8. Frequent changes

This section deals with single words and phrases that we see and often have to correct in the ways listed and for the reasons given in the last column. It is to be used with your MS while you work before or after it has been language-edited in conjunction with the more detailed explanations in the rest of this guide.

Keyword phrase needing correction alternative or corrected phrase explanation and alternatives
account to take into account X to take X into account; to consider A separable multiword phrase. See Sect. 4.7 of Guide.
actual the actual situation the present situation; current False cognate from some languages; see dictionary.
agreement to be in agreement with to agree with Wordy and overused, yet useful in a few specific contexts.
aim (not incorrect, but sometimes awkward) We aim to do; aim at doing Or if in the abstract, simply use “We..” and the verb.
albeit Albeit it has higher S/N, Although it has higher S/N; albeit with higher S/N Albeit means “although it be”, so it cannot be used with another verb.
allow to allow to do X to allow us to do X; to allow X to be done; to allow Xing, etc. This is a transitive verb that requires a direct object (X), but there are other choices for saying the same thing. Sect. 6.2.2.
as “as” in the sense of “because” Use “because of” or “since”: “because of” is better, “since” is sometimes ambiguous. Overused: “as” is used for too many other purposes where there’s no other word, so that it should be avoided for causal relations. See Sect. 7.2.2.

as stars as X and Y…; as, e.g., stars, such as X and Y… The phrasing is with “such”, not alone, and it subordinates the list that follows.
as both X as well as Y both X and Y; X and Y; X, as well as Y “As well as" cannot be substituted for “and".
associate associate to associate with Use the correct preposition.
bad a bad result a poor result; an incorrect result “Bad” implies a moral level, unlike the 2 other choices.
be of be of high accuracy; be of importance; be of X origin be very accurate; be important; have an X origin A wordy phrasing that should be used sparingly and does not add any new meaning over the standard phrases.
best the best value the most precise value Implies a moral level, as for “bad" above.
besides Besides, … Besides that; Along with that; In addition “Besides” alone means something slightly different at the beginning of the sentence, an argumentative point, not just an addition or contrast.

both both X as well as Y both X and Y “both…and…” is a defined phrase, and it only allows 2 items.
can’t can’t; can not; other contractions cannot; will not; have not; etc. A&A follows the policy of formality related to contractions.
candidate candidate to do candidate for doing; a candidate for N General usage for this.
case in case of in the case of; whenever; for “The” is often left off, so it means “whenever” instead.
center center around center on; situated around/at The correct preposition is “on”; “at” may sometimes work with measurements in an instrumental position, e.g., “ centered at l = 136º, b = 7º.

claim X is claimed to be Y It is said/claimed to be Y; Z claim that X is Y See “suggest” below.
combine combined together combine Redundant.
comparable comparable with comparable to; similar to; compared with “To” is the preposition used with the adjective form.
compared compared to (or with) more than, less than, etc. Overused so needs checking whether the standard comparison is meant. See “with respect to”.
composed composed by composed of Incorrect preposition, except in music.
comprise to comprise of X include X; comprise X; constitute X; be comprised of X; consist of Incorrect preposition, but perhaps not what is meant: see Sect. 7.2.2.
concentrate only concentrate on concentrate on Adding “only” makes it redundant.
confront to confront X with Y to compare X with (and) Y False cognate in this context; see English dictionary.
consideration take into consideration X to take X into consideration A separable multiword phrase. See Sect. 4.7 of Guide.
contradict contradict X with Y X contradicts Y; compare X and Y Choose one.
contrary contrary to in contrast to; instead, Overuse or misuse. Definition for English use:
correct correct from correct for Not the standard preposition when only one object. OK with “corrected X from Y version to Z version”.
correlate correlate to correlate with Wrong preposition.
correspond correspond with correspond to Wrong preposition
data used 2 data used two datapoints The singular of “data” is “data point” or “datapoint”.
decrease decrease down; decrease of decrease; decrease in Redundant (V); preferred preposition (N).
depend to depend of; depend with; dependent of to depend on; be dependent on The preposition is ON for these.
detail to detail X to explain X in detail OK if is truly detailed, such as a list of parameter values in a table, but not for a section that explains.
details in details in detail A standard phrase without plural.
discriminate discriminate distinguish; differentiate See the dictionary for the differences. One legitimate use is in a phrase like “to discriminate spurious features from true absorption bands because of the quality of what needs to be distinguished ”

