order, family, genus, species, subspecies) take singular verbs.
THAT;WHICHThese are two words “that” can help when needed, to make intended meanings and relationships unmistakable, “which” often is of prime importance in science writing.  If the clause can be omitted without leaving the modified noun incomplete, use “which” and enclose the clause with commas or parentheses, otherwise, use “that”.  For the sake of clarity going on a “which hunt” after completing a report is recommended. “The cat which sat on the mat” is just wrong.
THIS;THESEThese pronouns (among others) commonly are used to begin sentences when the antecedents to which they refer are unclear. (elephants, whales and bats are mammals, although bats fly like birds.  “These” animals are endothermic.)  It is unclear whether just the mammals are endothermic, just the birds, or both the birds and the mammals.  Make sure the antecedents of these pronouns are clear!
TO BEFrequently unnecessary.(The difference was found “to be” significant.)  Omit “found to be”.  There is no change in meaning.
TO SEE(More research is needed “to see” if foxes kill cats.)  “To see” means to perceive by eye. Substitute “to determine”, “to ascertain” or “to detect.”
TOTAL(A total of 10 squirrels was observed.)  Commonly superfluous as, “Ten squirrels were observed” means the same thing.  When absolutely necessary use “A total of . . .” as the subject, note that it takes a singular verb irrespective of the magnitude of the total to which reference is made.
TRAPPED“Trapped” means to capture in traps.  Therefore “…study areas were trapped” produces a ludicrous assertion; “study areas were sampled!”  Use “Traps were set for 3 nights in 4 areas.”
USINGThis word is probably responsible for more ludicrous assertions in the literature than any other. (Cottontails were caught “using” live traps)  Although cottontails may be caught in live traps they do not use them.  Try the prepositions “in” or “with” or the phrase “by use of” to avoid ambiguous meanings (dangling participle).
UTILIZATION; UTILIZE“Use” will generally suffice.  “Utilize” has a specific meaning – to use something for a purpose other than that which it was intended for.  I use a pen to write, I may “utilize” it to scratch my back.
VARYING; VARIOUS; DIFFERENT; DIFFERINGCommonly misused as synonyms.  “Varying” amounts or “differing” conditions imply individually changing amounts or conditions rather than a selection of various amounts or different conditions.
VERY; QUITE; SOMEWHAT; CONSIDERABLEAvoid modifiers that impart indefinite measure.  For example “A ‘very’ large bear” does not provide an indication of how large or provide a scale for judging the relative size of the bear.  Either write “a large bear” or better “a 3 m tall bear . . .”
WAS NOT ABLE TO BEJust use “was not.”
WHEREImplies a  locality, position or direction. Do not use for “in which” or “for which” [Direct relationships in which (not where) muskrats and minks. . . )
WHICH IS; THAT WERE; WHO AREUsually superfluous/ (The data “that were” related to age were analysed first.) Omit “that were”; it doesnt change the meaning. (The site “which is” located near Corvallis . . . .) Omit “which is,”
WHILEImplies simultaneity.  Often misused for “although” or “whereas.”  (Diplodomys merriami has four toes on each hind foot, whereas (not while) D. ordani has five.) (Although (not while) deer sometimes chase coyotes, rabbits never do.]

Butterfield J (2015) Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press

Carraway LN (2006) Improve Scientific Writing and Avoid Perishing. Am Midl Nat 155:383–394. https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2006)155[383:ISWAAP]2.0.CO;2

Fowler HW (1964) A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press