The A&A language guide for authors and language editors (2021 version)

The aim of this guide is to help you meet A&A standards when you are preparing your paper and to understand the linguistic and grammatical changes that language editors make to your paper.

This guide is not an extensive compendium of English grammar and style. It is meant to help our authors adapt to the house style of the journal and avoid common language errors. A general rule for this language guide is that consistency is key. It should be noted that language editors are not concerned with the overall structure of a paper as their role is solely to address linguistic ambiguities and errors.

There will always be variations in the English found in the journal as a whole, such as differences in spelling and sentence structure between British (UK) English and American (US) English, which we also cover in this guide. The following sections present the most important elements of A&A style and tips on how to ensure that your paper follows our guidelines.

1.1 Clarity and concision

In English, as in science, it is best to use precise phrasing for an idea. Please avoid paragraphs and sentences that are either too long or too short. Wordy constructions can often cloud the author’s intended meaning, and poetic language as well as cultural references should not be used.

1.2 Voice

We recommend authors mainly use the active voice and declarative structure (e.g., “We study”) in describing their methods and findings. While scientific writing in general may tend to use the passive voice in many cases, this often leads to wordy sentence structures. Please try to keep the subject, predicate (verb phrase), and object of each sentence in a logical sequence. This can help avoid ambiguity about which verb refers to which subject in a compound sentence.


  • That such observations can lead to accurate results is demonstrated by our analysis.
  • Our analysis demonstrates that such observations lead to accurate results.

Note: A&A avoids addressing the reader directly. For example, questions should not appear in papers and “note that” can either be deleted completely or replaced with “we note that” .


  • Note that the authors, after making substantial corrections, submitted the article.
  • We note that the authors submitted the article after making substantial corrections.