discuss discuss on/about X discuss X This is a transitive verb so there is no preposition, just the object: what is being discussed.
discussion discussion on discussion of/about This is the correct preposition, although the first is understandable: a discussion on the topic of = a discussion of (see “study”).
dominate dominate over dominate Redundant with preposition.
done a study of X was done X was studied Wordy and redundant.
due to an effect due to X (or another combination) an effect of X Redundant phrasing, since both are causes.
Due to Due to X, something happens… Owing to X, …; Because of X,…”; “X causes…”, "as a result of", etc. Overuse of “due to” is one problem in general, but its default use is adjectival, not adverbial, as in this example, unlike “owing to” and and others, so it can be ambiguous in some sentences.

effect effect due to effect of redundant.
e.g. when used in main text for example; for instance; such as; list after a colon with “etc.” or “among others” Avoid abbreviating in the regular formal prose, but OK in parenthesis & captions.
enable to enable to do to enable us to do See “allow”; transitive verb requires a direct object.
enhance enhance the X to increase the X Enhance is fine in the right context, but it does not mean “increase”. See dictionary.
etc. e.g., A, B, C, etc. e.g., A, B, and C. Or A, B, C, etc. Each implies that the list is not exhaustive, as does “such as”, so together they are redundant.
every every X every X, or each X Almost the same meaning, but a different emphasis: each emphasizes “one by one” and every emphasizes the sense of “all”.
evidence evidenced by; evidence for; evidences shown by, illustrated by, proven by; evidence of; pieces of evidence OR proofs Overused for the choices given, so ambiguous; same comment for the preposition. The noun is not countable, so there is no plural. OF is the preposition.

existence detect the existence of X detect X See Sect. 7.1.1.
fact the fact that…possibility…; the fact that…can be… the possiblity that… is Avoid “fact that” if it does not refer to an actual fact. The trick is to find the word or idea in what follows to find what can replace (e.g., possibility, see 5.3.3.).

fact due to the fact that… because Wordy; see Sect. 5.3.3.
few few X a few X; very few X Leaving the article off changes the meaning.
fit fit by a Gaussian fit with a Gaussian US spelling: UK=fitted.
focus focus only on focus on Adding “only” makes it redundant.
following in a/the following X in the next X; in a subsequent X; in the following way It is correct but overused in too many functions, so if the others are seldom used or not at all, then it should be varied when used often.
fraction a large fraction; a significant fraction a high percentage, large portion, amount, number Overused for the choices given: See Sect. 7.2.2. The word alone implies "small", not large.
frame in the frame of X in the framework of X This is the word in this context.
further — adds a further X; went further
— Further, we…
— adds another X or adds more Xs; went farther;
— Furthermore, we…
Overused word with many meanings leads to ambiguity Sect. 7.2.2. Farther = distance; further is figurative distance or depth: discussed the problem further. “Furthermore” is the word for the logical connector that is meant.

global Globally, In general, This is a semi-false cognate, which is true for other uses in a sentence: check you do not mean “overall” or “generally”.
happen X happened S occurred “Happens” suggests chance, but an observed event is definite.
hence Hence, we…. As a result; We therefore…; thus overuse and some misuse.
i.e. when used in main text that is to say; meaning that; which means that; that is; in other words Avoid abbreviating in the regular formal prose, but OK in parenthesis & captions.
ignore ignore X neglect; omit; exclude False cognate in some contexts (see English dictionary), but appropriate in others: “ignorable coordinates”.
impact to impact (on) to affect; to have an impact (or effect) on Even “to impact something” is questionable, unless it is to land on it strongly:"The jets impact on the parent cloud".
important An important amount A large amount False cognate. See dictionary.
impossibility impossibility to do X impossibility of doing X; it is impossible to do X see “possibility” below.
increase increase of X increase in X (what increases); same for decrease The standard preposition for this case is IN, while OF is used for other situations: increase in luminosity; a luminosity increase of 5 L.
independent independent on (or from) independent of The preposition is OF; compare with “depend”.
indication indication for indication of The preposition is OF.
influence influence for (to) influence on; have an influence on On goes with “influence” whether noun or verb.
infra infra-red; infra-structure infrared; infrastructure In both US & UK spellings (Cambridge).
issue issue problem, question, concern overused and misused
large large intensity (etc.); a large list high; a long list; etc. See Sect. 7.2.3 “Large” is not used in English as much as in other languages: “high” is used more often along with other choices.
latter the latter two; this latter the last two; the latter Can only refer back to two items, not more, and should not be used with another demonstrative pronoun.
last in the last years in recent years; in past years; in the last decade of the last century (20th). “recent” is what is meant, but “past” is fine since it also refers to the same time period; however, “last” should be reserved for the end of an earlier period that ended before now.

like like, for instance,… such as, similar to, the same as See Sect. 7.
likely is likely X is very likely X; likely to be X; probably X; most likely X Likely alone is overused for “probably”, and fits better in the phrases listed.
made made up from made up of Wrong preposition.
mark regions are marked A to E regions are labeled Imprecise and overused. Choose label, indicate, show, denoted, etc.
match X matches with Y X matches Y Redundant; match X with Y is fine, however.
method method to X method of Xing Infinitive is not wrong, but the gerund noun is the standard.
motivate the analysis motivates the conclusion leads to OR justifies TO MOTIVATE means to cause someone to want to do something or to do it well.
neglect to neglect something ignored sthg; neglected to do sthg; did not consider; disregarded See dictionary.
number a number of (e.g., in a number of cases) several; in many cases Overused, so make certain you cannot use one of these by reserving this phrase for more technical contexts.
null null correlation; the result is null null hypothesis or similar rephrasing; the result is zero (or nil or nought) NULL can be legitimate in some contexts but not in others where it is used more as a false cognate for 0. OK = null hypothesis, null point.
obtain We obtain that x=2y We find that x=2y; We obtain x=2y Mixing 2 structures.
On On the… The… Use only for short, limited papers or for very long treatises, but not for normal papers or section headings.
on on the panel/figure/corner/etc. in the panel/figure/corner/etc. IN is used for what is in the depiction and ON for what is above the paper or film: a fly on the image.
one one of the X one of the Xs The plural is required in this structure.
orbit orbit around orbit; move around Redundant.
order in order to do X to do X Wordy and overused. Only a few contexts might need “in order” to distinguish a prepositional from the infinitive.
order on the order of a few; of the order of ~X of a few; close to X; on the order of N; comparable to; This multi-word phrase means “approximately”, so avoid redundancy and use with a single measurement (N), not an object that has been measured (X).

originate originate from originate in; come/stem from Overused & often incorrect for context. Consider “triggered by”.
paper In this paper, we We… OR This paper… The 2 together are redundant, not to mention wordy.
penetrate penetrate in/into penetrate Redundant with preposition.
percent a few percent a few percentage points Informal shorthand for “percentage points”.
perform X calibration was performed X was calibrated Wordy and redundant.
permit to permit to do to permit us to do See “allow” and Sect. 6.2.3: transitive.
plotted plotted by a line plotted as a line Or “plot a line"?
possibility possibility to do possibility of doing; it is possible to do This is the structure in English.
preferentially is preferentially found usually, preferably, mostly Defined as giving an advantage to a particular person or group, so not the context for astronomy.
presence detect the presence of X detect X See Sect. 7.1.
priori assume a priori assume Redundant.
quite to be quite + adjective; to be a quite adj to be + adj OR to be very + adj; to be quite a + adj; Used for emphasis, but the word has too many uses so is ambiguous, ambiguous in UK & US, as is “rather”.
rather to be rather + adj adjective alone or use “somewhat” or a synonym Indicates a partial quality, but this word is used for other things, too, and in different ways in US & UK English, so is ambiguous.

rather X, rather Y X rather than Y; X instead (of) more a UK use for “instead, ….”

to reference to refer to; to supply references; to list The verb use is not in Cambridge or Webster's.

unregular irregular; unregulated IR is the standard prefix for one, UN for the other.
relative to

X is low relative to Y X is lower than Y

Means “in connection to”, not used for normal comparison, only measured or stated relative to some other substance or measurement. See “respect to” for more explanation.


in the remainder of the paper in the rest of the paper The second is the normal, hence more natural, way to say it. See dictionary.
respect to

X is large with respect to Y X is larger than As for “relative to”, we first check for overuse and for cases where the standard comparisons apply instead. A correct use is “significantly misaligned with respect to the position angle of the disk”.

respectively X and Y have A and B, respectively X have A and Y B This is an overused structure, meant to save words or to be clearer, but it is often wordier and no clearer; it comes across more as jargon because overused.

result is the result of an X effect the result of X; is an X effect Redundant phrasing, as is “due to the effect of X”.
scale over scale/with scale on scale; at scale; to scale The correct preposition depends on the context, but ON is the one most often needed for A&A papers, sometimes AT for extreme and more general references to "scale".

same the same than/that the same as A given comparative structure.
short shortly briefly, in a short while “Shortly" means something else.
similar similar…as… similar…to… A defined comparative structure.
since since a year for a year; a year ago The 1st is duration, so the most likely correction (with the perfect); the second refers to a time in the past when an event occurred (with simple past)

since Since…,… “because” or “after which”? This can be ambiguous in some sentences, though less so than “as”. Sect. 7.2.2.
small small mass low mass See Sect. 7.2.3 and “large” above.
small a small time/talk a short time/talk/etc. Not the precise adjective for the context (See “large’).
so So,... therefore; This is a coordinating conjunction, so should connect two full sentences, not begin a sentence in formal writing, unlike how it is used in informal writing and speech.

sort this sort of Xs these sorts of Xs; this sort of X Agreement: see “type” below.
stars the stars X the star’s X; the stars’ X; the stellar X No noun used as an adjective uses the plural S, and the adjective of the generic “star” is “stellar”.
statistic small/large statistic(s) low statistics, small sample, small number statistics It seems to be short for “small/large statistical sample” but is too jargony & too compacted. Use plural only.
study a study on a study of This is the correct preposition (see “discussion” above.
sub- sub-sample; sub-structure; subzero; submm subsample; substructure; sub-zero; sub-mm but submillimeter In both US & UK spellings (Cambridge).
such such X this X OR this sort of X; these Xs Overused & too often not in its main meaning: for emphasis to mean “of that or a similar type”, not to replace “this” or “these”. Sect. 7.2.1

suggest suggested to do; suggest X to be suggested doing; suggest that X is…; It was suggested that… “Suggest” is an exception in not accepting the infinitive as its object.
suited suited for suited to doing; suitable for A given expression.
sum sum up add up; sum Mixed expressions or redundant.
supposed supposed to orbit assumed to orbit False cognate use of this verb (see definitions in a dictionary: claimed, required).
tension in tension with in contrast to, in conflict with, contrasts with, A false cognate with another language? Or perhaps jargon from a specific branch of physics.
test a test to a test of A given structure.
that with better X than that reported… with better X than reported… Or if a reference is really needed, prefer “those”, “the one”, or “what”, along with other solutions.
together X together with Y X and Y; X with Y…; Overused and it subordinates what follows, unlike “with”. It is overused instead of more standard forms.
together combined together with combined with Redundant.
tool a tool to determine tool for determining A given structure.
trend trend for X to have tendency for X to have; trend toward X having Choose from the list.
turn It turns out that It leads to; It results in “It turns out” is fine, except that it implies a certain sense of surprise at the outcome, so use it only if that is your intent.
type this type of Xs this type of X; these types of Xs This is true for “sort” and “kind”, too.
typical typical for typical of “Of” is the correct preposition in English.
ultra ultra-violet; ultra-sound ultraviolet; ultrasound; In US & UK (Cambridge) dictionaries.
usage advice on the usage of the X software on the use of the X software “Usage” refers to the more general pattern of use, and “use” to the more specific instance.
useful useful to determine useful for determining Not the same meaning, and the latter is the more frequent use in A&A papers.
variation variation of X

variation in X (quantity that varies); a variation of this procedure (alternative way to do it)

Similar to “increase” and “change”: OF is used for other situations, as in “there are several variations of X” (~variants), but what varies

well well observed; observed fully, observed well; explained fully/clearly The standard placement of “well” is after the verb, not before, except in some standard phrases. It tends to be vague and even ambiguous,

well as well as see “as” above Overused; don’t you mean “and” in a specific instance?
whether whether or not whether Redundant, since “or not” is understood.
while We show X, while we show Y We show X and Y; We show X, although we also show Y Among other things, “while” is used for contrast, not addition, so do not use for “and” even if for variety in style.
yet a yet undetected X an as yet undetected; a still undetected X The second is the more natural phrasing, but “as yet” is the synonym of “still”, not of “yet” alone.
yield yield a result give a result, illustrate, etc. Overused for other more precise words in the context.